The True Adventures of Nicolo Zen (Hardcover)
This richly-detailed historical novel from master storyteller Nicholas Christopher features an unforgettable hero: Nicolo Zen is all alone in 1700s Venice, save for his clarinet, which a mysterious magician had magicked, allowing its first player to perform expertly. Soon Nicolo is a famous virtuoso, wealthy beyond his dreams. But he can't stop wondering if he earned the success or if it's due to the magician's spell. So he has the spell removed to test his own talents and capabilities. And throughout it all, he continues to think about the girl he met in Venice, what she might be doing and if she's safe from harm.
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 teens will instantly recognize. The love story 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 . . . ).
KIRKUS REVIEWS, November 1, 2013:
"Accomplished poet and novelist Christopher delivers a debut for teens thickly woven with 18th-century Venetian intrigue and metaphysical magic . . .engrossed readers should gladly ride the plot’s twists and turns."
BOOKLIST, January 1, 2014:
"Magical realism, accurate historical details regarding eighteenth century Europe and Vivaldi’s orphan orchestra, and richly detailed musical ephemera combine in a sprawling, poetic, sophisticated, and atmospheric novel."
SCHOOL LIBRARY JOURNAL, December 1, 2013:
"[A] lush tale of music, magic, and intrigue . . .a good choice for those looking for a lush, challenging read."