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Superbly told story of triumph over adversity
on 14 January 2009
Tonio Treschi is the young son of an aging Venetian, the Grand Counsellor, he lives in his father's great palazzo with his young mother, not knowing other children to play with. But his real love is singing, and this he enjoys with his talented mother and his tutors. Guido Maffeo has no heritage, but is simply a young boy from a large and very poor family; he has known only hardship and ill treatment. That is until his beautiful voice, a voice which at a very young age will cost him his future manhood, takes him away from all this. He is taken to Naples and trained by the finest singing masters. The lives of Tonio and Guido will eventually becoming inextricably linked when Toni's father dies and his banished brother returns to claims his inheritance.
Cry to Heaven is a remarkable epic of love, betrayal and vengeance. Yet that is to put it far too simply, for the loves are complex, often unselfish but always beautiful; the betrayal is perhaps of the most shocking nature; the vengeance ultimately unsought.
Anne Rice writing with an assured hand plunges us into the flamboyant, luxurious and at times sordid world of eighteenth century Venice, Naples and Rome with an eye for detail that brings it all vividly to life. Her cast of characters is beautifully drawn, the handsome Tonio being especially appealing. Her careful research into the music and musical practices of the period lends the whole plausibility.
The result is a gripping, tale which at times luxuriates in the sheer pleasure of life, and others is drawn to the depths of despair. A tale where one act of barbarism may have even the reading needing time to come to terms with. It is a moving, at times heart-wrenching, story of triumph over adversity.