The extraordinary life and musicianship of the man who fathered modern violin technique form the content of his biography by a fellow violinist. Born in Genoa to a mother who received a vision of his destiny, Paganini soon found himself on the road to fame with a father to keep him in check. His overwhelming successes as a performer evoked many feelings in those who heard -- was he devilishly or divinely inspired? His many loves and amourous scrapes, his lasting friendship with Germi, his disappointing marriage to Bianchi which nevertheless brought him a devoted son occur alongside his musical contacts with such men as Beethoven, Berlioz, Liszt and Lipinsky. Heine's review of a concert is priceless reading; Balzac too comments and wonders at his gift. The impact of the intense, unstable personality of Paganini, the generous deeds -- such as playing in Paris through the cholera plague -- and the unkind once which, embellished by the legend of the mysteriously powerful musician, brought the refusal of a Church burial, evoke a vivid image of the man, in a biography which merges man and music successfully and gives a feeling of European life in Paganini's era.