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Song of the Nightingale: a tale of two castrati

Marilyn Pemberton

Category: Drama

Would you sell your son so he can forever sing God’s praises? If it means he will lead a better life than you can offer him? If it means a bag of gold for you? If it means the boy is castrated and will never lead a ‘normal’ life? Winner of the 2020 International Rubery Book Award Fiction Category.

Italy 1756. Philippe, the narrator of this tale, is secretary to Count De Lorenzo, and lover to the Count’s young wife. He is tasked with buying young boys from poor villagers, having them castrated and taking them to Florence to be taught to sing as castrati. The parents are told that their sons are especially blessed with their wonderful voices and they do not object to the boys making a physical sacrifice in order to thank and praise the Lord; nor to the bag of gold they are given in exchange.

The boys are innocents, victims of circumstances beyond their control. Surely they can have nothing to do with a barber’s mysterious death, or the suicide of an abusive Jesuit priest?

This is a tale of passion, revenge, guilt, regret, loss and redemption.

Winner of the 2020 Fiction Category of the International Rubery Book Award.

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