Passion and Pain, the second volume, depicts the composer at the height of his powers – yet all the time beset by his deafness, the greatest tragedy of his life.

Famous throughout Europe, championed by wealthy patrons, sought out by other musicians, Beethoven’s triumphs and frustrations are shared with the reader as he composes and performs the towering works of the ‘heroic period’ – the ‘Eroica’ Symphony, the ‘Emperor’ Concerto, the Fifth and the ‘Appassionata’ Sonata – and as he struggles alone in the middle of the night to hear the great music he is creating.

We learn of the great love of his life, his ‘Eternally Beloved’, meet the loyal friends who eased the suffering of the genius among them, encounter Johanna, the sister-in-law he despises, and witness the invasion of Vienna by French forces, as Beethoven seeks shelter from the shells in his brother’s cellar. Written as a novel, though strictly in accordance with the known facts, Passion and Pain is a monumental narrative.

The Last Master

John’s trilogy The Last Master, a three-part biographical novel of Beethoven, was published to great acclaim in the late 1990’s.

This is one of the three books, written as a series of novels but sticking scrupulously to the known facts. They bring Beethoven’s personality to life, set against the turbulent backdrop of the Napoleonic Wars.