Friday, July 1, 2011
BOOK REVIEW: Mozart's Last Aria
Author: Matt Rees
Publisher: Allen & Unwin
Release Date: June 2011
Baroque Vienna, Mozart's sister, music, masonic secrets and murder.
It is 1791 and Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart is enlightenment Vienna's brightest star. Master of the city's music halls and devoted member of the Austrian Freemason's guild, he stands at the heart of an electric mix of art and music, philosophy and science, politics and intrigue.
Six weeks ago, the great composer told his wife he had been poisoned. Yesterday, he died.
The city is buzzing with rumours of infidelity, bankruptcy and murder. But Wolfgang's sister Nannerl, returned from the provinces to investigate, will not believe base gossip. Who but a madman would posion such a genius?
Yet as she looks closely at what her brother left behind - a handwritten score, a scrap of paper from his journal - Nannerl finds traces of something sinister: the threads of a masonic conspiracy that reach from the gilded ballrooms of Viennese society tot he faceless offices of the Prussian secret service.
Only when watching Wolfgang's bewitching opera, The Magic Flute, does Nannerl truly understand her beloved brother once again. For, encoded in his final arias, is a subtly crafted blueprint for a radical new tomorrow. Mozart hoped to change his future. Instead he sealed his fate.
Matt Rees is the winner of the CWA Debut Dagger and has gained high praise for his previous crime writing
Matt Rees was born in Wales and read English at Oxford before moving to the Middle East to become a journalist. He is also the author of the award-winning Omar Yussef series, which follows a detective in Palestine, and is now published in twenty-two countries.
Mozart’s Last Aria is one of those books that amazes me. I don’t know how you can write a fictional novel based on a real person without being sued for slander or defamation etc etc. I mean the concept of using a real, historical figure and adding elements of fiction to make an interesting story has some merit to it and in some cases, such as this book, it makes a great read. But I just don’t understand how you can get sued for plagiarism by using someone else’s song lyrics or stories, but to take a person’s life and write what every the hell you want about it is okay??? Don't imagine being able to write a novel based on Han Solo or Sherlock Holmes and being able to make millions without it being an issue to anyone else? I'm going to have to do some research into the legalities of writing a fictional novel based on real people for my own curiosity now.
I'm not saying I disagree with the concept of books such as this one, I actually quite enjoyed another book based on fictional versions of real people in Rod Rees' Demi-Monde.
Anyway, this story was extremely well written and up there with many other great whodunit books. The narrative is both beautiful and historically accurate, as are many other elements of this crime novel. It is obvious that Rees did some pretty extensive research in developing the foundation for this book. I found the pages of the book turning themselves with the ripping read and sense of urgency that the author created with the plot.
I really enjoyed this book and found the story to be quite original and interesting.