In the middle of the night, a man runs through the narrow back alleys of Venice. Three men are after him. He breaks into a travel agency, where he faxes Winch a hastily scribbled message before being gunned down by his pursuers. The person who hands Largo Winch the fax in New York is also killed. The message says only: Beware of the doge. Our millionaire businessman hero thinks his friend, the gorgeous Charity, could be in trouble and heads for Italy. They are invited to a masked ball, where they indeed meet a doge. A Renaissance-era term for the chief magistrate of the former republics of Venice and Genoa.
Jean Van Hamme is one of the best-known European comic scriptwriters. His most popular series include ThorgalA" (Cinebook) and XIIIA" (Cinebook). In 2005, he was appointed Officier des Arts et des LettresA" by the French Minister of Culture. Philippe Francq worked at the Herge Studios with Bob de Moor. He then collaborated with de Groot and Delvaux before meeting Van Hamme and working on Largo Winch."