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The Kingdom of Back
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The Kingdom of Back
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From #1 New York Times bestselling author Marie Lu comes a historical YA fantasy about a musical prodigy and the dangerous lengths she'll go to make history remember her—perfect for fans of Susanna...
From #1 New York Times bestselling author Marie Lu comes a historical YA fantasy about a musical prodigy and the dangerous lengths she'll go to make history remember her—perfect for fans of Susanna...
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Description-

  • From #1 New York Times bestselling author Marie Lu comes a historical YA fantasy about a musical prodigy and the dangerous lengths she'll go to make history remember her—perfect for fans of Susanna Clarke and The Hazel Wood.
    Two siblings. Two brilliant talents. But only one Mozart.
    Born with a gift for music, Nannerl Mozart has just one wish—to be remembered forever. But even as she delights audiences with her masterful playing, she has little hope she'll ever become the acclaimed composer she longs to be. She is a young woman in 18th century Europe, and that means composing is forbidden to her. She will perform only until she reaches a marriageable age—her tyrannical father has made that much clear.
    And as Nannerl's hope grows dimmer with each passing year, the talents of her beloved younger brother, Wolfgang, only seem to shine brighter. His brilliance begins to eclipse her own, until one day a mysterious stranger from a magical land appears with an irresistible offer. He has the power to make her wish come true—but his help may cost her everything.
    In her first work of historical fiction, #1 New York Times bestselling author Marie Lu spins a lush, lyrically-told story of music, magic, and the unbreakable bond between a brother and sister.

Excerpts-

  • From the cover SALZBURG, AUSTRIA
    1759
     
    MOZART BY THE OCEAN
     
    Sometimes, a day comes along that seems possessed by a certain shade of magic. You know those moments. There is a peculiar pattern to the silhouettes of leaves quivering against the sunbeam on the floor. The dust in the air glows white, charmed. Your voice is a note suspended in the breeze. The sounds outside your window seem very far away, songs of another world, and you imagine that this is the moment just before something unusual happens. Perhaps it is happening right now.
     
    My day of magic arrived on a bright autumn morning, when the poplar trees swayed against a golden city. I had recently turned eight years old. My brother, Wolfgang, was not yet four.
     
    I was still playing through my exercises when Papa came through the door with Herr Schachtner at his side, the two of them discussing some matter or other about the archbishop, their hair blown wispy from the bustle of the Getreidegasse, the city’s main thoroughfare, on which our home stood.
     
    I paused in the middle of my arpeggios and folded my hands in my lap. Even now, I can remember the uneven stitching of my blue petticoat, my white hands against black clavier keys, the skeleton leaves clinging to Herr Schachtner’s shoulders. His voice had been steeped in something rich and baritone. The scent of the street— wind and smoke and baked bread—lingered like a perfume on his coat.
     
    My lips were rosy and dry. My hair stayed neatly curled behind my neck in loose dark waves, held back with pins. I was still too young to fuss over my appearance, so my mother had left me in a simple state.
     
    “Herr Schachtner!” My mother’s voice sweetened with surprise at the sound of men in the room. She said this as if we were not expecting him at all, the esteemed court trumpeter of Salzburg, as if we had not planned everything in advance for his visit. “Such talk of the archbishop and the orchestra, it’s no wonder you and my husband are always tired. Sebastian,” she added, nodding at our manservant. “The Herr’s coat and hat.”
     
    Sebastian hung up the court trumpeter’s belongings. They were finely made, velvet encrusted with gold lining, his hat made of beaver pelt and trimmed with lace. Beside them, my father’s coat appeared worn, the threads thin at the elbows. My eyes wandered to the hem of my mother’s dress—it was fraying, the color dull. We were the look of a family forever on the edge of respectable.
     
    My father was too busy with our guest to pay me any mind, but Mama noticed the stiffness in my posture and the paleness of my cheeks. She gave me an encouraging glance as she passed me.
     
    Steady, little one, she had said to me earlier in the morning. You have practiced hard for this. Do not be nervous.
     
    I kept her words in mind and tried to loosen my shoulders. But Papa had timed their arrival a bit too early this morning. I had only played my scales so far. My fingers had not yet shaken the cold from their tips, and when I pressed down on the keys, they still felt as if they were somewhere far away.
     
    My brother stayed mercifully out of sight today, hiding somewhere in our parents’ bedroom, no doubt up to some mischief. I hoped he would remain quiet until Herr Schachtner left, or at least until I finished playing.
     
    The Herr gave Mama a warm smile that crinkled the edges of his mouth and molded his face into a pleasant sight. “Ah, Frau Mozart,” he replied, winking at her as he...

About the Author-

  • Marie Lu is the #1 New York Times bestselling author of The Young Elites, Legend, and Warcross series. She graduated from the University of Southern California and jumped into the video game industry as an artist. Now a full-time writer, she spends her spare time reading, drawing, playing games, and getting stuck in traffic. She lives in Los Angeles with her illustrator-author husband, Primo Gallanosa, and their family.

Reviews-

  • Publisher's Weekly

    January 27, 2020
    Lu (Rebel) deftly layers fantastical elements and historical fiction to craft an expansive tale of rivalry based on two Mozart siblings, both talented pianists and composers. In 1759 Salzburg, eight-year-old Marianne “Nannerl” Mozart is poised to play in front of royalty, but the audience she must first impress is distracted when her younger brother, the nearly four-year-old Wolfgang “Woferl,” enters the room, leading to a small error in her playing. Blaming Woferl for the mistake and fearful of his burgeoning talent, Nannerl makes a wish that is heard by a magical entity, Hyacinth; he promises to help Nannerl achieve immortality through her music if she helps him regain his crown in the Kingdom of Back. Initially the siblings are intrigued, enjoying adventures in the
    fantastical kingdom, where they explore magical grottos and outsmart a witch, but when things take a darker turn, Nannerl begins to understand that she has entered a Faustian pact. Carefully constructing a magical kingdom while crafting the historical cities of Europe where the Mozarts played as children, Lu shows her knack for creating detailed worlds while seamlessly building a complicated sibling relationship with a balance of rivalry and love. Ages 12–up. Agent: Kristin Nelson, Kristin Nelson Literary Agency.

  • AudioFile Magazine Narrator Lauren Ezzo will surprise and delight listeners with her dynamic portrayal of Mozart's sister, Nannerl, as she discovers how far she will go to challenge eighteenth-century stereotypes of womanhood, break down gender barriers, and make unimaginable decisions that will change her future. Ezzo's lyrical voice is the perfect pairing for this beautiful story of music, magic, and the connection between siblings. In this truly enchanting work, listeners are simply haunted by Nannerl's pursuit of music, a future seemingly out of reach, and the lengths to which she must contemplate journeying to make her dreams a reality. Prepare to be whisked away to a world unlike any other, rich with imaginative characters, especially the rarely acknowledged Nanneri. J.O. � AudioFile 2020, Portland, Maine

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