Time Will Tell

Time Will Tell

By Donald Greig

A witty and fast-moving tale of treachery and ambition centred on a rare musical manuscript, set in the medieval past and the present day.

EPUB, 204 Pages


September 2012

£5.99, $9.99

PDF, 204 Pages


September 2012

£5.99, $9.99

  • About This Book
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About This Book

Andrew Eiger, an ambitious American musicologist, is stuck in a small college in the Midwest when fate delivers him an original fifteenth-century manuscript. It’s his calling card to the finest academic institutions, but first he has to crack the notational code and convince Emma Mitchell – the dynamic conductor of the renowned early-music group, Beyond Compère – to share his vision of the composition’s glittering premiere. But who wrote it? The true story is yet to be discovered, hidden in a memoir that describes the treachery of the famous Josquin Desprez.

Deftly blending farce with acute knowledge of life as a performer, Donald Greig’s impressive first novel is a thrilling behind-the-scenes tale set in the world of classical music. Witty and informative, it skilfully refracts the present day through the prism of the past, weaving themes of memory, ambition, friendship and love.


‘A good read—enjoyable and thoughtful at the same time.’ —Maria Coldwell, ‘Early Music America’

‘Greig can write fiction; in spades, as it turns out. [He] has his own persuasive voice and romantic style. The characters are well drawn, the observations astute, and the intellectual content convincing and approachable. Most importantly, “Time Will Tell” is funny (actually, really very funny at times) and gripping.’ —Jeremy Summerly ‘Choir and Organ’

‘[Greig] write[s] with verve and a wit capable of summing up characters with a single devastatingly accurate observation. [T]his is not a book solely for specialists and demands no prior knowledge of early music.’ —Edward Breen, ‘Early Music Today’

‘Greig has a gift for drawing characters as much as he has for pacing his set-pieces [and] it is as a study in character that this thriller should be enjoyed, not as an academic by-product.’ — Peter Phillips, ‘Spectator’

‘Amalgamate mystique, distinctive character progression and immense knowledge of music and what you have is “Time Will Tell” by Donald Greig.’ —Taimur Saih, ‘Dawn’

‘A remarkable first novel.’ —‘Early Music America’

‘A colourful and intriguing book.’ —ClassicsToday.com

‘“Time Will Tell” is darkly humorous and rich with detail. The time shifts between the 15th and 20th centuries, and then the transition to the 21st, are smooth and clear. The fully-rounded major characters have distinctive voices and the personalities he invented for the 15th–16th century characters are vivid. Reading “Time Will Tell”, one feels that human nature hasn't changed much through five hundred years.’ —Ruth Latta, www.compulsivereader.com

‘As you might expect, “Time Will Tell” captures well the world of the itinerant professional vocal ensemble.’ —Andrew Green, ‘Classical Music Magazine’

‘A fascinating double glimpse into the world of modern singers and medieval music.’ —Terry Jones (Monty Python)

‘A delightful romp through the passions and pretensions of the early-music world.’ —Sarah Dunant, author of ‘The Birth of Venus’ and ‘Sacred Hearts’

‘Funny, sharp and oddly compassionate, full of [Greig’s] experience of the world of early music performance and [his] deep knowledge of music history.’ —Charles Saumarez Smith, Secretary and Chief Executive, Royal Academy of Arts

‘This is one for lovers of “The Name of the Rose” and “Possession” …and lovers of early music. Donald Greig’s antihero lives in a thoroughly plausible academic world as he attempts to fit in with the equally plausible singers of the group Beyond Compère. The results are often hilarious as the story hurtles to its unexpected climax.’ —David Fallows, Emeritus Professor of Musicology at the University of Manchester and author of Josquin (2009)

‘An absolute page-turner! Brilliant, compelling, funny, moving and historically insightful’ —Tarik O’Regan, composer

‘Fluently marrying the three worlds of London professional singer, American academia and the life of a 15th century composer, Don Greig has written a modern masterpiece. Everything is in place for a thriller which will make its readers laugh out loud. Every detail is secure, every gesture assured - and the twist at the end perfectly managed.’ —Peter Phillips, Director of The Tallis Scholars

Author Information

Donald Greig is a singer, writer and sometime lecturer in film studies and musicology. A performer of early music, he is particularly associated with The Tallis Scholars and The Orlando Consort (of which he is a founding member). ‘Time Will Tell’ is his first novel. For further information, go to donaldgreig.net


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