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.
“An intriguing plot of deception and subterfuge.”
“A stylish historical thriller … His immersion in his chosen period is total. Eighteenth century Italy comes to thrilling life.”
“All three of Griffin’s novels are well conceived, researched and executed … Griffin is a novelist of rare gifts … The Masquerade sounds a note that is so elegant and elegiac that, amid the plethora of what is published, it deserves to endure.”
—The London Times
“A highly intelligent novel, with both keen observation and an absorbing plot, full of surprises and mystery.”
—Historical Novels Review