Irresistible North: From Venice to Greenland on the Trail of the Zen Brothers
This delightful journey begins with Andrea di Robilant's serendipitous discovery of a travel narrative published in Venice in 1558 by the Renaissance statesman Nicolo Zen: the text and its fascinating nautical map recreated the travels of two of Zen's ancestors, brothers who explored the North Atlantic in the 1380s and 1390s. Andrea set out to discover why later, in the nineteenth century, the Zens' account came under attack as one of the greatest frauds in geographical history. Was their map--and even their journey, a century before Christopher Columbus--partially or perhaps entirely faked? In Irresistible North the author follows the Zens' route from the Faeroes to Shetland to Iceland and Greenland, greeted by characters who help unravel the enigmas in the Zens' account. The medieval world comes to life as Andrea guides us through a landscape enlivened by the ghosts of power-hungry earls and bishops of the old Norwegian realm, and magical tales of hot springs and smoking mountains. In this rich telling--an original work of history and travel book in one-- the magnetism of the North draws us in as powerfully as it drew the Zen brothers six centuries ago.
By: Andrea Di Robilant