Harvell, Richard The Bells
Crown see Random 2010 371p 24.00
978-0-307-59052-7 adult VG-BN
Nikolai is the son of a castrato. After his Moses, his father dies, he finds the book his father wrote to explain Nikolai’s existence.
Moses’ preternatural sense of hearing is both a blessing and a curse. The glorious sound of the bells his mother rings in her job as bellkeeper shape his extraordinary gift for sound. But when his gift threatens to expose the sins of the church, Moses is cast out of his village and soon faces certain death. Rescued by two traveling monks, Nikolai returns to their Abbey with him and soon finds his true purpose: singing. The choirmaster, Ulrich, determined to save the brilliant prodigy’s voice, has Moses castrated. Moses hides his condition from all who know him, even the girl he loves. How did Moses, who becomes a world-renowned musician, come to have a son that he could not have sired?
Harvell’s debut novel is a well-researched and brilliant historical fiction intended for adult readers. Historical Welliver(3), Hilary