Music and Silence takes you, dream-like, through 17th Century Denmark during the time of King Christian IV. I'm not sure how historically accurate this book is yet, I thought I would look it up after reading it.
Tremain chose a rather unusual method of storytelling. It was written in little episodes from the perspectives of multiple characters that all played some small part, that reflected both music and silence - the real, the unreal, the magical the unmagical. I think it will take a little while to really sink in and think about the meaning.
It tells a story of Peter Claire, a beautiful lutanist from England who comes to Denmark to be in the king's renowned orchestra - who play in the cellars of Rosenborg castle where music filters up through pipes into a room. The music can be heard though not seen.
King Christian is a fascinating character, a nice man though rather obsessed by perfection and ideals - rather then what can actually happen in reality. His wife, Kirsten is vain, materialistic and adulterous. His life and health are in a turmoil and when Peter Claire arrives he makes him his 'angel'.
Peter Claire is a peculiar man whom I do not feel you really get to know at all throughout. You seem to find out more about his sister and the other characters then you do him. He falls in love with the maid of Kirsten Munk and finds himself in the middle of a battle between the King and his wife.
These different perspectives and different people you read about are like bubbles in time. You float through the narrative within these little bubbles, you float through the lives of these people and you occasionally pass them by only to float past them again.
Tremain's style is lyrical, ethereal and delicate - gently guiding you through, tempting you onwards to read more. I found it a light read, one that I could pick up and put down again and relax to. I did not feel the need tor race through it but just to float along and enjoy it.
It is not a historical saga which tells the life of King Christian IV from start to finish, it is only a short period in his life. I do not usually read novels about real people so this was an exception. I enjoyed it and would very much like to read Restoration by Tremain now.