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Niccolò Paganini was perhaps the most influential violinist of all time. A great celebrity, he earned a fortune but also became the subject of a dark rumor: that to play as he did and compose the music he had written, he must have sold his soul to the Devil. How else could anyone explain the feats of virtuosity and unprecedented challenges of music that Europe had never before heard?

The price Paganini paid was undeniably high. Throughout his life, he suffered from poor health. He was addicted to vice, his self-destructiveness knew no bounds, and his gambling losses were legendary. Ravenous for sexual conquests (of which he had many), he was nevertheless unable to know a woman's love. 

Many devoutly believed the Devil would ultimately collect a final payment. However, a spark of light shone through the shattered soul: the love he felt for his son. Was this enough to save him?

About the Author

Ann Abelson (1916-91) was the author of Angel's Metal (Harcourt, 1947), The Little Conquerors (Random House, 1960), a pair of vocational guidance books, and the highly acclaimed young adult novel, Blimp (Dutton, 1983). She also left behind a pair of unfinished manuscripts: this novel (which garnered an NEA grant for a "work in progress") and A Slow Train to Budapest, from which two excerpts were edited and published by her son, Lenny Cavallaro.

Revised and edited by Lenny Cavallaro

With an afterword by Stephanie Chase

Lenny’s website