Story/biography is an unfortunate combination that fails to satisfy on either score. As a story, this account of the teenaged violinist/composer on the verge of recognition has too many predictable, repetitious successes, too much flowery (Italian-style) dialogue, the characters (family, friends, gentry, artistic leaders, etc.) are too simple and admiring, and young Paganini seems more arrogant and lucky than forceful. As biography, the references to the political, social and artistic climate of Italy are scattered and confusing; there are very few basic facts about Paganini personally, how he developed, and what he accomplished; and there is no serious, reliable presentation of Paganini's musicianship. His experimentation with new fingering techniques is only vaguely described here with no explanation of how this would affect violin playing, and his compositions are left unanalyzed and unrealistically evaluated. There is, of course, no bibliography, index, or list of compositions. The Golden Key to Paganini's life and work is left in a jammed-up lock.