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Thursday, December 6, 2012

Susan Kay's Phantom

For fans of Pantom of the Opera, there is a novel they should definitely read. Author Susan Kay has written this wonderful book which gives an insight in Erik's- the Phantom - life.

The author says she was a little bit afraid of tampering with a world classic - the novel Phantom of the Opera by Gaston Leroux. But I think she did a wonderful job.

While Leroux's work is vague and often wrong historically, Kay's novel tells us a believable story how Erik became the Phantom.

Phantom is written from different points of view. It starts with Madeleine, who is Erik's mother. Widowed at an early age, she looks forward to the birth of her child, but is frightened to death when she sees her deformed baby. She develops a hate-love relationship with her young son, who only gets some friendship from his dog Sacha and his mother's best friend. Then the novel continues from Erik's POV. After some spiteful villagers murder his dog, he thinks they'll come after his mother as well and so he decides to run away. He hides in the woods, but is taken by prisoner by a band of travellers. They deploy him as an attraction in their fair. At long last, he can get away (after murdering the man who beat him all the time) and travels to Italy.There we get Giovanni's POV. He is a master stone mason and finds a new pupil in Erik. But the drama arises when his young daughter comes back from boarding school and falls in love with Erik. She demands to see his face, but when he finally gives in, she runs off in sheer fright and falls down a roof terrace, breaking her neck. Next we move to Persia, where Nadir is head of the police in his district. He is ordered by the Sjah to bring the famous magician Erik to the royal palace. In Tehran, Erik becomes the architect of many magnifcent buildings, but also of some torture rooms, which have to be made on demand of the Sjah's mother. Then back to Erik's POV. After his time in Persia, he returns to France, just in time to be part of the construction of the new Parisian Opera. Secretly, he makes a home for him there. And when a new soprano joins the cast, he falls in love with Christine.

The final part of the novel is told by Christine and Erik. Although she fears her Angel of Music, Christine falls in love with Erik, although she also feels something for her old friend Raoul. I nearly wept when I read how they finally come together...

The last chapters are told by Raoul - how he knew Christine always preferred Erik and how he is glad with his son Charles. A very musical child, who will be a piano virtuoso before long...

I can certainly recommend this book. The only negative thing is that the Ebook version is riddled by typos - a very messy job of that editor! But they don't refrain you from reading on, of course.

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