Mark Lamster | Essays

Advance Praise for Master of Shadows

The first notices for Master of Shadows are beginning to flow in, and I'm happy to report that the initial response has been very positive indeed. To follow are the words of some distinguished writers and scholars who've had a chance to look at it. Not to be indiscreet, but the book is now available for preorder from the bookseller of your choice.

"In elegant brushstrokes, and using as his subject the painter/diplomat Rubens, Mark Lamster gives us here a vivid portrait of 17th century Europe and the political intrigue that led to the modern world." — Russell Shorto, author, The Island at the Center of the World 

"Mark Lamster looks beyond Rubens’s talent for era-defining sensual nudes and delves into his little-known career as a diplomat and spy. The result is an exhilarating portrait of an age as dramatic and richly toned as one of Rubens’s gigantic canvases." — Ross King, author, Michelangelo and the Pope's Ceiling 

"This adroitly crafted biography of Rubens brings to life an artist so busy wheeling and dealing with the crowned heads of Europe that it's amazing he found the time to put brush to canvas. Lamster's account engages the student of history as much as it opens the eyes of those who love Rubens's art." — Timothy Brook, author, Vermeer's Hat: The Seventeenth Century and the Dawn of the Global World 

"Master of Shadows is a fascinating account, as lively as it is informed. This utterly intriguing narrative has the knowledge and verve that infuse Rubens's brushstrokes; Lamster writes with the panache and enthusiastic engagement, as well as the capability, warranted by his marvelous subject." — Nicholas Fox Weber, author, Le Corbusier: A Life 

"Imagine that Pablo Picasso, in addition to painting the most famous masterpieces of the twentieth century, had also devoted decades of his life to secret diplomacy aimed at preventing another world war. That is exactly what Peter Paul Rubens, the most revered painter of his era, did in seventeenth-century Europe. Mark Lamster tells this little-known story with a combination of brio and historical erudition bound to appeal to anyone who cares about beauty, passion, war and peace. I couldn't put it down." — Susan Jacoby, author, The Age of American Unreason 

"Art, war, diplomatic intrigue, secret spy missions — all rendered with the erudition of a scholar and the deft touch of a gifted writer. This is exactly what popular history should be. I was utterly transfixed by this book." — Jonathan Mahler, author, The Challenge: Hamdan v. Rumsfeld

“Piercing the darkened, secret world of agents, operatives, and diplomats is a difficult task at the best of times — and in Rubens’s case, one thought impossible — but Mark Lamster brilliantly succeeds at shedding light on this most enigmatic, and aptly dubbed, Master of Shadows.”
— Alexander Rose, author, Washington’s Spies: The Story of America’s First Spy Ring 

"Mark Lamster, a master of vivid writing, provides a highly readable account of the national rivalries and endemic warfare that fostered secret diplomacy in seventeenth-century Europe. Master of Shadows is a page-turner not to be missed.” — Lita-Rose Betcherman, author, Court Lady and Country Wife: Two Noble Sisters in Seventeenth-Century England  "Rubens’s story surprises and dazzles." — Kirkus

Posted in: Arts + Culture, Media

Jobs | May 22