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The Masquerader Paperback – Dec 4 2003
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Most Helpful Customer Reviews on Amazon.com (beta)
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.
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.