Axel Vander is an old man, in ill health, recently widowed, a scholar renowned for both his unquestionable authority and the ferocity and violence that often mark his conduct. He is known to be Belgian by birth, to have had a privileged upbringing, to have made a perilous escape from World War II–torn Europe—his blind eye and dead leg are indelible reminders of that time. But Vander is also a master liar (“I lied to lie”), his true identity shrouded under countless layers of intricately connected falsehoods. Now a young woman he doesn’t know, and whom he has dubbed “Miss Nemesis,” has threatened to expose the most fundamental and damaging of these lies. Vander has agreed to travel from California to meet her in Italy—in Turin, city of the most mysterious shroud—believing that he will have no difficulty rendering her harmless.But he is wrong. This woman—at once mad and brilliant, generous and demanding—will be the catalyst for Vander’s reluctant journey through his past toward the truths he has hidden, and toward others even he will be shocked to discover.In Shroud—as in all of his acclaimed previous novels—John Banville gives us an emotionally resonant tale, exceptionally rich in language and image, dazzling in its narrative invention. It is a work of uncommon power.