This first novel is set in German-occupied Italy in 1943 during an archaeological dig. Its themes include passion, betrayal, incest and the effect of war on the family.
Educated at Millfield School in Somerset and at Brasenose College, Oxford, Mawer took a degree in biology and worked as a biology teacher for many years. His first novel, Chimera, was published by Hamish Hamilton in 1989, winning the McKitterick Prize for first novels. Mendel's Dwarf (1997), reached the last ten of the Booker Prize and was a New York Time "Book to Remember" for 1998. The Gospel of Judas, The Fall (winner of the 2003 Boardman Tasker Prize for Mountain Literature) and Swimming to Ithaca followed. In 2009 The Glass Room, his tenth book and eighth novel was shortlisted for the Man Booker Prize.
Mawer is married and has two children. He has lived in Italy for over thirty years.