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 each day the Loudest and Most Beautiful Bells in the land. His life is simple but he is content, until the day his father recognizes Moses's 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 great 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 eighteenth-century Switzerland and his life as a novice monk, and tells of the two noble friends — and a forbidden lover — whom he cherished during his chaotic years in Mozart's Vienna as apprentice to the great Gaetano Guadagni, and even as he ascended Europe's most celebrated stages as Lo Svizzero. But in this letter he will also reveal the astonishing secrets of his past and answer the question that has shadowed his fame: how did Moses Froben, world-renowned musico, come to raise a son who by all rights he could never have sired?
From the Hardcover edition.