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on 20 December 2002
To write a biography without having met the person is difficult enough. To write about a genius is that much harder. First what this book will not do for you. It will not draw you in by flowery writing. It will not make you cry with laughter due to the cleverness or wit of the author. And that is just about it. Now what it will do for you. It will thrill you to live within the mind of a genius. It will teach you more about his music then any other paper - speech - university course. I started this book (or three as they were then) and finished them in a week. The next time you go see the 9th you will either cry or rise shouting Beethoven's name. You will - you will - be a richer person for having read this book. My hearty congratulations to John Suchet and my eternal gratitude.
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TOP 1000 REVIEWERon 9 August 2011
SAFE READING - NO SPOILERS

John Suchet is a world renowned expert on Beethoven and these three volumes of biographical/novels go a long way to explaining why. He has used comprehensive, detailed and exhaustive research combined with his great skill as a writer to create the story of Beethoven's life and people his book with well-drawn characters, without whose help and sustained friendship, we would not have the musical masterpieces we have today. Central to his novels is, of course, Beethoven himself; Suchet admits that, at the outset, he did not like Beethoven but, after his initial research followed by the long task of writing the books, he grew to understand him more, respect and like him.
After hearing Beethoven's third symphony, Haydn remarked that music would "never be the same again"; after reading these volumes, the reader's view of Beethoven will never be the same again (and, because of the insights into the driven nature of his life, perhaps other geniuses and major artists too).
For the researcher and student of Beethoven, combining this reading with other scholarly studies, biographies and compendia, e.g. "Beethoven Compendium", "Beethoven - his Spiritual Development", "Classic FM" Guide to Beethoven" (also by John Suchet), one can see how detailed his research was and the clever ways in which he has used it to create this superb biographical/novel.
In his preface, he states that he cannot guarantee that all these events happened but that all of them could have happened. I recommend these three books very highly and other books by John Suchet. They are becoming harder to find, so buy them quickly.

PS There are a few films of Beethoven's life on DVD, which I recommend in this order:
"Eroica" - the story behind and a performance of his third symphony;
"Immortal Beloved" - Gary Oldman's performance is superb as the film probes (not altogether factually) into the identification of his "immortal beloved";
"Copying Beethoven" - not a believable story but watch it for the performance of Ed Harris.

Others in a more documentary style or performances inclued:
"In Search of Beethoven" - Phil Grabsky
"Ode to Freedom" - Bernstein's celebration with the 9th concert after the Berlin Wall fell
"Bernstein/Beethoven" - Bernstein's rehearsal and performance DVDs of all the symphonies.
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on 26 August 2009
Having read the reviews by other readers about this trilogy I bought the first one, which I couldn't put down, and am nearly at the end of this, the 2nd one.. which I also can't put down!!
I've just ordered the 3rd one!!

They are a thoroughly gripping read, even if you're not particularly interested in Beethoven, but even more so if you are!!
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on 1 April 1999
John Suchet has captured the essence of the character of Beethoven in this book. It is not meant as a biography but rather as a novel describing the kind of life Beethoven probably led. I found it superbly written and a great read from start to finish, The only drawback is that this book is the first of 3 with a seemingly endless period between publication of the next parts.
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on 23 February 2013
THE BOOK IS BASED ON FACTS IN BEETHOVEN'S LIFE AND JOHN SUCHET HAS ADDED FICTIONAL DETAILS SUCH AS CONVERSATIONS BETWEEN BEETHOVEN AND THE PEOPLE HE MET
BUT THE FACTS AVE NOT BEEN ALTERED.
THE FICTION IS IN CONVERSATIONS THAT TOOK PLACE BETWEEN THE PEOPLE CONCERNED, SOMETHING THAT WE COULD NEVER KNOW.
THE BOOK READS LIKE A VERY INTERESTING NOVEL.
A FIRST CLASS BOOK.

GORDON CLAY
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on 2 June 2014
An absorbing account of the life of Beethoven. I thoroughly enjoyed Vol 1 & 2 also. Beethoven was both a troubled person and talented musician and learning about his life brings a totally new experience to listening to his music.
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on 25 January 2016
Well written narrative of the Maestro's middle ("Heroic") period, including his relationship with Antonie Brentano, his Eternally Beloved. Well worth reading! I have always enjoyed John Suchet's non-fiction books on the Maestro's life so this book in novel format was indeed a treat. Recommended for anyone who loves Beethoven!
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on 5 October 2010
Another excellent buy! Book delivered in time range and condition as described. Will use this supplier again. Well worth 1 penny + postage

The Last Master Vol 2: Passion and Pain
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on 25 December 2015
bought for my husband he really pleased with this book likes john suchet books on beethoven
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on 18 November 2015
Disappointed as this was a stamped library book which was not stated in description
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