By Andrea di Robilant.
Read by Sam Dale.
In the fourteenth century, so the story goes, two merchant brothers set out from Venice on a journey through the rough seas of the North Atlantic, encountering warrior princes, fighting savage natives and, just possibly, reaching the New World a full century before Columbus.
The story of their adventure, recounted in a small book accompanied by a beautifully detailed map by an enthusiastic Zen ancestor in 1558, travelled throughout Europe, from the workshop of the great cartographer Gerard Mercator to the court of Elizabeth I.
For centuries, the brothers were heralded as pioneering adventurers, until, in 1835, the story was denounced as a 'tissue of lies' and the Zens faded into oblivion.
Intrigued by the myth, the writer Andrea di Robilant set out to discover the truth about the Zen voyages.
Following in their footsteps, his quest to solve one of Venice's most intriguing mysteries takes him on a fascinating journey of his own, from the crumbling Palazzo Zen in Venice to the space-age transport links of the Faroe Islands, a remote volcanic hillside in Greenland and the ruins of a once dynamic monastery in Iceland.
Abridged by Laurence Wareing.
Produced by Kirsteen Cameron.
A quest for traces of the fabled North Atlantic voyages of two 14th century merchants.