Title: The Phantom’s Apprentice
Author: Heather Webb
Pages: 350 Pages
Publisher: Sonnet Press
Christine Daaé sings with her violinist father in salons all over Paris, but she longs to practice her favourite pastime—illusions. When her beloved Papa dies during a conjurer’s show, she abandons her magic and surrenders to grief and guilt. Life as a female illusionist seems too dangerous, and she must honour her father’s memory.
Concerned for her welfare, family friend Professor Delacroix secures an audition for her at the Opéra de Paris—the most illustrious stage in Europe. Yet Christine soon discovers the darker side of Paris opera. Rumours of murder float through the halls, and she is quickly trapped between a scheming diva and a mysterious phantom. The Angel of Music.
But is the Angel truly a spirit, or a man obsessed, stalking Christine for mysterious reasons tangled in her past?
As Christine’s fears mount, she returns to her magical arts with the encouragement of her childhood friend, Raoul. Newfound hope and romance abounds…until one fateful night at the masquerade ball. Those she cares for—Delacroix, the Angel, and even Raoul—aren’t as they seem. Now she must decide whom she trusts and which is her rightful path: singer or illusionist.
To succeed, she will risk her life in the grandest illusion of all.
I love the musical version The Phantom of the Opera. It is dramatic, intense and chock full of great songs but I have yet to read the book that it was based on by Gaston Leroux. Heather Webb has cleverly woven new life into the story by adding her own fresh twist.
In Webb’s version, Christine is a practiced illusionist and longs to perform magic rather than music but she gets embroiled in the melodramatic opera performances at the Paris Opera House. She becomes embroiled in murderous schemes and subterfuge without even realising it. As a reader you care constantly questioning who is the good guy and who am I supposed to champion. Even if you know the story to The Phantom of the Opera, Webb has made the mystery so compelling you begin to question everything.
Although it is only 350 pages long, you do feel like the story takes time to unravel. It is fast paced but it also gives you time to appreciate the mystery involved.
The Phantom’s Apprentice is a really unusual take on The Phantom of the Opera and it deals with much more complex issues than you would naturally assume – feminism, for example. All the while, maintaining the feel of a jolly good mystery.
The Phantom’s Apprentice by Heather Webb is available now.
For more information regarding Heather Webb (@msheatherwebb) please visit www.heatherwebb.net.