Another chapter in the life of the infamous Phantom of the Opera continues, as he leaves Paris and moves to Malta in search of a new beginning. Clothed in secrecy, he purchases The Royal Opera House in Valletta, which has been destroyed by a devastating fire. In an attempt to bury the pain of his past, the burned out shell becomes his new obsession. He is determined to resurrect the structure from ashes and return it to glory. To raise funds for his task, he holds a masquerade and encounters a strange woman who prophesies his destiny of undoing and death. Her words haunt the Opera Ghost, but he continues on his path of restoration. After years of hard work, the gala reopening occurs. The Phantom is convinced he has reached the pinnacle of success in his life. He rests in peace over his accomplishments. For sheer amusement, he takes on a new student, which leads him down a path of romance, mystery, and danger. His fortune unfolds before him, and he discovers he cannot hide from those who seek retribution for his former sins. He is forced to reap the consequences and comes face-to-face with his darkest demons and fears. In the end, his insatiable hunger for beauty is challenged to the core. Will he survive the obstacles he encounters or will this finally be his undoing and death?
Vicki gives an overview of the book:
My creator, Gaston Leroux, seems intent on convincing you that I really existed. Of course, that is something you’ll have to decide for yourself. However, if you’re not familiar with my story, let me enlighten you before you turn the page to read of my adventures on the isle of Malta.
You’ll find that I have many names: Angel of Music, Opera Ghost, Phantom, and most importantly, poor unhappy Erik. My talents are many: composer, architect, magician, violinist, and ventriloquist. My skills include proficiency in using a Punjab lasso, and I have been known to develop a few ingenious methods of torture.
Like everyone else, I have a past. My humble roots began when I was born in Rouen, France. Mother expected a beautiful baby boy. Instead, she birthed a freak, whose deformity was so hideous that she immediately covered my face with a mask. My father was a stone mason; he taught me his trade but gave me no love.
As you can surmise, my childhood was not pleasant. I ran away from home and joined a gypsy fair, where I was put on display as a living corpse. Afterward, I traveled to a foreign land serving a Sultan. While in Persia, I built a palace, executed poor souls, and ended up fleeing for my life. My Persian friend did save me from an untimely death, but he believes I’m a monster.
Eventually, I returned to my homeland and helped with the construction of the Paris Opera House. I cleverly built a world of secret passageways and a home in the cellars underneath.
Life was a bit dull, until a certain young woman by the name of Christine Daaé caught my eye. I played upon her weakness and fooled her into thinking I was the Angel of Music, sent from her dead father to teach her to sing. She became my student and I her Angel, until one day, I revealed the truth to her that I was nothing more than a mere man.
She was beautiful. I have a weakness, you see, and its name is beauty. I long for beauty. It’s the obsession of my life; and naturally, Christine became my obsession because she was the epitome of beauty in my eyes.
I wanted her to love me as a man and be my wife. Instead, she pitied me as a monster and pledged her heart to another. Oh, perhaps she did have a morsel of affection for her Angel of Music, but it was not enough to satisfy the cravings of my soul. I did the only thing I could do. She was not willing to consent to be my wife, so I took her by force. In a moment of madness, I brought down the chandelier during a performance and abducted Christine, keeping her captive in my underground world.
Well, I do not wish to bore you with further details. The entire fiasco did not turn out well. Nothing went as planned. I eventually released her to the man she loved, and died a thousand deaths in my soul when she departed. I told everyone that I was dying of love. It was the most logical course of action; to die and disappear. A man can actually die of love, you know.
As I bemoaned my fate in hiding, an opportunity presented itself on the isle of Malta. The Royal Opera House in Valletta had suffered a premature end and beckoned me to resurrect it from the ashes. I purchased the burned out shell, took a close friend and assistant with me, and moved to Malta to rebuild my life. As you’ll soon discover, I could not hide from the past. It has a clever way of following you like a dark shadow until vengeance and justice is served. Such is my life, and this is my story.
I am The Phantom of Valletta.