MOZART’S BLOOD by Louise Marley

Book Quote:

“…The restoration of the old theater was so faithful that it hardly seemed possible her old friend was not still here. She thought if she turned, just so, she would see him standing center stage, winking at her during his bows as he had done the last time she saw him alive.

She sighed and tipped her head up to gaze past the soaring façade of four balconies to the sculpted trompe l’oeil ceiling with its splendid chandelier. There was a hidden passageway there, in the rafters of the theater, where compassionate Milanese had stowed Jews to save them from being sent to the internment camps. In 1943, the Allies had inadvertently bombed La Scala, smashing its roof and the upper levels to dust. Yet now it was restored to its glory, its history retained. The theater’s memory was even longer than Octavia’s.”

Book Review:

Review by Ann Wilkes  (OCT 31, 2010)

In spite of the bodice-ripper cover, Mozart’s Blood is not a romance. Unless of course by romance you mean a romantic age or setting. It is a vampire tale set in the world of opera and spans centuries. The details of the struggles, competition and fleeting rewards of being an opera singer create a very romantic backdrop indeed.

Marley’s heroine, the talented soprano Octavia Voss (as she is known in her present incarnation) is all business. Having been initiated together with Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart by the same vampire centuries before, she shares all his memories and understands his music better than anyone else. Opera is in her blood, if you’ll pardon the pun.

Octavia does have a companion. Ugo is neither brother nor lover, but is somehow closer than either. He keeps her safe and gives her injections so she doesn’t have to prowl the streets. In return he enjoys her voice and the opera. But she must never ask where he gets the liquid he injects into her vein. Ugo, a near-immortal himself, is kidnapped and tortured. But he will never betray those he has sworn to protect. Octavia, worried sick over the loss of Ugo and without a protector, must take matters into her own hands. The race is on to save Ugo and herself from a man whose ambition is leaving a trail of dead bodies in his wake.

Marley’s prose is beautifully woven with the right balance of inner and outer conflict, rich descriptions, suspense and action.

“He grasped one of the branches to pull himself to his feet. When he pushed out of his shelter, a little drift of white flowers showered his bare shoulders.

The rising sun had not yet burned away the morning mist. His feet brushed dew from the patchy grass. He looked about for some sort of habitation. The grove stretched into the fog, the ghostly shapes of the trees fading into the gray. Birds he couldn’t see twittered among the trees.

His head ached ferociously, and the sour aftertaste of wine, bitter with opium, clung to his tongue. Not knowing what else to do, Ughetto turned toward the morning sun and crept forward.”

Marley creates strong female characters without sacrificing their femininity. Her characters reach, grow and break through barriers created by others or themselves.

The many flashbacks of both Ugo and Octavia were most welcome, adding texture to the story and depth to the characters. Marley’s dedication to research of the time periods and places is obvious, but never distracting nor gratuitous.

AMAZON READER RATING: stars-4-5from 18 readers
PUBLISHER: Kensington (July 1, 2010)
REVIEWER: Ann Wilkes
EXTRAS: Reading Guide and Excerpt

Ann’s interview with Louise Marley

MORE ON MOSTLYFICTION: More vampire novels:

Cerulean Sins by Laurell K. Hamilton

From Dead to Worse by Charlaine Harris

Soulless by Gail Carringer


Writing as Toby Bishop, the Horsemistress Saga:

October 31, 2010 · Judi Clark · No Comments
Tags: ,  · Posted in: 2010 Favorites, Speculative (Beyond Reality)

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