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3.02  ·  Rating Details ·  129 Ratings  ·  19 Reviews
By the author of the acclaimed Brunelleschi's Dome.

After meeting the mysterious and beautiful Lady Beauclair at a society ball, George Cautley, a hapless young artist adrift in the gilded world of 1770s London, paints her portrait. She, in turn, tells him the scandalous story of Tristano, a castrato singer in Handel's opera company fifty years before. But Cautley also meet
Paperback, 448 pages
Published October 2nd 2003 by Vintage (first published January 1st 1995)
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Community Reviews

(showing 1-30)
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Sep 24, 2012 Martin rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Normally I would start a book review with a brief synopsis of the story. Normally. When I have a good idea what the story is about or what the logical progression of events is. In this case I have no idea what's happening. Granted, the narrative is compelling, the descriptions of the period mesmerizing and spellbinding and the sense of reality is utterly sublime. In a nutshell, with many onion layers, digressions and diversions the story probably comes down to:

An old painter has an engaging conv
Jan 22, 2013 Rose rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
I'm throwing in the towel on this one. The pageantry of 18th century life is on display in remarkably rich detail, but the characters are mostly types -- familiar ones who seem to be culled straight from Fielding and Richardson and who were therefore remarkably predictable. Ross's characters take too many walks and struggle too much with the weather and take too many paragraphs simply to respond to remarks that are put to them. Ross King gets the tone just right, and he notices and writes about ...more
Aug 23, 2014 Samantha rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
I almost didn't make it through this, and freely admit I ended up skimming most of the last third of the book. The academic in me was definitely impressed by the breadth and depth of information jammed into this volume, but mostly it felt excessive and self-indulgent, rendering almost unreadable what had all the makings of an excellent story. I was surprised, as I've liked everything else I've read by Ross King and certainly knew to expect a certain tone and scholarly pursuit of plot, but for so ...more
Jan 02, 2012 Nathan rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
A tale with an embedded tale set in Italy and England in 1720 and then England again in the 1770s. The voyages of an Italian castrato and a young aspiring English painter. Are the two tales connected? Are the narrators reliable? Just who are these people?

King leaves these questions to the reader to work out, if they can.

This gets three stars for the good writing. The plot(s) are confusing, the motivations of the characters unclear. But it is certainly atmospheric and conjures up time and space
Vika Ryabova
Feb 22, 2013 Vika Ryabova rated it did not like it  ·  review of another edition
Нудная, затянутая стилизация под готический роман... Или под барочный? :) В общем, действие разворачивается в Англии и Италии. Действия собственно два: две истории. Одна рассказывается в другой с разницей в 50 лет. И все это, кажется, восемнадцатый век...

Оперные кастраты, безумные маскарады, истерические травести, экзальтированные содержанки и, конечно, невинные души из провинции, попадающие в это порочное общество. Скука.
Indubbiamente il libro è ben scritto ed è accurato nella descrizione della Londra (ma anche di Venezia e Napoli) di fine '700. Manca tuttavia di quel qualcosa in grado di trasformare un libro leggibile in un libro "da leggere". Tra i difetti menziono l'eccessiva lunghezza, caratteristica che solo pochi autori come Stephen King, possono affrontare senza sedare il lettore. Alcune parti poteva agevolmente essere tagliate e il lettore ne avrebbe giovato. C'è di meglio in giro.
Apr 23, 2009 Monica marked it as maybe-someday  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: wish-list
Ross Kisg is lecturing in NYC. wish I was there -- a historical novel, Domino, about the world of masquerades and opera in 18th-century London. King is best known to American readers as the author of the nonfiction Brunelleschi's Dome: How a Renaissance Genius Reinvented Architecture. --The Frick Collection
Oct 10, 2008 Siobhan rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: hist-fict
Well-written, tightly organized, dual story of two young men a generation apart picking their way through a wanton, masked society. Beautiful settings and full of lush description, but the protagonist is frustratingly naive. Explores duality, reality and illusion, truth and distortion, and gender identity, and the form mirrors the themes. Nonetheless, it is a frustrating story.
Mar 02, 2015 Christie rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
I don't know why I didn't like this book. The main character reminded me of someone from Goldsmith, the history was good, the sense of place was pretty good, and yet somehow I could not get very interested. Kudos to the author for the research, but something went really wrong somewhere for me to get bored with a book and give up reading it.
Apr 15, 2016 Brad rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: fiction
A well written book by a well respected historian. The author mimicked the writing style of the period (early 19th century) and his descriptions, settings and research was fine. However, I found the story hard to follow and it didn't come together for me, though perhaps I should have read it in a shorter period of time.
Scarlett Sims
I love historical fiction. The 18th century is one of my fave centuries, and I loved all of the details about the clothing and food and such. My biggest problem with this book was that the plot was kind of convoluted. There are so many mistaken identities and hidden identities that I got confused.
Apr 27, 2016 AV AV rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Prachtig verhaald. Twee verhaallijnen in twee werelden in twee perioden door elkaar. Niet een boek om er even bij te lezen. Ik moest het terugbrengen naar de bieb. Ik heb het niet geheel kunnen lezen. Ik pak de draad wel weer eens op.
The guy has an ear for patterns of 18th-century speech, but the story draaaags along as he indulges in extended
descriptions of dress and make up. Candide gets lost in a costume shop . . .
Dennis Weeks
I have read two amazing books by Ross King. Domino is my third of his books and it is quite a disappointment
Mar 04, 2015 Larry marked it as to-read  ·  review of another edition
I registered a book at!
This was a few stories woven together. It was very interesting, but left me very confused at the end.
Susan rated it really liked it
Oct 10, 2015
Sandy Bruel
Sandy Bruel rated it it was ok
May 01, 2008
Katy Branson
Katy Branson rated it it was ok
Apr 09, 2015
Rebecca J
Rebecca J rated it liked it
Jul 08, 2016
Reid rated it really liked it
May 28, 2011
John rated it liked it
Jul 02, 2015
Mike rated it liked it
Oct 01, 2013
Molly rated it it was amazing
Jan 19, 2015
Simone rated it really liked it
Jul 26, 2012
Heather Uebel
Heather Uebel rated it liked it
Jul 31, 2015
Ea rated it really liked it
Aug 23, 2009
Emily Lovitch
Emily Lovitch rated it really liked it
Jul 16, 2008
Irina rated it liked it
Dec 05, 2013
Bill rated it liked it
Feb 12, 2011
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Librarian Note: There is more than one author in the GoodReads database with this name. See this thread for more information.

Ross King (born July 16, 1962) is a Canadian novelist and non-fiction writer. He began his career by writing two works of historical fiction in the 1990s, later turning to non-fiction, and has since written several critically acclaimed and best-selling historical works.

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