Nelleke Reitsma is one of the world’s top lutenists and guitar players. She is very good because she has had 350 years to practice.
Sinfonia: First Notes on the Lute records her life, beginning with her entrance into the world of the undying through friendship with Izaak, a mysterious young man who only comes out at night; and, eventually, her crossing over into that world. Leaving her native Netherlands for England, she finds herself embroiled in a fight to save the vampire community of London from destruction. She encounters Shakespeare and Queen Elizabeth, and, using her connections to government and the theater, uncovers the last followers of an ancient religion that possesses power capable of destroying Nelleke and the coven of vampires to which she belongs. It is up to her to stop them.-Goodreads
Sinfonia: First Notes on the Lute Review
While I can’t really call it action-packed or thrilling, Sinfonia: First Notes on the Lute did do something few fantasy books manage to do. It kept my attention. At under two hundred pages long, the author successfully managed to avoid the word bloat so many fantasy authors fall prey to. It’s a smoothly flowing read that you can’t help but relax into.
The vampire mythos in Sinfonia has some elements readers may be unfamiliar with. I found myself enjoying it a bit more so than I might have normally because of that uniqueness. The years move swiftly in this vampire chronicle. The historical portion that makes this a historical fantasy seems well done. I enjoyed Shakespeare’s presence, and the ‘witch-hunting’ for those who didn’t follow the correct religion.
I had issues with the language, though. For all that the description of the clothing, the historical accounts, etc, the language didn’t fit. At least one of the phrases doesn’t seem to have been in use any earlier than the 1950s. It could be argued that as a documentary, the writer may just be using modern language as a matter of course. However, it’s jarring and served to yank me out of the story on more than one occasion. Also, there’s absolutely no tension to this book, or mystery. The small amount the author could have injected in the story disappears almost before it can get started when the characters involved in a particular scene spell everything out. That was truly disappointing.
Overall, Sinfonia: First Notes on the Lute isn’t bad, and I’m sure it’ll please many readers. It’s the perfect length for a 3-4 hour car ride (for slow readers). Also, it doesn’t demand every scrap of the reader’s attention. If you’d like to give it a try, Sinfonia is available here on Amazon.