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Silvano and Chiara are two teenagers with a difference. Silvano has been accused of a murder he did not commit. Chiara has been ousted out of her family as a young woman with no marriage prospects. For these two very different reasons they are forced to seek refuge in a convent and a friary. And when they meet, they are both instantly aware that they alone are not accustomed to the religious clothes and customs. And when not just one murder - but then another, and then another, happens to both the friars and guests staying with them, Chiara and Silvano cling together within the terrifying spiral of murder as they and the friends they make attempt to solve the deadly mystery.
A story of persecution and poetry, love and war set in 13th century Southern France. As crusaders sweep through the country, destroying all those who do not follow their religion, Bertrand risks his life to warn others of the invasion. As a troubadour, Bertrand can travel without suspicion from castle to castle, passing word about the coming danger. In the meantime Elinor, a young noblewoman, in love with Bertrand, leaves her comfortable home and family and becomes a troubadour herself. Danger encircles them both, as the rising tide of bloodshed threatens the fabric of the society in which they live.
During the day, Lucien battles cancer in his modern, normal life. But at night, he becomes a Stravagante, a time-traveler of sorts who finds himself in Belleza, a city parallel to old Venice. Befriended by a local girl and protected by an older Stravagante, Lucien uncovers a plot to murder the city’s beloved ruler, the Duchessa. But to save the Duchessa and the city Lucien risks losing his only chance to return home to his family and his real life.
The well-paced, thick-with-plot story will hook the reader immediately and not let go until the superb, unexpected end. City of Masks is the first in a three-book arc from the gifted Mary Hoffman.