A sophisticated literary thriller set in eighteenth-century Italy.
Off the coast of Liguria, 1713 - accompanied by his valet Thomas Noon and tutor Lucius Jelbourne, young aristocrat Lord Stilwell is bound for Genoa and that essential part of an English gentleman's education; the Grand Tour of Italy. Jelbourne has long been wary of Noon: his standing at Dengby Hall, his relationship with Stilwell and his intelligence do not tally with his role as a servant. Noon, likewise is suspicious of Jelbourne: why does Stilwell's tutor enjoy better hospitality than Stilwell himself? And why, when Jelbourne is purchasing Italian pictures supposedly a century old, is the paint still fresh?
The English who visit eighteenth-century Italy normally consider it only for its past: Jelbourne, as Noon is to discover, is different. For there is a new king on the throne of England - a German, a protestant - and not all of his subjects are loyal. As the Grand Tour weaves its way to Venice, Rome and Naples, Noon finds himself drawn into a deadly world of intrigue, and double lives: a world where nothing and no-one are as they seem. And though Noon would like to unmask the mysterious Jelbourne, his attentions are drawn to the delectable Natalia Silver, and the unmistakable lure of love . . .
THE MASQUERADE is a sophisticated literary thriller that confirms Nicholas Griffin's growing reputation as one our finest exponents of historical fiction.
Griffin is a novelist of rare gifts, one with a command of language that is surprising for his thirty years ... THE MASQUERADE sounds a note that is so elegant and elegiac that, amid the plethora of what is published, it deserves to endure - THE TIMES
A stylish historical thriller ... Seventeenth-century Italy comes to thrilling life ... If the topography is good, the characterisation is better - SUNDAY TELEGRAPH
Beautifully written and skilfully crafted, THE MASQUERADE is a work of intense passion and gripping adventure. If Griffin can keep this up, he is set to elevate the historical novel to yet further heights. - WATERSTONES BOOKS QUARTERLY
A novel of many charms... explored with intelligence and feelings. - SUNDAY TELEGRAPH