Masquerader was read on Radio 4Xtra some while ago, but as it was late at night I usually fell asleep before the conclusion of each episode. This is in no way a criticism of the book, just the way usually I react to being read to! In fact I was extrememly keen to hear the story, and was very pleased to find it available on Kindle so that I could have the story from beginning to end in the right order. I thought that this book was well written, and without modern twists, except the central premise of two outwardly identical men swapping lives. In fact my brain expected a few twists when there were none. Not a modern style of writing, but not so dense that it is impenetrable, I really enjoyed having to read properly for a change. It is a little lost gem and well worth downloading.
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4 of 4 people found the following review helpful
Other Men's Shoes14 Aug 2008
- Published on Amazon.com
John Chilcote is a married man of privilege and political position who also has a secret drug addiction. John Loder is a man fallen from grace, down at the heels and has reached a point in life where he merely exists. One foggy night in London these two strangers meet by accident and discover an incredible likeness to one another. Thus an incredible plan is hatched as the two agree to switch places for awhile.
For Chilcote, it offers a chance to escape his responsibilites and wallow in a morphine-induced stupor in private.
For Loder, it gives him a brief taste of the good life and the political thrill of being in the thick of things when an international crisis erupts. The book is mainly about Loder.
Of course a story wouldn't be very interesting if things went smoothly. For all the good Loder does, when Chilcote reclaims his life he just mucks things up again. Plus there's the danger of discovery when a woman from Loder's past thinks she recognizes him. And there's a tangling of heartstrings as Loder finds himself falling in love with Chilcote's wife, Eve.
Will Chilcote find the strength to kick his drug habit? Will Loder do the right thing when it comes to Eve? Will the masquerade be found out by a shady lady?
You'll just have to read the book, won't you.
1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
a convincing but unsatisfying story29 April 2013
- Published on Amazon.com
Format: Kindle Edition
The literary device of the unknown man changing places with his famous double is difficult to carry off convincingly. In this book, the moral doubts are all on one side - the side of the ambitious, but poor and unknown man (Loder). The man who's place he takes (Chilcote) is a downward-spiralling morphine addict, who's conscience is conveniently already dead.
The bulk of the story turns on the rapid rise of Loder at what is presented as a turning point of extreme importance in British politics. His deep personal satisfaction at being, at last, important and a success is continually threatened by Chilcote's telegrams, which he must obey immediately to switch places, allowing the constantly worsening Chilcote to alienate his wife, whom Loder has begun to care for, and imperil his country.
The last part of the book is driven by Loder's final struggle with temptation - the temptation to let Chilcote follow his addiction to its natural conclusion, so he can permanently take his place.
I gave this book a two because ultimately, the plot was one that could not end for the protagonist both happily and honorably. Many torturous phrases are employed to justify an ending that, despite a thick coating of rationalization, is ugly and dishonorable. This made it, for me, an unsatisfying book.