The 16th Song
The 16th Song is a book about a young man making mistakes and how the mistakes follow him despite his success as a song writer. Set mainly in the turbulent Paris if the late 1950's, it tells of how random acts of violence, unconnected with the victims, can distort a life forever. More
Peter Daniels, a talented composer and pianist, is alone in the turbulent Paris of the 1950s when Marie Gautier, an attractive translator, and Jean-Claude - her charismatic boyfriend and a radical young lawyer - befriend him.
Working as he does in the demi-monde of illegal immigrants and left wing causes Jean-Claude finds Peter work replacing an American pianist who has broken his hand in a fight in a jazz club. When the man is deported Peter moves into his flat and discovers a sheaf of brilliant but unpublished music. Peter hears of the man’s suicide in an American jail and the music becomes both his treasure and his secret. At the same time, the political and criminal forces that Jean-Claude opposes pursue them and destroy their relationship, forcing Peter to run back to England and a life with Hannah, his student girlfriend.
Peter’s illicit treasure brings him great riches and Hannah becomes his wife, but guilt makes him secretive and withdrawn. Yet the music acts as a conduit to the past and try as he might, he cannot escape the spotlight it draws to him.
Peter realises that the past controls his life, and his need for secrecy perverts it. Will the past destroy him and his marriage before he can prove his real worth as a musician?
The author has written many plays for BBC Wales; this is his first novel.