Paganini, 24 Caprices Part 1:

Paganini, 24 Caprices Part 2:

My thanks to Ammon Stotts, who helped me correct Paganini’s Italian accent.

This book is dedicated to my brother, Karl Kammeyer, who was a fine violin-maker in his own right.

The Last Stradivari

Manisha set down her flute and sighed. “This music is so difficult… and so cold and uninteresting,” she said as she studied her score to the Raga on the Fifth Tone. It was one of her teachers’ most famous compositions, and she was determined to master it. The complex rhythms and racing pentatonic scales constantly tripped up her fingers as she struggled with her five-hole flute.

“There are only five little notes in the scale—how hard can it be?” she muttered to herself. “Five sacred tones, five vowels in the alphabet, five gods in the heavens… a lot of help they all are…”

As a student, Manisha had just two passions in life: music, and archaeology. That left very little time for relationships with men. Still, she practically worshipped her mentor, Master Devak, the chief archaeologist on the massive Aksaphortha dig.

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