by Nicholas Christopher


Nicolo is a fourteen year old orphan with little more to his name than a clarinet his father gave him--an enchanted clarinet. That clarinet, and the dedication he puts into learning from it, will take him from the alleys of Venice to an all-girl's orchestra led by Antonio Vivaldi himself, and to the grand concert halls and palaces of eighteenth century Europe. Through all his travels, Nicolo has questions about the famous magician who enchanted his instrument, as well as questions about whether he'll still be able to play it if the magician takes the spell off.

Nicholas Christopher has created a lusciously detailed story of a different time and place. However, the narrative feels unbalanced and sometimes rushed, while the ending is just short of ridiculous. If you read The True Adventures of Nicolo Zen, read it for the atmosphere and not the plot.

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