Title: The Mask of Time
Author: Marius Gabriel
Page Count/Review Word Count: 314
Disclaimer: While I aim to be unbiased, I received a copy of this for free to review.
The Mask of Time is a cracker of a book, one of those rare novels which jumps backwards and forwards in time throughout the narrative and which, nevertheless, still makes for a highly enjoyable read. Too many authors move through time as a gimmick, but Gabriel had no other choice – his story wouldn’t have made sense without it.
Broadly speaking, the plot follows a mother and daughter who discover that a previously unknown family member could still be alive, and who investigate the past as a result. That past includes two fugitives from the German army who fought as partisans in the Second World War, as well as the Italian family that harboured them. Oh, and did I mention that they have to track down this information whilst simultaneously trying to avoid assassination from unknown assailants?
The novel, then, is a sort of historical thriller that’s half set during the Second World War and half set in the 1990s, which was when the novel was written and released. It puts me in mind of a Dan Brown novel, only Dan Brown isn’t this good – Marius Gabriel is the author that Dan Brown tries and fails to be. Everything is top notch here, from the story-line to the characterisation to Gabriel’s writing style to the thorough research that he must have done to write with such authority.
There’s only one thing that bothered me, and that was the occasional formatting errors – for some reason, a lot of words are unnecessarily hyphenated, like ‘cig-arettes‘ or ‘with-drawal‘. I also spotted a single, solitary typo, but I was prepared to overlook it because I was just so engrossed.