Cast as a memoir of authorship and conscience, "The Master's Ruse" is the surrealist narrative of an aging novelist compromised by harsh laws governing literary freedom. She lives alone with her servants on an isolated farm. There she creates fictions which will never be published, immersing herself in her work, dressing in the costumes of her characters, and frequently crossing the fine line between the known world and her composed realities. She has one friend and mentor, a banned fellow novelist and one-time professor of literature who lives in the nearby city. One night, he arrives at her estate with a fugitive and asks her to shelter the man for a few days, until a more suitable sanctuary can be found. The author is reluctant to take political risks, but agrees. From this point, she finds herself tumbling into a world over which she has no control and is forced to assess her situation as both author and character within a work she did not create.
Patricia Schonstein grew up in Zimbabwe and now lives in South Africa. Her first novel, the award-winning Skyline, was followed by the acclaimed A Time of Angels, The Apothecary's Daughter and A Quilt of Dreams. She completed a master's degree in creative writing under the supervision of J. M. Coetzee at the University of Cape Town.