It's 1358. Oswald de Lacy, Lord Somershill, is in Venice awaiting a pilgrim galley to the Holy Land. While the city is under siege from the Hungarians, Oswald lodges with an English merchant and soon comes under the dangerous spell of the decadent and dazzling island state that sits on the hinge of Europe, where East meets West. Oswald is trying to flee the chilling shadow of something in his past, but when he finds a dead man on the night of the carnival, he is dragged into a murder investigation that takes him deep into the intrigues of this mysterious, paranoid city. Coming up against the feared Signori di Notte, the secret police, Oswald learns that he is not the only one with something to hide. Everybody is watching somebody else, and nobody in Venice is what he or she seems. The masks are not just for the carnival.
What members say
- Amazon Customer
Nearly there but not quite
This is the first book I have read in this series so cannot say how it compares to the others but on this reading I am undecided whether to read the previous volumes which is a pity as this has within the makings of a great read. The background information and narrative really give a flavour of the rottenness that lay underneath medieval Venice and the distinction between the outer beauty and the corrupt and venal underbelly is very well drawn and at times it was really like being there. The plot was interesting enough and the denouement satisfying but what made it harder for me to read (and I love this genre) than usual was Oswald Dr Lacey himself. I found his never-ending tetchiness and bad temper just irritating as there was nothing to counterbalance it to make him likeable and although in the story he had good reason to be depressed his lack of charm or wit makes it a little hard to care. I did like his mother though, a more eccentric character who probably would have made quite a fun sleuth.