The Serene One

(Three weeks from today: Island of the Mad.)

“La Serenissima”, they call her: Venice, city of the waters. Venice began as a refuge, a place people might creep away from the various war-troubled stretches of mainland all around. The swampy lagoon, into which the Adriatic waters washed in and out, twice a day, had an assortment of slightly firmer, slightly higher patches of ground. Islands, for lack of a better word. And they built a city there.

I was myself in need of a certain amount of refuge last year. Well, I imagine the rest of the world was, too, and though it might occasionally seem that the world as a whole has descended into Venice (for the most part, in twelve-story high cruise ships larger than anything along the shoreline they churn up) in fact, away from the canals large enough for motor craft, Venice is probably the quietest city in the world. 

It is a place for getting lost in: wandering down tiny calli, pausing for a coffee in one of the dozens of campi, stepping onto one of the water-buses called vaporetti (although it’s been a long time since those have emitted actual steam) and circling one island or the other.

Refuge, and escape, and a refreshment of body and soul. I think all those made it into the book I was writing. Oh–and fun. That definitely made it in.

The Aqua Alta bookshop, with a gondola on hand to float and protect the stock from high water.

Writer, and cat, in the Aqua Alta Bookshop.


Where to pre-order your copy of Island of the Mad ?

US edition—signed, from Poisoned Pen Books or Bookshop Santa Cruz
Signed (as tip-in pages) from Barnes & Noble
From your local Indie; from Amazon/Kindle; from Barnes & Noble/Nook.
UK edition—from Allison & Busby; from my friends at Heffer’s.
Or the audio download here.




  1. Karen Buys on May 23, 2018 at 7:18 am

    I visited Venice on a shoestring right after college, wandering down the calli, counting our lira carefully to see if we could afford one gondola ride, and thought it was lovely but secretive then. I’d love to go back with a few more shoestrings to my name and see what I think of it now.

    You portrayed it as elusive, lovely, secretive, a refuge, and definitely fun with a character wholly unlike any other place Russell and Holmes have been. I’m looking forward to my hard cover copy so I can gloat over the lovely cover and wander the city with them.

  2. Dorothy Van Daele on July 15, 2018 at 10:25 am

    Got my copy yesterday! Started reading it aloud to my partner. Very excited about setting as we loved Venice when we visited for a week a few years ago. What a magical place!

    • Laurie King on July 20, 2018 at 12:03 am

      Hi Dorothy, I’m glad you’re enjoying your readaloud! And yes, isn’t Venice amazing?


      Laurie King

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