The Luthier’s Apprentice by Mayra Calvani
Genre: YA Fantasy/Paranormal
Published: May 15th, 2014 (Twilight Times Books)
Cover Artist: Renu Sharma
Niccolò Paganini (1782-1840), one of the greatest violinists who ever lived and rumored to have made a pact with the devil, has somehow transferred unique powers to another…
When violinists around the world mysteriously vanish, 16-year-old Emma Braun takes notice. But when her beloved violin teacher disappears… Emma takes charge. With Sherlock Holmes fanatic, not to mention gorgeous Corey Fletcher, Emma discovers a parallel world ruled by an ex-violinist turned evil sorceress who wants to rule the music world on her own terms.
But why are only men violinists captured and not women? What is the connection between Emma's family, the sorceress, and the infamous Niccolò Paganini?
Emma must unravel the mystery in order to save her teacher from the fatal destiny that awaits him. And undo the curse that torments her family—before evil wins and she becomes the next luthier's apprentice…
Sixteen-year old Emma Braun got off the school bus and strode down Stockel Square toward her home. She glanced up at the October sky and wrapped her wool scarf tighter around her neck. Heavy dark clouds threatened a downpour.
As she passed a newspaper stand, the headlines on The Brussels Gazette caught her attention:
ANOTHER VIOLINIST VANISHES!
Emma stopped. For a moment she could only stare. She dug into her jacket pocket for coins and bought a copy.
The newspaper article left her stunned. Not only because three well-known violinists had gone missing in the last several months, but because the latest one was her teacher, Monsieur Dupriez.
The news story seemed so hard to believe, she stopped at the next street corner to read it one more time.
It was the last week of October, and the shops and homes were lightly adorned with Halloween decorations. Pumpkins and Jack-o-lanterns sat on doorsteps. Witches, broomsticks, and black cats hunkered down in windows and shops. Just last evening, Emma had sauntered along this street with her best friend Annika, unconcerned and looking forward to Halloween. Now, everything had turned dark and ominous.
The strange incidents she had experienced for the past two weeks added to her stress.
At first she had thought they were a string of coincidences, but not anymore. While scowling at obnoxious Billie Lynam during school recess, for instance, she wished he would fall flat on his face… and half a minute later, her wish was granted. On various occasions she guessed people’s thoughts before they spoke. And yesterday, on her way home from school, she accurately guessed the meal her mom had left on the table for her.
Was she some kind of a psychic? If so, why now? People didn’t develop powers like these overnight. Did they?
She hadn’t told her mom about her new abilities yet; only Annika knew. Maybe she would tell her mom today, after she shared the news about Monsieur Dupriez.
As Emma approached her home, she quickened her step. By the time she reached the door she was almost running. She raced into the hallway and dropped her book bag on the floor.
“Mom!” she called, looking in the kitchen, then in the living room. The house was silent. “Mom!” she called again, racing up the stairs to the bedrooms. Entering her mother’s room, Emma found her sitting very still on the bed with a crumpled letter in her hand.
When her mom saw her, she hastily put the crumpled piece of paper into her pocket and rose from the bed. Her arched brows were furrowed with anxiety.
Emma momentarily forgot the newspaper article. “Are you okay, Mom?”
“I’ve just received some unsettling news,” her mom said. “I must make a trip to see your Aunt Lili. She’s ill. She…I don’t know how long I’ll be gone.”
Aunt Lili? Emma frowned. More surprises. Emma had never met her mom’s eccentric only sister, who lived alone in the Hungarian mountains secluded in an old chateau surrounded by dark woods—or so her mom said. Though again, her mom hardly ever mentioned her.
“What’s wrong with Aunt Lili?” Emma asked. “Can’t I come with you?” She had always been intrigued by her mysterious aunt.
“No. You’ll stay with Grandpa. You enjoy working with him, don’t you?” Her brown eyes met Emma’s before turning away, and though her voice sounded matter-of-fact, Emma detected a trace of ambivalence.
Emma sighed. She loved violin making with a passion, but Grandpa was a bitter taskmaster. No matter how much she tried to please him, she never could. Maybe that’s why her mom often seemed so reluctant about her apprenticeship.
“I’d rather go with you,” Emma said. “Plus, next week is holiday.” All Saints holiday week—or Toussaint, as they called it here—almost always coincided with Halloween.
“That’s out of the question. I don’t know how long I’ll be gone. Besides, you can’t miss your violin lessons, not with the Christmas competition at the academy coming up soon.”
“I’m not so sure about that,” Emma said gravely, extending the newspaper.
Her mom took it. “What’s this?”
“This is why I came running up the stairs.”
Her mom read the headlines. She gasped and looked at Emma. When she finished reading, she sat on the edge of the mattress and stared into space. “Oh, my God...” she whispered.
I give it 3 hearts
About the Author
Award-winning author Mayra Calvani has penned over ten books for children and adults in genres ranging from picture books to nonfiction to paranormal fantasy novels. She’s had over 300 articles, short stories, interviews and reviews published in magazines such as The Writer, Writer’s Journal and Bloomsbury Review, among others. A native of San Juan, Puerto Rico, she now resides in Brussels, Belgium.
You can find Mayra Calvini here:
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