Masque Of The Gonzagas

Masque Of The Gonzagas

The Baroque era at the beginning of the 17th century: change and upheaval are undermining the certainties of the Renaissance. In northern Italy, amid political and religious dissent, Vincenzo Gonzaga, 4th Duke of Mantua, devotes himself to the pursuit of excellence and pleasure. He gathers to his court the finest painters and musicians. His composer, Claudio Monteverdi, creates his first opera, La Favola d'Orfeo. Clare Colvin's novel follows the Renaissance dream of Arcadia to its horrific destruction, drawing on letters and documents of the time to resolve one of history's most fascinating riddles. What was the reason for the ambivalent relationship between the Duke and his court composer? Why did the Gonzagas destroy themselves, bringing chaos to Italy? And what role did the seductive Isabella of Novellara play in their downfall?

'A renaissance story with modern sensibilities' Guardian

'A gripping story of seduction and revenge' Times

'A fine novel of suitable baroque intensity. This is historical fiction with an imaginative sweep' Daily Telegraph

'This highly individual novel recreates its period setting with wit and grace' Michael Arditti, Independent Books of the Year

'A marvellously baroque novel which traces the love affair between Vincenzo, Duke of Mantua and the seduced Isabella' Express

Price £: 
02 Jan 2007
Available from:

About the author

  • Clare Colvin

    Clare Colvin

    Clare Colvin works as a literary critic for the Daily Mail and the Independent, has been a theatre critic for The Times and is currently opera critic for the Sunday Express. She has taught creative writing at Richmond Adult Community College, Goldsmiths College and at Birkbeck, University of London.

    Titles by Clare Colvin