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The Bells  By  cover art

The Bells

By: Richard Harvell
Narrated by: Richard Powers
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Publisher's Summary

Dazzling, enchanting, and epic, The Bells is the confession of a thief, kidnapper, and unlikely lover - a boy with the voice of an angel whose exquisite sense of hearing becomes both his life's tragic curse and its greatest blessing.

Moses Froben was born in a belfry high in the Swiss Alps, the bastard son of a deaf-mute woman, banished to the church tower to ring the loudest and most beautiful bells ever each day. His life is simple but content, until the day his father recognizes Moses' singular sense of hearing and its power to expose his sins. Cast into the world with only his ears to protect and guide him, Moses finds refuge in the choir of the historic Abbey of St. Gall and becomes its star singer, only to endure the horrifying act of castration, meant to preserve his angelic voice and turn him into a musico.

In a letter to his son, Moses recounts his humble birth in 18th-century Switzerland and his life as a novice monk, and he tells of the two noble friends - and a forbidden lover - whom he cherished during the chaotic years he spent in Mozart's Vienna as apprentice to the great Gaetano Guadagni. But in this letter, he also reveals the astonishing secrets of his past and answers the question that has shadowed his fame: How did Moses Froben, world-renowned musico, come to raise a son he could never have sired?

Recounting his birth in the 1700s in a belfry high in the Alps, to his appearance on Europe’s greatest stages, this epic novel is the story of the greatest ears on earth - from a deaf mother's cries, to the beating of a forbidden lover's heart, to the arias of Vienna's greatest opera house, and the deadly booming of the world's loudest, most glorious bells. 

©2010 Richard Harvell (P)2010 Blackstone Audio, Inc.

Critic Reviews

“Astonishing in its originality, epic in its scope, luminous in its richness, The Bells is a novel to be savoured page by glorious page.” (Cathy Marie Buchanan, New York Times best-selling author)

What listeners say about The Bells

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Excellent!!! Highly recommend!

Love!!! In my top 5! It has so much depth. Really enjoyed this story. The reading made it that much more enjoyable.

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Wish I could give 4.5 stars!

Rich story, beautifully written. I find it hard to believe this was a first novel for this author. He is an inspired writer, for certain.
Wonderful pairing with the narrator who did an exceptional job giving distinct personality to each character.

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More soap than accuracy

I heard the author interviewed on NPR and looked forward to a novel based on historical research which might illumine what the world of the castrati was like. Instead, this book is of the romantic genre and is often painfully anachronistic. There are few interesting sections dealing with the cross-cultural custom of male castration, but overall it's a bodice ripper with a eunuch doing the ripping.