In this affectionate tribute to his home town, Hugo Pratt offers a complex mystery thriller involving Freemasons, occultists, and esotericists set during the rise of Fascism in 1921. Corto Maltese's return to Venice is ostensibly a search for an emerald known as the Clavicle of Solomon, but by the end he is left questioning whether the object of his quest will open the hidden doors of magic and unravel the nature of time and space in this city of secrets...or if it's merely "the stuff that dreams are made of," as was the black bird of Dashiell Hammett's novel featuring another Maltese. Series winner of the Harvey Award for Best American Edition of Foreign Material.
Hugo Pratt (1927-1995) is considered one of the great graphic novelists in the history of the medium. His strips, graphic works, and watercolors have been exhibited at the Grand Palais in Paris and the Vittoriano in Rome, and a landmark show in 2011 at the Pinacotheque in Paris drew 215,000 visitors, hailing Pratt as "the inventor of the literary comic strip."