Blurb from Goodreads.com, please scroll down for my review.
Saint Petersburg, 1893.
In the dimly lit salon of a private house, the composer Tchaikovsky watches as an illegal jury considers his alleged crimes of licentious behavior. He hastily agrees to abide by their orders to swallow poison rather than face allegations in the official courts, but is terrified by the reality of the situation. As he considers how his life has led him to this point, a dark tale emerges.
Tchaikovsky’s immense fame, unlawful sexuality, mysterious death, and the splendid music which surrounds it all paint a unique and intriguing portrait of one of the most beloved composers of all time. Can he find a way out of the web of revenge and deceit? Or will Fate have the last word?
Historical Fiction. 4 stars out of 5.
I am not sure my review could do the book justice, but I will give it a go:
Tchaikovsky. Ever heard the name before? I am sure you have, and if you haven´t, well you probably should have, but, did you know his first names? Maybe not. Pyotr Ilyich Tchailovsky is his full name. But how much do you actually know about the composer? not much I can imagine, and neither did I until I read this novel. Give it a go and you will learn about his life and loves and death. This novel is the story of Tchaikovsky.
It is a work of art written in novel style rather than non fiction and it works extremely well, from the author Adin Dalton who spent 8 years of his life researching and writing the book. A little long at 662 pages, but there are no boring parts at all. although it would have been nice to have added a little more about the illegal hearing he was put through. I though there was a lack of this.
Adin´s descriptions bring Pyotr Ilyich´s life alive, feelings, senses, smells, all seemed to swirl around in my head while I read it. I found myself humming Swan Lake for various days. I was drawn into the book, and when I wasn´t reading it, I wanted to. I wanted to read it in one sitting but at 662 pages long I found it to be impossible.
The book is well written in the third person with Pyotr being the obvious main character along with various family members. The sex scenes throughout are tasteful. I found I enjoyed the whole book, so I coudn´t say I had one particular favourite part, but the parts where Pyotr traveled were probably it. There were times when the author has included letters or correspondence and this was in a different format to the normal font and although I enlarged it, it was still a little too small for comfort. Maybe it could be improved.
This is a historical fiction novel. It won´t appeal to all readers and probably not for younger readers, but those who are interested in the life of Tchaikovsky. I thoroughly enjoyed reading the book.
Edit of the review: Since I wrote this review, the author has edited slightly the ending, he sent me the new ending for me to review and I think it has improved immensely the ending.
Below is an interesting comment from the author on his goodreads page.
I truly believe that the nineteenth-century composer, P I Tchaikovsky did not die of cholera as the scholars insist. His death-bed, as well as his remains, were not administered in compliance with victims of cholera at the time. Furthermore, there was talk of poison among those close to him before any word of cholera was disclosed. Of course, I do not believe he would have committed suicide either. Perhaps the truth of his mysterious death lies elsewhere… Quite a difficult spot to be in as Tchaikovsky’s first novelist!