Summary: Alfredo, a choir boy in 18th-century Italy, loses his family in a fire, and his mysterious Uncle Giorgio spirits him away to their ancestral home below a volcano. There he learns that Uncle Giorgio is the Master of the Mountain; he can control the volcano. He is also an alchemist, able to make gold from the tears of the fiery salamander he captured from the heart of the mountain. Alfredo is his heir, the next Master; and as Alfredo learns the history of his family and its power, he begins to suspect that his uncle is actually a fearsome sorcerer.
Beth says 4 Stars...
I first picked up one of Peter Dickinson's books because I wanted to read what the husband of Robin McKinley (one of my favorite authors) wrote. I've been a fan ever since. This book was short at less than 200 pages and a very quick read. For the most part, the characters were believable. The evil sorcerer was made of a very different, quieter evil which was a bit disconcerting at first, but then became interesting. One thing that I enjoyed was how Dickinson wove music throughout the story and tied it to fire. The plot moved along fairly well, but was slow at several parts. All in all, this is a really fun quick read.