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With a guest appearance by composer Vivaldi, and brimming with fascinating period details, this is a compelling coming-of-age story full of universal themes and a love story that will conjure memories of Romeo and Juliet, perfect for teens who love stories set in other times, but without a paranormal storyline (as long as you don't count a magician who dresses all in white and can be in two places on once . . . ).
- ISBN-13: 9780375867385
- ISBN-10: 0375867384
- Publisher: Alfred A. Knopf Books for Young Readers
- Publish Date: January 2014
- Page Count: 271
- Reading Level: Ages 13-17
The sweet magic of Venetian music
The True Adventures of Nicolo Zen is the survival story of an orphaned boy who learns to rise above tragedy, poverty and urban evils using only his cleverness, his sense of justice and the mysterious powers of his magical clarinet.
In the year 1714, Nicolo’s village is stricken by a vicious outbreak of malaria, and the plague quickly claims his entire family. Alone at 14, Nicolo deserts his disease-ridden home for Venice, taking with him only one item—his enchanted, ivory clarinet. He hopes for nothing more than survival as a beggar, but he quickly learns that he can collect far more coins by playing his clarinet and relying on his cunning. Nicolo is soon dressing up in girls’ clothes, mimicking his deceased sisters’ mannerisms and trying to convince the maestro of the local girls’ orphanage orchestra—Master Antonio Vivaldi, Venice’s greatest musician—of both his musical talent and his feigned gender. He gradually learns to better wield his charmed instrument, which transforms him into a musical prodigy and the subject of much attention, praise and jealousy.
Fate takes Nicolo to the doorstep of Massimo Magnifico, a magician who can explain the supernatural ability of his clarinet. And once they talk, Nicolo’s life is never the same.
Author Nicholas Christopher’s debut YA novel envelopes the reader in a world where anything—be it tragic, beatific or mystic—can happen to anyone.