Read Music & Silence by Rose Tremain Online


In the year 1629, a young English lutenist named Peter Claire arrives at the Danish Court to join King Christian IV's Royal Orchestra. From the moment when he realizes that the musicians perform in a freezing cellar underneath the royal apartments, Peter Claire understands that he's come to a place where the opposing states of light and dark, good and evil are waging war tIn the year 1629, a young English lutenist named Peter Claire arrives at the Danish Court to join King Christian IV's Royal Orchestra. From the moment when he realizes that the musicians perform in a freezing cellar underneath the royal apartments, Peter Claire understands that he's come to a place where the opposing states of light and dark, good and evil are waging war to the death. Designated the King's 'Angel' because of his good looks, he finds himself falling in love with the young woman who is the companion of the King's adulterous and estranged wife, Kirsten. With his loyalties fatally divided between duty and passion, how can Peter Claire find the path that will realize his hopes and save his soul?From the Trade Paperback edition....

Title : Music & Silence
Author :
Rating :
ISBN : 9781860560279
Format Type : Hardcover
Number of Pages : 448 Pages
Status : Available For Download
Last checked : 21 Minutes ago!

Music & Silence Reviews

  • Dolors
    2018-12-05 09:59

    To choose music as the restoring element of order, beauty and harmony and silence to weave the nuanced voices of a dozen characters tossed by the turbulent currents of History is not an easy task per-se, particularly if the reality of place and time includes shifting narratives, past and present tenses and a historical frame that happens tangentially to the plots and subplots of the story.The endeavor becomes even more ambitious when the setting is the Denmark of the 17th Century, an isolated place surrounded by water and murky clouds, and the reality of the Danish court is carved with the uneven chiselers of disparate narrations by historical and fabricated figures, mostly tormented individuals who grope in the darkness of their disillusionments and whose elusive chronicles hum with undertones more redolent of fairy tales than the expected polyphonic visions of high quality historical fiction. King Christian IV, a renaissance prince, who vouches for intellectual freedom and the abolition of serfdom, is manipulated by his adulterous wife Queen Kirsten and his mother old Queen Sofie, whose basement brims over with gold ingots that replenish her greediness. The Irish Earl O’Fingal is in a frenzy to capture the elusive notes of the epitome of musical beauty that arrested him in dreams while his wife leads a double life with the young and virtuous lutenist Peter Claire, who in turn joins the royal orchestra and finds in innocent Emilia, maid to lascivious Queen Kirsten, his ideal companion. An entangled gossamer of improbable coincidences and contradictory versions of the facts that mould history gives shape to a world in constant self-conflict that is both tangible and remote, gloomy and fantastic, accidental and bizarre. The characters lack chromatic expression and they rest in conventional stalls made of either pure good or dark evil. The story lacks the recurrent motif that binds independent movements to the thematic unity of the symphony, presenting instead a dissonant assortment of little facts and fanciful perspectives that fails to draw the bigger picture.The echo of a distant music can be discerned coming from the freezing dungeons of the Danish palace, where the oil lamp dribbles onto slippery floors and a blue flame flickers hesitantly on the dark walls of time and memory, but when the last note has been played, a deafening silence wipes out the faltering melody of these souls who in the end speak only with forgettable, vacant words.“And if Memory be faulty – as I do think mine must certainly be – then we shall remain all of our lives Indifferent to Music.”

  • Jan-Maat
    2018-11-29 06:05

    Due to my unreasonable irritability the author's reversal of the historical relationship between Christian IV and his mother over money and the bizarre invention of having the Danes ask the Russians for mining experts to help them develop silver mines in Norway but who are eaten by wolves on their way there, (the Russians had no expertise in silver mining in the 17th century(view spoiler)[ and as is well known wolves only eat mining experts if they are also grandmothers (hide spoiler)]If you are not prone to the same character faults as myself you could well enjoy the slightly dreamlike atmosphere of the flashbacks in the Kings mind to the battle of Breitenfeld in which his hopes for dominion over northern Germany were crushed (which I did enjoy, not the crushing of Christian IV's political ambitions(view spoiler)[ a sad day, for a hard working monarch who seemed to have nothing but bad luck (hide spoiler)] but Tremain's writing), the tragic relationship of the King and his friend and the way that the King frames that relationship to himself and the end of the relationship between the King and Kirsten Munk.All of which is at a tangent to other story in the book of the English musician, like some fictional John Dowland, sent to Denmark to play at his court, but who, owing to a singular encounter with a beetle, suffers from a disabling case of deafness.There is the same richness of description as in the author's Restoration but also the same preference for atmosphere over historical accuracy. I think there's an argument that you are best off considering these books as fantasias on historical themes and go with the flow of them. My desire for historical accuracy no doubt is just pedantic. Ah, actually I'd best confess, I have a soft spot for Christian IV. He was one of those people in history who tried hard and saw their best efforts come to naught. He rushed about founding new towns to enhance Danish commerce, slowly built up his political reach, patiently built up cash reserves, but in life planting seeds doesn't ensure a thriving plant. I'll endeavour not to grind my teeth over it. Anyway, recommended for those hard and unsentimental readers indifferent to Christian IV's fate, yet easy going on questions of accuracy and precision.

  • Lynn
    2018-11-29 07:25

    I am a late convert to Rose Tremain's writing - and what beautiful writing it is. Having suffered through some appalling novels of late, it was wonderful to have this novel remind me that there are still some very talented authors out there!It took me a little while to get used to the episodic nature of this novel - more pronounced than in 'Restoration'- but I found myself engaged by the characters and their stories (even the appalling Kirsten!) and intrigued by the narrative. At times the novel seemed to move a little slowly, but I simply reminded myself to be lulled along by the quiet beauty of Tremain's writing rather than expect a 'high action' drama.

  • Jon
    2018-12-11 04:19

    Loved it..couldnt put it down. I love the way its written from different perspectives and jumps back in time so you gradually learn more about the characters backrounds and connections. Im not a massive fan of alot of Historical fiction, preferring to read the real thing. For example - Alison Weirs or Antonia Frasers biographies of European Royals are as gripping as any fiction with plots counter-plots intrigue and sumptous detail, why would you need a weak inaccurate story built around the same period. Perhaps not knowing anything at all about the historical characters in 'Music and Silence' helped me overcome this, I enjoyed knowing they were real, but i was able to enjoy it for beatifully written story telling.

  • r
    2018-11-25 09:15

    کتاب در کپنهاک 1629آغاز میشود .زمانی که پیتر کلر جوان وزیبا با عودش وارد دربار شاه کریستیان چهارم پادشاه دانمارک میشود پیتر کلر شاه را به یاد دوست دوران کودکیش میاندازد وقصه ادامه می یابد نویسنده کم کم شخصیت های مستقلی را وارد قصه میکند که هر کدام قصه ای جدا گانه دارند ولی رمان را منسجم میکنند .مانند کریستین مونک همسر پادشاه ودیگر افراد . شیوه نگارش جالب است .مهمترین چیز روح وحس وموسیقی است که از سکوت درون ادمها برمیخیزد واین موسیقی برخواسته از سکوت در هر شخصیت به نحوی خاص بروز میکند .در یکی با مهربانی //در دیگری با شهوت //در یکی با حیله گری ونیرنگ ودر شخصیت دیگری به صورت جنون واصوات ماورایی ..ترجمه استاد یونسی هم مثل همیشهه زیبا وبی نقص وعالی است ..

  • Patricia Bracewell
    2018-11-30 05:57

    Set in 17th century Denmark at the court of Christian the 4th, this book reminds me of a fairy tale by Hans Andersen, for it is full of magic and wonder. The writing is lovely, except for the sections in which certain characters revel in some rather sordid sexual antics. The writing, though, fits the characters and events. There are several witches, a king, the good girl, the hero -- even a boy who works wonders. They are all larger than life -- another element that adds to the feeling of fairytale. There are palaces and buried treasure. This was a theme driven book rather than plot driven, with elements of light and dark, music and silence, fidelity and betrayal. It's a book I would read again, just to savor it even more than I did the first time.

  • Newtqueen
    2018-11-30 03:20

    I read a review in this week's New Yorker on a new Tremaine book that praised her older work, so I went to the library and got Music & Silence, which has a Whitbread Award. It concerns a lute player and his misadventures in 17th C Denmark. Sadly for me, it's written in that faux archaic style which some authors think emulates the time they are writing about, and I find it cloying. How does she know people talked like that? To add to my chagrin, the characters seem to be either saints or depraved evil people. I'm having trouble understanding the Whitbread for this book.

  • Nikki Bezdel
    2018-12-04 09:27

    A difficult book to lose yourself in. The skill of the author in creating exquisite prose is undeniable, but I have to confess to losing interest in the story on more than a couple of occasions. The switching back and forth between numerous points of view leaves one somewhat adrift and the story does tend to meander off the point quite regularly. All in all, if you enjoy a literary work of considerable skill, you will enjoy the magic woven with words here. However, I found the plot leaden and could not summon up much empathy for any of the characters. For the poetry of the narrative I could give 5 stars, but for overall enjoyment, sadly only 3.

  • Annie
    2018-11-29 07:22

    Ambitious, engaging, flawedTremain synthesizes an array of narrators, points of view, writing styles, tenses in this historical novel which, mysteriously, contains little in the way of actual history.Let it be said at the outset that I have little experience of historical novels, so I’m no judge of this as an example of the genre.The main arc follows an English lutenist, Peter Claire, as he travels to Denmark in 1629 to join King Christian IV’s orchestra, and is the portrayal of a love story. There is, in addition, the story of Christian and the ruling of his kingdom through a period of great hardship. He is harangued by his second wife, Kirsten, a character of almost infinite selfishness and vindictiveness. Christian himself garners sympathy, however, in his humanity, his vulnerability, and his suffering. The supporting cast includes Christian’s mother, Kirsten’s mother, Emilia’s family, including a sexually predatory wicked stepmother and a strange odd-bod of a young brother who can hear nature speaking and has the ability to charm insects (in one of the most bizarre scenes!). Among many others.So, the Peter and Emilia love story weaves though many other arcs in a highly episodic fashion. Most chapters are very short, making for swift changes in point of view character / narrator. By page 50 the we’ve had third person present tense following Peter arriving in Denmark; Kirsten’s (very!) personal diary; third person narrative following Queen Sophie, as she gives birth to Christian; back to Peter; an episode from Christian’s childhood; more of Kirsten’s ramblings; Peter;the first of several ‘laments’ from the point of view of Peter’s ex employer and lover in windswept Ireland, the Italian Countess O’Fingal; Emilia’s background; another of the Countess’ Laments; a story from Christian’s schooldays. And the novel goes on for another 400 pages! (Not quite as long as this review! Sorry!)In part, this is confusing, but the threads intertwine. In part it is jarring, as the transitions are so swift. The main problem is that not enough time is given to any of them to fully explore and develop the characters. Having said this, it still does sort of work! I still care about at least some of the characters, such as Peter, Christian, strange little Marcus, the homely servant Vibeke who undergoes something of a transformation of fortunes (no spoilers here!).The absence of history is a problem for me. There is very little structure to hang the narratives on, so in many ways it may as well be set at any time. A few historical events happen ‘off-stage’, the main one coming towards the end of the novel where Christian climactically recounts a deeply traumatic event concerning a cherished childhood friend (again, no spoilers!). The trouble is, with the narrative not in the habit of anchoring the actions of the characters in historical events, this story requires such a large dollop of historical information that the emotional impact is lost underneath it. Which is a shame.The geographical locations are handled well, with effective scene setting, such as the huge forests and the many islands defined by the misty sea which surrounds them. I would very much have liked maps. Maps are always good. I spent time googling them when it would have been far nicer to have had two or three printed in the book itself. The locations play a significant part in the stories.Tremain’s descriptive powers are considerable, with many of the scenes brought to life with an eye for detail. One particular example of this is the description of the underground chamber that houses the musicians and the convoluted contraption whereby the music is syphoned, via tubes and a grille in the floor, to the King’s Winter Room. No one can see the musicians, but the music can be heard. Almost Gormenghastian!The writing styles vary with the changes in episodes, but it is very accomplished, although, with leanings towards the literary I would have preferred Tremain to cut out much of the over-explaining that she gives. I find it unnecessary and diluting. For example, the otherwise very effective sentence, ‘Queen Sophie holds her head in her hands, feeling the bones of her skull. The keys to her treasure house are hard and cold against the puckered skin of her breasts...’, which should have ended there, goes on to add, ‘ cold and hard as her unyielding purpose.’ Just in case you missed it. Such redundancies are common, and, to my mind, weaken otherwise very strong writing.The theme of music and silence plays out in many scenes and on many levels. What these symbols may represent is open to interpretation. There is something here that equates music with order, a Harmony of the Spheres sort of concept - very much the psychology of Christian who is mentally assailed by things out of order, or unpleasing, or ‘shoddy’. I also detect a correspondence between music and hope. The scene where Peter’s gathering deafness is addressed towards the end of the novel powerfully underscores this interpretation. Interestingly, Kirsten cannot abide music.The very end of the novel leaves me dissatisfied. I wish it had ended one episode earlier. Instead, it gives the final words to the self-centred Kirsten.All in all, a very enjoyable read. One that would definitely warrant a repeat reading at some point.

  • Shaghayegh Sedaghat
    2018-12-05 07:20

    "نوميدي جايي است همين نزديكي ها.من فكر ميكنم نوميدي يك روستا است،آنجا مهمانسرايي است و يك مشت خانه،با پيرمردي كه چاقو تيز ميكند."رمان زيبا،با قلمي جذاب و خاص،هرفصل از رمان از زبان افراد مختلف و با طرزفكر و بيان مختلف نوشته شده بود كه اوايل عجيب،در اواسط هيجان انگيز و در فصل هاي آخر...كسل كننده بود.نقطه اوج رمان تقاطع شخصيتها بود.اواسط كتاب آنقدر گيرا بود كه انتظار پايان خيلي بهتري داشتم با اين وجود بين رمانهاي كلاسيك يك انتخاب خوب و متفاوت بود...وبخش مورد علاقه ام از كتاب :"اميد متاع غريبي ست.مخدري ست.قسم ميخوريم كه ديگر گردش نگرديم اما ميبيني روزي مي آيد كه ناگهان باز گرفتار و پايبند ميشويم.""پذيرش،سخت ترين درسي است كه زندگي به ما ميدهد و مهم ترين درسي كه بايد آموخت."

  • Em
    2018-12-03 03:24

    Music and Silence is a beautifully written, lyrical novel which explores music, silence and much, much more. Set in 17th Century Denmark, the stories of multiple characters intertwine and the tale of each is equally captivating. The description and sense of place is superb, the changing scenery was vivid in my mind. I especially loved the way in which Rose Tremain blended the historical and magical and that there is nothing predictable in the story or it ending.

  • Ahmad Sharabiani
    2018-12-08 05:06

    Music and Silence, Rose Tremain (1943)عنوان: موسیقی و سکوت؛ نویسنده: رز تره مین (تریمین)؛ مترجم: ابراهیم یونسی؛ مشخصات نشر: تهران، نگاه، 1382، در 581 ص، شابک: 9643511200؛ موضوع: داستانهای نویسندگان انگلیسی قرن 20 م

  • Fiona
    2018-12-13 08:19

    Music and Silence takes you, dream-like, through 17th Century Denmark during the time of King Christian IV. I'm not sure how historically accurate this book is yet, I thought I would look it up after reading it.Tremain chose a rather unusual method of storytelling. It was written in little episodes from the perspectives of multiple characters that all played some small part, that reflected both music and silence - the real, the unreal, the magical the unmagical. I think it will take a little while to really sink in and think about the meaning. It tells a story of Peter Claire, a beautiful lutanist from England who comes to Denmark to be in the king's renowned orchestra - who play in the cellars of Rosenborg castle where music filters up through pipes into a room. The music can be heard though not seen.King Christian is a fascinating character, a nice man though rather obsessed by perfection and ideals - rather then what can actually happen in reality. His wife, Kirsten is vain, materialistic and adulterous. His life and health are in a turmoil and when Peter Claire arrives he makes him his 'angel'.Peter Claire is a peculiar man whom I do not feel you really get to know at all throughout. You seem to find out more about his sister and the other characters then you do him. He falls in love with the maid of Kirsten Munk and finds himself in the middle of a battle between the King and his wife. These different perspectives and different people you read about are like bubbles in time. You float through the narrative within these little bubbles, you float through the lives of these people and you occasionally pass them by only to float past them again.Tremain's style is lyrical, ethereal and delicate - gently guiding you through, tempting you onwards to read more. I found it a light read, one that I could pick up and put down again and relax to. I did not feel the need tor race through it but just to float along and enjoy it.It is not a historical saga which tells the life of King Christian IV from start to finish, it is only a short period in his life. I do not usually read novels about real people so this was an exception. I enjoyed it and would very much like to read Restoration by Tremain now.

  • Carol
    2018-11-29 08:27

    I found this book a bit hard to get into, but once I was, I found it hard to put down. This is a wonderful historical novel set in the early 1600's in Denmark. King Christian IV is a decent king (as a result of his boyhood) with growing concerns (perhaps somewhat paranoid) about the financial state of his kingdom. He lives with his ghastly adulterous wife Kirsten, and retreats from his daily miseries in his chamber music. His musicians are the finest in Europe and they must play for him at will from the unheated basement beneath his sitting room. Enter Peter Claire, an English lute player of fine repute and a beautiful face. Peter falls in love with Emilia, the adulterous wife's lovely young hand-maiden - but the evil wife works to destroy this love (probably because it so real that she envies it).The tales of the various personalities in this novel are expertly woven and while there is hate and destruction, there is also kindness, true love and some sweet (albeit late) revenge. The reviewer who wrote this was the stuff of fairy tales has it right. Although this is a fairy tale, it is so well written that the reader can hear the sweet calm of the chamber players' music, can smell the virgin forests in which King Christian and his dear boyhood friend, Bror, learn about life and loyalty, and can rejoice in the few moments of true passion in this novel. A wonderful tale of old, very well written, with an excellent story. The author's style of writing in this novel is difficult to get used to in the beginning, but stay with it because it is worth it....

  • Bettie☯
    2018-12-04 05:14

    Description: In the year 1629, a young English lutenist named Peter Claire arrives at the Danish Court to join King Christian IV's Royal Orchestra. From the moment when he realizes that the musicians perform in a freezing cellar underneath the royal apartments, Peter Claire understands that he's come to a place where the opposing states of light and dark, good and evil are waging war to the death. Designated the King's 'Angel' because of his good looks, he finds himself falling in love with the young woman who is the companion of the King's adulterous and estranged wife, Kirsten. With his loyalties fatally divided between duty and passion, how can Peter Claire find the path that will realize his hopes and save his soul?For my daughter,EleanorLove alwaysOpening: Copenhagen, 1629: A lamp is lit.Until this moment, when the flame of the lamp flares blue, then settles to steady yellow inside its ornate globe, the young man had been impressed by the profound darkness which, upon his late-night arrival at the Palace of Rosenborg, he had suddenly stepped.TR Music & Silence4* The Road Home4* Restoration4* Trespass1* Merivel3* The American Lover3* Collected Short Stories

  • Sera
    2018-11-20 06:27

    Better than "Trespass" (the first book of the author that I have read). It is quite entertaining, engrossing and surprising for me because I am not really into historical novels, especially dramas and books based on real stories of royal families. Since the book is narrated by the perspectives of several characters, every part has a different tone. I will especially remember this book with the hilarious narrative of Queen Kirsten and Marcus, the child who can hear and understand the sounds of nature. I wish the music could be heard more in the lives of characters though because I felt that the music becomes a secondary element after some point while it was one of the main characters in the beginning.

  • Chris
    2018-12-13 04:18

    Music & Silenceis beautifully written. Though the plot is relatively simple, it becomes suspenseful towards the end. There is a feeling of disconnect from the characters, perhaps due to the prose style itself or the historical era. The other character that the reader seems to fully get to know is Kirsten. The character of Christian IV is kept at a distance, almost King Arthur like. This is not wholly surprising considering the historical background for the story and who the actual people really were. I did find myself wishing that she would have used Danish place names and not the English versions of said names.

  • Hugh
    2018-11-14 04:23

    Enjoyed this story of a young musician in the 17th century Danish court - brilliantly realised and full of intriguing detail.

  • Dottie
    2018-11-19 11:24

    One of my favorite Tremain offerings. I've found most any of hers are worth the time but I loved the period setting here.

  • Kathy Sharp
    2018-12-08 11:01

    I have arrived late at the works of Rose Tremain - but better late than never, as they say. A chance choice at the charity book table brought Music & Silence into my possession, and the beautiful, exceptional writing drew me in straight away. It's a wonderfully crafted piece - the weaving together of the lives of a disparate group of people at the court of King Christian IV of Denmark in the 17th century. Striking characters, atmospheric settings, and the tides of good and bad fortune all perfectly merged together. The reader feels safe in the hands of Rose Tremain (well, I did!), and I shall certainly be reading more of her work. Outstanding.

  • Michael Rumney
    2018-11-29 07:12

    Disappointing, over written with too much flowery language which suffocates the plot. King Christian's orchestra are made to play in a damp dark cellar and that was the only interesting thing about the book. Being there with them was preferable to reading this shocker.

  • Tocotin
    2018-12-06 05:25

    Wow, this was an interesting read, if a bit heavy at times. It's about two years in the middle of the reign of the most popular Danish king, Christian IV, namely of the time when he finally got fed up with the antics of his morganatic wife Kirsten Munk and sent her away. I'm ashamed to admit I didn't know anything about the historical figures mentioned in the book (apart from Dowland), so I had to check some stuff when I finished, which was about 10 minutes ago.The book is very long, and has lots and lots of intertwined stories, the most fascinating (for me) being these of the King, Kirsten, and her favorite lady-in-waiting Emilia Tilsen and her family. Truth be told, I'd have enjoyed the book even more if it was told only from Kirsten's perspective, she was such an awesome, wild, fun character. I only waited for her turn with her narrative (in first person, no less). Her confidante Emilia was one of the rare characters which keep reader interested despite their gentleness and meekness. And the portrait of the industrious, courageous King, who was sometimes confused, but always striving for good, and curious about the world, was also compelling. Now that I think of it, I can see that the book made me forget that I was reading about very rich and privileged people, which otherwise would at some point cause me to go "meh, they don't really have much to complain about." The author did great job by showing how dangerous and unsure life used to be past then, how easy it was to lose everything because of war, or an incurable illness, or an accident (all right, it's true for us living today too, but not to this extent), even if someone was more well-to-do and more influential than the most.Not all the characters were equally absorbing, alas, I didn't like Emilia's love interest Peter Claire (maybe because the author kept referring to him always using both his last and first names; it's guaranteed to annoy me for some reason), he was very bland. Also, I didn't like the treatment of Emilia's stepmother Magdalena, and as to the business with Kirsten's successor Vibeke, the truth seems to be different from the version of the book. But these are minor quibbles really, and I just devoured this whole huge story, and loved the details (although the style was a bit on the pompous side when Kirsten wasn't speaking, and I really wish historical authors didn't always try to build such long fences of two-dollar Phrases about how the wind Blowing Around brings us Consolation and signifies Stuff or Whatever).

  • Pixie Dust
    2018-12-03 07:02

    Such a joy to read really well-crafted descriptions of atmosphere, character and sentiments in general. Tremain has an amazing ability to immerse the reader in her writing. I was able to lose myself in her world of captivating characters with their persistent yearnings and unfulfilled hopes and desires. Her prose is very affecting. Every time I put down the book, I felt left with a sense of vague yearning for I know not what. The book is so intense – and so lengthy – that it is quite heavy to read, and perhaps depressing to write?Although the title is Music and Silence, and the blurb seems to suggest that Peter Claire, the royal lutenist at King Christian IV’s court, is the main character of the novel, less focus is given to him than to the myriad of other personalities that are in some way related to the Danish Court. My favourite is the decadent ‘almost-Queen’ of Denmark – King Christian’s second wife, Kirsten Munk. While most of the novel is written in the 3rd person, Kirsten’s sections are written in the 1st. This allows Tremain to breathe much life into her creation. She is cast as an self-important megalomaniac, totally lacking in self-awareness and utterly obsessed with her need to live a life of degenerate, pampered comfort. Although her life is vain and careless, one can’t help rooting for her – such a child she is with her unrealistic dreams and expectations. Despite Tremain’s eloquence, I wasn’t too impressed with the way the affairs of love were handled. There are several pairings in the novel, but I couldn’t feel for any of them. Practically all the relationships in the novel have lust as their basis. For example, there is no real reason for Peter and Emilie to fall so deeply in love except that both are exceptionally beautiful.

  • Stephen Redwood
    2018-12-10 06:18

    The skill with which the various strands of this story are interwoven is extraordinary. It paints a fascinating picture of life and politics in Denmark in the 17th century, as well as it's relationships with other European countries. The story itself took me a little while to become absorbed by, and every so often some of the liberties taken with coincidence struck me as being more typical of the short cuts movies take than those you expect in a sophisticated novel. Nevertheless, by the end I was reading quite enthusiastically to see how the various strands would come together. The author managed to keep the endings for the main character and the love of his life uncertain right to the end, which maintained a good level of anticipation through to the final pages. The story revolves around the court life of Danish King Christian XV, so brings to our attention an area of European history that probably doesn't get much attention in the education of, at least, UK and Southern European countries - this kind of sugar coated education is another benefit of this kind of historical fiction. Overall, OK but not great.

  • Angela Young
    2018-12-09 03:11

    The research Tremain must have done for this book is astounding but it never shows. I heard an interview with her on Woman's Hour recently (about her new novel, Merivel, A Man of his Time) in which she quoted Rudyard Kipling's attitude to research. He said (I'm paraphrasing) that you should build up your research the way you build up a fire but when you're actually writing a book you should merely riddle that fire ... and Tremain is a past mistress of that. I loved this book. It has so many stories within it (a way of novel-writing I love ... ) and so many memorable scenes: the musicians in the underground room so that music sounds in the King's rooms as if by magic; and the beautiful beginnings of two of the characters gentle love for each other in those very basement rooms. The mist and the buried clock; the (very) strange appetites of Kirsten Munk and so much more. I look forward to every Tremain novel and am looking forward to reading the sequel to Restoration, to finding out how Merivel develops - he who spoke some of the most wonderful lines about madness in fiction:

  • Tori
    2018-12-05 10:02

    2003- Peter Claire travels in 1629 from England to Denmark to be part of King Christian IV's orchestra. Swirling around him are tons of stories, and at least 12+ different viewpoints are used in the book, each showing the differences of how people's age, sex and status makes them view events. King Christian and his wife Kirsten's marriage is on the rocks, the country of Denmark is almost broke, and Peter and his love Emilia are kept away from each other. We also see the stories of how King Christian rose to become a king, and how Peter's sister prepares for a marriage at home, while Emilia's family falls apart because of her wicked stepmother's horrible games. You will not be able to predict what will happen next, and you often wonder if Peter and Emilia will EVER be reunited with all lies and deceptions surrounding them. This is truly one of the best historical fiction books I have ever read."

  • Bre Teschendorf
    2018-11-14 09:08

    This is the story of a Danish king, his rogue queen and his musicians and their loves in the middle ages. This book is written in choppy paragraphs jumping back and forth in time with lots of detail and interesting tidbits about life in that time period. The modern writing style made it very refreshing to read.

  • Lynne
    2018-12-06 05:16

    A satisfying historical novel that reads like a mix of literary fiction, fairy tales, and an invented seventeenth-century Danish version of magical realism. This chimerical quality makes it easy to overlook the very loose plot as each section reads almost like a little tale of its own. I will miss Kirsten Munk, Almost Queen of Denmark, and her private papers.

  • Rebecca Huston
    2018-12-06 09:07

    An unusual setting for a historical novel -- 17th century Denmark -- told from the viewpoint of a court musician. I found it very enjoyable, if some of the details were either high in the squick factor or improbable, but still a good read that is partially based in fact. For the complete review, please go here:

  • Laura
    2018-11-26 05:19

    Just arrived from USA through BM. Didn't like it so much, quite boring or I'm not in the right mood to read it now, who knows?