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2.98 of 5 stars 2.98  ·  rating details  ·  100 ratings  ·  11 reviews
Ross King’s delightful, Rabelaisian novel recounts the adventures of young George Cautley, an aspiring artist who, as he makes his way through London’s high society, finds that nothing is as it seems and everyone wears a disguise. Moving from masquerade balls in London to the magnificent and mysterious opera houses of Venice, Cautley is drawn into a web of intrigue and mur ...more
Paperback, 439 pages
Published December 30th 2003 by Penguin Books (first published January 1st 1995)
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A Song of Ice and Fire - A Game of Thrones, A Clash of Kings,... by George R.R. MartinDomino by Ross King
Eunuchs and Castrati
2nd out of 2 books — 1 voter
Lisette's List by Susan VreelandGirl With a Pearl Earring by Tracy ChevalierThe Picture of Dorian Gray by Oscar WildeThe Birth of Venus by Sarah DunantThe Painted Girls by Cathy Marie Buchanan
Fiction Books Involving Art
27th out of 55 books — 56 voters

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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
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
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
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
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.
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.
Apr 23, 2009 Monica marked it as maybe-someday
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
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.
This was a few stories woven together. It was very interesting, but left me very confused at the end.
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 . . .
Jan Cocquyt
This books enters my personal top ten of best fiction books ever!
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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.

More about Ross King...
Michelangelo and the Pope's Ceiling Brunelleschi's Dome: How a Renaissance Genius Reinvented Architecture The Judgment of Paris: The Revolutionary Decade That Gave the World Impressionism Leonardo and the Last Supper Ex-Libris

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