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Publisher's Summary

The Whitbread Award-winning author of A Good Man in Africa and the Costa Award-winning Restless now gives us a sweeping new novel that unfolds across fin-de-siècle Europe as it tells a story of ineffable passions - familial, artistic, romantic - and their power to shape, and destroy, a life.

Brodie Moncur is a brilliant piano tuner, as brilliant in his own way as John Kilbarron - "The Irish Liszt" - the pianist Brodie accompanies on all of his tours from Paris to Saint Petersburg, as essential to Kilbarron as the pianist's own hands. It is a luxurious life and a level of success Brodie could hardly have dreamed of growing up in a remote Scottish village, in a household ruled by a tyrannical father. 

But Brodie would gladly give it all up for the love of the Russian soprano Lika Blum: beautiful, worldly, seductive - and consort to Kilbarron. And though seemingly doomed from the start, Brodie's passion for her only grows as their lives become increasingly more intertwined, more secretive, and, finally, more dangerous - what Brodie doesn't know about Lika, and about her connection to Kilbarron and his sinister brother, Malachi, eventually testing not only his love for her but his ability, and will, to survive.

©2018 William Boyd (P)2018 Random House Audio

What members say

Average Customer Ratings

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  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars
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    5 out of 5 stars

Captures the protagonist's struggles

I wanted to know what would happen next. The title is appropriate. The author clues the reader to the true state of affairs that the protagonist never sees. He captures the mental state of the characters and how they're driven. And then there's the ending that leaves the reader thinking, and wanting to write a good review without giving away the story. I'm not a writer, but this is my attempt at a good review.

I like this author. His writing style and characters keep the story interesting. I listened to "Restless" by the same author several months ago and still have a haunting feeling when I think of it. I'd been hoping for another book that would keep my interest and this novel did the trick. It's the endings... If you've "read" Restless, you'll understand.

I would purchase another book by William Boyd.

The narrator was very good. He did well handling the accents and the various states of the characters, particularly the Irish and Scottish accents. I would listen to more by this narrator.

1 of 1 people found this review helpful

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More of the same...

Funny and well-written, as is usual for Boyd. Story is however fatigued, for Boyd has traveled this road before (and with more grace in _Any Human Heart_). Pity.

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Great story of a life at the turn of the century

One of the best books I’ve listened to for a while. Each chapter makes you want to get onto the next to know what is going to happen. A love story set over a decade around the 1900s. Wonderful sense of place in Edinburgh, Paris and St Petersburg. And some neat allusions to old Russian novelists. #Provocative #LifeStory #Redemption #Europe #TurnOfTheCentury #tagsgiving #sweepstakes

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  • Kelly
  • Colorado Springs
  • 11-01-18

mood is set perfectly for this historical romance

I completely lost myself if this character-driven story of a piano tuner and the woman he loves. The story had a mysterious quality which came from the time period and the fact that most often the events were occurring in empty theaters, hotel rooms and quiet bars. I am new to William Boyd and although this book didn't challenge me or surprise me, because I pretty much guessed all the twists before they happened, it still entertained me and kept me reading straight through from beginning to end in one day. It isn't a book that will make me run right out to buy his other books, but it is one that will keep his name in my mind whenever I am looking over shelves in stores and online.