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The Fifth String   By: (1854-1932)

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The Fifth String by John Philip Sousa is an intriguing and captivating novel that combines elements of mystery, romance, and music to create a unique reading experience. Set in the late 19th century, the story follows the life of Reginald Ronkonkoma, a renowned violinist who becomes obsessed with a unique five-stringed violin.

Sousa's writing style effortlessly transports readers to the vibrant world of the late 1800s, where classical music and fame hold great significance. The author's meticulous research is apparent, as he expertly incorporates historical details and events into the narrative, adding depth and authenticity to the story. From majestic concert halls to intimate music salons, the atmospheric descriptions vividly bring to life the settings and contribute to the overall charm of the novel.

The protagonist, Reginald Ronkonkoma, is a complex and intriguing character. As the story progresses, his obsession with the five-stringed violin intensifies, leading him on a quest to uncover its past and secrets. Through Ronkonkoma's journey, Sousa skillfully explores themes of passion, ambition, and the sacrifices one is willing to make in the pursuit of greatness. This introspective exploration of the protagonist's psyche adds layers of depth to the narrative, distinguishing The Fifth String from a typical mystery novel.

Moreover, Sousa deftly weaves in a romantic subplot, introducing the character of Margot, a talented pianist with whom Ronkonkoma forms a meaningful connection. Their relationship is filled with both joy and heartache, further adding emotional complexity to the story. The delicate balance between the protagonist's obsession and his desire for love and companionship adds an engrossing layer of tension throughout the novel.

One of the most alluring aspects of The Fifth String is Sousa's vivid and evocative portrayal of music. Through his intricate descriptions of performances and compositions, the author successfully conveys the beauty, emotion, and power of classical music. Whether it is the soaring symphonies or the delicate melodies, the reader can almost hear the music as they turn the pages, creating an immersive reading experience.

While The Fifth String is undeniably captivating, the pacing at times feels slightly uneven. The exposition is both detailed and necessary, but there are moments when the plot slows down, as if to accommodate the abundance of information. However, this minor flaw does not detract from the overall enjoyment of the novel.

In summary, The Fifth String by John Philip Sousa is a remarkable novel that seamlessly combines mystery, romance, and music. With its well-drawn characters, engrossing plot, and beautiful descriptive language, this book is a must-read for those who appreciate historical fiction and have a fondness for classical music. Sousa's unique blend of genres makes The Fifth String an unforgettable literary experience that lingers with the reader long after the final page is turned.

First Page:




The Illustrations by Howard Chandler Christy

Indianapolis The Bowen Merrill Company Publishers

Copyright 1902 The Bowen Merrill Company

Press of Braunworth & Co. Bookbinders and Printers Brooklyn, N. Y.

The Fifth String


The coming of Diotti to America had awakened more than usual interest in the man and his work. His marvelous success as violinist in the leading capitals of Europe, together with many brilliant contributions to the literature of his instrument, had long been favorably commented on by the critics of the old world. Many stories of his struggles and his triumphs had found their way across the ocean and had been read and re read with interest.

Therefore, when Mr. Henry Perkins, the well known impresario, announced with an air of conscious pride and pardonable enthusiasm that he had secured Diotti for a "limited" number of concerts, Perkins' friends assured that wide awake gentleman that his foresight amounted to positive genius, and they predicted an unparalleled success for his star. On account of his wonderful ability as player, Diotti was a favorite at half the courts of Europe, and the astute Perkins enlarged upon this fact without regard for the feelings of the courts or the violinist... Continue reading book >>

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