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Those of you who know me fairly well will be aware that the love of my life is the Phantom of the Opera. I first saw the stage show in London with the great Michael Crawford when I was 11 and from then I adored it. The original story was written by Gaston Leroux, a French author of mystery, suspense and horror in 1910 (and 1911 for the English translation).

I’m sure many of you know the story – or think you do but I’ll summarise it here:

The Paris Opera House has been ‘haunted’ by the mysterious Opera Ghost, whose antics include fleecing the managers out of a good deal of money, causing mayhem among the young and niave corps de ballet and a number of other rather mischievous and wicked events. Many tales abound of this strange figure but no one has really seen the man he truly is.

Christine Daae – the young and rather innocent daughter of a Swedish musician joins and the Phantom becomes her ‘maestro’, her ‘good genius’. Giving her singing lessons, filling her niave head with tales of angels, and fantasy he weaves a spell for them both that can only end in tragedy. And it does.

Erik, for that’s the name he uses, although we never learn his real name, is disfigured form birth. Leroux’s book describes him as a human skeleton – with pale, yellowish flesh, sunken glowing eyes and just a hole where his nose should be. Hence he wears a mask, hides himself away and is rarely seen by anyone except as the ghost. Erik is a tragic soul – he is a man, with a man’s desires, emotions and needs but because of his appearance cannot find love, or even affection. He claims not even his mother loved him. So when he falls hard for the young singer he tries to win her love with his voice. For he has ‘the voice of an angel.’ To complicate matters Christine is wooed by the young, handsome and equally niave Raoul, Vicomte de Chagny who ends up fighting the phantom for her hand. Someone is going to lose. And I confess I cried the first time I read the book, pretty much every time since then and at every show I saw – considering I worked for a month or more on the National Tour I still blubbed at the end. This story is passionate, tragic, filled with suspense and is, ultimately, a love story – and whether it has a happy ending depends on your point of view.

So what’s my point here? Echoes of a Song is a short tale from Raoul’s point of view set twelve or so years after the events at the opera house. Keep in mind his brother died there, he was imprisoned there, he was forced to try and rescue his fiancee there and almost die and so it’s not somewhere filled with happy memories. Raoul has issues. I guess now we’d call it PTSD or something similar. Anyway he’s not a happy bunny but he’s doing the best he can for his young family, despite what appears to be a curse on his family. In Raoul’s troubled imagination the ghosts of the past are everywhere, and a strange and powerful music still calls in his dreams.

Madness, obsession and the legacy of the past weave their spell in this short, tragic tale based on the Phantom of the Opera.

I haven’t seen a great deal of stories from Raoul’s point of view (I’ve read a few… not that it’s an obsession or anything) and so this is his story.  It’s dark, and leaves much unanswered, but that’s part of the point. Was Erik more than a man? Was Raoul and Christine’s life going to be simple? What aftermath was there?

This is a tale of love, of hatred and mystery – much like the original.

Available on Amazon for just 99c (99p) this a great coffee break read for phantom fans, and those who like old style horror.

Please note the Phantom of the Opera is a public domain work.

mask in hand.halloween concept

Synopsis

Echoes of a Song – Legacy of the Mask Tales

A dozen tumultuous years after the dramatic events at the Paris Opera House Raoul, Comte de Chagny is still haunted by the mysterious Opera Ghost – the creature of legend who held staff at the Opera House under his thrall, kidnapped Raoul’s lover and murdered his brother. In Raoul’s troubled imagination the ghosts of the past are everywhere, and a strange and powerful music still calls in his dreams.

Madness, obsession and the legacy of the past weave their spell in this short, tragic tale based on the Phantom of the Opera.

https://www.amazon.com/dp/B01M1P25XF

https://www.amazon.co.uk/dp/B01M1P25XF

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