When I saw that this book was available for advance review, I jumped on it immediately. In theory, this story of a young castrato studying in Florence in the twilight years of the Medici dynasty couldn’t have been further up my street if it had tried. The protagonist is even offered the lead in a Scarlatti setting of Arminio! I looked forward to being immersed in the sensual splendour of Florence circa 1698, rich with art and texture and music, but alas that didn’t happen. In fact, the book turned out to be such a slog that I doubt I’d have finished it if I didn’t have to review it. More unfortunately, I suspect that the real problem here is that of the translator, not the author.