Amadeus! What Makes a Human Human?
by Josephine deBois
PageTurner Press and Media

"Five huge birds gather around Duilio. He tries to hit them. One of the birds rapidly bites a big chunk of meat from Duilio’s cheek."

Ludwig Mann has made a name for himself and a lot of money as a conductor. Much of his success is credited to his aggressive manager and girlfriend, Josephine. Ludwig is considering getting out of music professionally, but Josephine convinces him to do one last hurrah with large concerts and recordings. She tells Ludwig she can get them enough money to comfortably live the rest of their lives together. Ludwig agrees, and before one of the bigger performances, he and Josephine marry. Included in this set of performances are some piano recitals. Josephine suggests she can find someone, but Ludwig tells her he will take care of it.

Ludwig is thinking of Tiffany. She is a Korean pianist whom he has known for a long time. They love each other, but she is in an arranged marriage, and Ludwig has just married. However, the two won’t let those things keep them apart. Meanwhile, several men meet in secret with a high church official. They have been a secret part of Ludwig’s life since before he was born, and Josephine works for them. They are upset with her about the marriage and believe something should be done about it. In addition, Duilio Paioni, a brilliant scientist, has announced he will soon give a speech, with evidence included, titled “The Total Synthesis of a Human Being.” All these interrelated occurrences are about to intersect.

The author's novel is an interesting mix of mystery, musical prodigy, secret societies, violence, and sex. On top of that, it is written in a screenplay format. It is not certain if the intent is to be readily available to be produced for the screen or if there was some other artistic choice for the format. In either case, the reader will quickly get past the unusual appearance and be sucked into the narrative. Stylistically and thematically, the reader will be reminded of a different series. Readers who enjoyed Dan Brown’s Robert Langdon series, featuring the book The Da Vinci Code, will find familiar territory with the secret society and influence of religious organizations. In addition, there is some of that thriller/secret affair drama readers expect to encounter in books by authors like Kate White or Liane Moriarty. Characters are using other characters for a variety of reasons, and astute readers will be looking to see what the fallout will be.

One thing that is evident from the beginning of the book is that the author is enjoying telling her tale. This comes across in the care and intensity put into the story and the weaving of a scientific and moral mystery. Although there is an occasional grammatical error, nothing here will distract a reader from the experience. The one area where some may wish for more is in the magnitude and unveiling of the book’s central secret, as it feels that there was more to be said about it, and the implications could have been more impactful. However, readers craving that mystery book with big secrets and personal drama will find plenty on offer from the novel. Those who enjoyed this book will be excited to see what else this author has to offer.

Next Focus Review
Previous Focus Review

Return to USR Home