De Zante returns to Ragusa, where he was born but cannot stay because there are Venetian agents all over the Adriatic looking for him. Before long, he is "rescued" by men working for someone he believes is his nemesis, Yossef Nasi. De Zante has no choice but to work for Nasi and spill his secrets to the Ottoman Sultan's adviser. Strange as it might seem, de Zante finds himself while working for Nasi. He doesn't have to hide his Jewish roots. He is free to take back his original name: Manuel Cardoso. Cardoso's skills has a spycatcher and investigator stand him in good stead in his new work.
|Battle of Lepanto, 1571|
When I finished Altai, I was surprised to find that a book of this scope and richness was less than 300 pages long. The chapters are brisk, but the language is so evocative that I could see Venice and Constantinople in my mind as I read. The dialog is marvelous. We've lost the habit of speaking in metaphors and allusions, I think. The dialog is also peppered with Italian and Turkish and the myriad languages of the Balkans, to provide even more verisimilitude. There is so much crammed into Altai and it all sounds like the work of one author. I'm astounded by how well the four authors of Wu Ming work together. I highly recommend Altai.