Thursday, January 3, 2013

Song of the Flutist by Rosalind Burgundy

Paperback: 333 pages
Genre: Historical Fiction
Publisher: 2010 (first published May 27th 2005)
I won this in a competition on 50 Years In Italy

First Sentences: Prologue 'The Flutist spoke, guiding the people long before the rise of archaic Greece and ancient Rome. Like a soup of blended flavors, the Indigenous Tuscans, Hellenics and Lydians of Asia Minor melted into the bucolic land, understanding the workings of the cosmos.'
Review Quote: "When civilization seems to only exist in one spot, surrounded by barbarianism, it cannot last forever. "Song of the Flutist" is a work of historical fiction from Rosalind Burgundy, telling of three generations of the highly advanced society of the Etruscans, where equal rights are all around and life seems to be great for all those involved. But as the prophecy heralds doom, this good thing may come to an end. A worthy read of historical fiction, "Song of the Flutist" is a finely recommended read, not to be overlooked." ~Midwest Book Review
Award: Italian America Magazine Book Selection (2005)
My Opinion: A fascinating tale that brings the Etruscans to life as you read.

I was particularly interested in reading this novel as I live in the area known as Etruria where the novel is set, at the peak of Etruscan society over two thousand years ago. Lucky enough to have visited some of the amazing tombs, dwellings and bridges left behind by them, I enjoyed this fascinating tale that brings the Etruscans to life as you read. Set in Tarchna (Tarquinia), Cisra (Cerveteri), Veia (Veio), Roma, Pupluna (Populonia), Velathri (Volterra), Murlo, Curtun (Cortona), and across the Mediterranean to Athenai (Athens), and into Aegypt (Egypt), the authors writing, research and knowledge makes it easy to visualise these ancient cities of that era. It is quite amazing just how these extraordinary people were leading the lifestyle they did, while outside their own society, deception, brutality, murder and plague was rife.  

Although since reading I have discovered that this is the third in the trilogy it was fine as a stand alone read, although this might explain why it took me quite awhile to come to grips with all that was going on and the style of writing. It is an epic family saga that spans three centuries and three generations of the lives of the noble and ambitious Porenna-Laris families and how two powerful but rival cities threaten to split the family. With at least eighteen important characters and many more minor ones I guess it was not surprising that at first I had to keep referring to the authors family tree and list explaining the hierarchy of Etruscan society.

The family lead an advanced lifestyle compared the rest of the world in those times, with men and women seen as equals, they live richly and dress well. Wealth, wisdom and artistic beauty flourish with families having lavishly appointed tombs built to ensure their comfort in the afterlife. The mysterious flutist who represents time, life and death is ever present in the novel as he guides the Etruscans on their journeys to the afterlife. Throughout their lives the Etruscans are also aware of The Great Prediction heralding the fate of their society. 

By reading this novel you will learn something of the rich lives of an incredible but forgotten civilization.

Author Profile

Rosalind Burgundy's infatuation for the Etruscans' amazing culture began when she worked with  an archaeologist in the famous Roman Forum as Technical Illustrator and Curator of Etruscan artefacts. After more than 40 years as educator/lecturer, wife, mother and world traveller, she has returned to her life-long interest and written three novels about that ancient civilization.
Living very much in the present, but with her Etruscan spirit, Rosalind Burgundy had her DNA tested. It shows her heritage goes way back to the Haplogroup H who migrated from Africa's Olduvai Gorge to the northern Mediterranean.

Rosalind was born on February 03, 1945 in Philadelphia, USA but she now lives in the Central Sierra and the coast of California, with her winters spent in Palm Beach, Florida.

Information and photo used in this post are with thanks to the following websites.

Etruscan Italy - Historical Fiction  Amazon - Author Profile   Goodreads Author Profile


  1. Hi Lindylou, this sounds a very interesting read, especially as you live surrounded by the Etruscan's legacies. It is amazing to think how advanced they were all those centuries ago. Love Linda x

    1. It is indeed Linda and yes was particularly interesting to me as we have a home in the region the novel is set in.


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