In an unnamed South American country, a world-renowned soprano sings at a birthday party in honour of a visiting Japanese businessman. In the opening sequence a group of 18 terrorists enters the vice-presidential mansion, they are after the president who has stayed home to watch a favourite soap opera and thus things go awry.
The hostages are made up of an assortment of Russian, Italian and French diplomats as well as the Opera singer and the Japanese business man and as the days stretch into months a couple of surprising love stories blossom within the house.
Bel Canto has quite an unrealistic, far-fetched plot but Pratchet does somehow make it work, the unnatural and pressured situation the characters find themselves in does make their decisions and their love stories believable. The story shifts constantly from the hostages to the terrorists and after a while the line between them becomes more and more blurred. What is happening outside the house is not mentioned and their only contact with the outside world is a great character in the more and more wary and exhausted red cross man.
The novel is very well written and is told in an elegant, unhurried and easy manor. Reviewers do quibble about the ending but I was ready to accept whatever ending the author was prepared to give me.
Overall I didn’t love Bel Canto but I did enjoy reading it and I cared what happened to the main characters (on both sides)
Posted by Jess