Rice steeped her novel in betrayal, obsession, the drive for revenge, the lust for power, and the need of a astarved soul to find love. But beyond all these "bodice-ripper" adjectives, Cry to Heaven is at its heart an unflinching character study of a man who has his manhood stolen from him, and of how his mind has to twist in on itself to cope with this loss.
Ms. Rice's protagonist, Tonio Treschi is wonderfully nuanced, and we get to see into his tortured soul at every step of his journey-- from the confused and unfocused pain of being castrated, to the cold, focused revenge on the one responsible. Masterful! Add to this the lush backdrop of the intrigue of the opera scene in Naples, Venice, Milan and Rome...well, this is truly a feast. And I ate every morsel. After reading this novel, you'll felt like you've earned a PhD in musicology, opera seria, and Italian political history-- it's that detailed. But the details NEVER bog down the story, just make it richer and richer. Again, bravo, bravo Anne Rice!