Violin… The word brings such vivid images to my mind. A slender and graceful soloist performing on stage, her eyes closed in delirious ecstasy. The mysterious, dark, gaunt figure of Paganini, his long thin fingers racing up and down the fingerboard with demonic, preternatural speed. Tartini reclining in bed while handing the violin to the devil himself. Sherlock Holmes playing a tune in his small flat at 221b Baker Street.
The sound of the violin stirs different emotions deep within my soul: sublimity, sweetness, passion, sadness, fear. Sibelius’s concerto is dark and mysterious; Beethoven’s is spiritual and noble; Brahms’s is earthly and passionate; Tchaikovsky’s is grand and dramatic.
It’s curious how, unlike other instruments, the violin seems to possess a dark, sinister quality. Surely no other instrument in history has been the “victim” of such lore and legend. The violin is light and darkness. It has two faces, two personas. That is what makes it so intriguing.
At the same time, it is associated with the feminine. I’m not referring to the shape and sound of the violin, but to the feelings it evokes in its owner. I’ve read that male violinists see the violin as a female companion, while women see it as an extension of themselves.
Most people have intense emotions about the violin – they either love it or hate it. Interestingly enough, for someone who hasn’t an affinity for music, the violin can be the most horrific, tortuous instrument to listen to.
The violin has stirred my imagination and unleashed my creativity in ways I never experienced before. An orphan girl who wished to become a violinist begged me to write her Christmas story (The Doll Violinist); a little mouse living in Stradivari’s workshop invited me to share his tale and at the same time teach children the parts of the violin (Frederico, the Mouse Violinist), a 16-year old violin student named Emma Braun whispered in my ear that she wished to be the protagonist of my new mystery (The Luthier’s Apprentice)…
And always in the background is the violin’s music, my muse and inspiration.
Niccolò Paganini (1782-1840), one of the greatest violinists who ever lived and rumored to have made a pact with the devil, has somehow transferred unique powers to another…
When violinists around the world mysteriously vanish, 16-year-old Emma Braun takes notice. But when her beloved violin teacher disappears… Emma takes charge. With Sherlock Holmes fanatic, not to mention gorgeous Corey Fletcher, Emma discovers a parallel world ruled by an ex-violinist turned evil sorceress who wants to rule the music world on her own terms.
But why are only men violinists captured and not women? What is the connection between Emma’s family, the sorceress, and the infamous Niccolò Paganini?
Emma must unravel the mystery in order to save her teacher from the fatal destiny that awaits him. And undo the curse that torments her family—before evil wins and she becomes the next luthier’s apprentice…
Award-winning author Mayra Calvani has penned over ten books for children and adults in genres ranging from picture books to nonfiction to paranormal fantasy novels. She’s had over 300 articles, short stories, interviews and reviews published in magazines such as The Writer, Writer’s Journal and Bloomsbury Review, among others. A native of San Juan, Puerto Rico, she now resides in Brussels, Belgium.
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