Skip to main content

Reading Group Guide

Discussion Questions


1. Ugo and Octavia have a deep bond that has lasted for more than a century. What do you think drew them together and has kept them close all those years? What is the greatest difference between them?

2. What is it about Teresa’s character that made her strong enough to withstand the demands of her nature after the bite of Zdenka Milosch? Why was Mozart not able to do the same?

3. Why did Teresa, in the end, decide not to share the tooth with Vincenzo dal Prato, the castrato who befriended her when she was a young girl in Milan?

4. The opera Don Giovanni, which is the framing device for the novel, is both drama and comedy, romance and tragedy. Do you find these elements in Ugo’s and Teresa’s stories? In Mozart’s?

5. Can the attraction between Massimo and Octavia survive what happened between them?

6. Massimo wants a great singing career just as much as Teresa did. Do you think he has the same strength?

7. Who do you think will take over the leadership of La Società after the Countess?

8. Ughetto was sensitive and affectionate as a young boy at the scuola. How is Ugo different now, and why did he change?

9. Vampire stories have been popular since Bram Stoker’s Dracula was published in 1897, and they have experienced a resurgence in recent years. Do you think the appeal of vampires is about sex? Power? Long life? Or is it something indefinable?

10. The elders are so ancient that nothing gives them joy any more except music. What is the appeal of music that it can outlast every other pleasure?

by Louise Marley

  • Publication Date: July 1, 2010
  • Paperback: 400 pages
  • Publisher: Kensington
  • ISBN-10: 0758242123
  • ISBN-13: 9780758242129