Many people have helped me by providing information, advice and encouragement in writing this book and I am deeply indebted to them all. I have relied heavily on material provided by the Biblioteca Naciónal, Madrid and by the Hispanic Society of America and I thank them profusely.
I am grateful to Stacy Owens, Library Associate of the George Peabody College of Vanderbilt University, Nashville, who gave me access to a 1968 PhD thesis by Ruth Landes Pitts. This thesis is about the life and work of Juan Hidalgo, the main character of my book. I am sure that had Dr Pitts not written her thesis, which was my major source of information and references, I would not have written this novel. So I owe Dr Pitts a special mention.
I am also indebted to Professor Louise K Stein, of the University of Michigan School of Theatre, Music and Dance, whose book, Songs of Mortals, Dialogues of the Gods: Music and Theatre in Seventeenth-Century Spain, provided many useful insights, especially about Hidalgo’s musical style.
I thank my son, Gregory, who was the first to read the manuscript in its entirety and who made a number of suggestions for amendment. Greg proposed ideas for enhancing not only the structure of the novel and the English but also for enriching the plot. I also thank my sisters-in-law, Karen Teuber and Kay Sinclair, Greg’s fiancée, Susan Hartland, and Jane Greneker, a family friend, for spotting a number of errors and making other suggested improvements.
I also thank my daughter, Melanie, for her constant encouragement and, last but by no means least, my long-suffering wife, Janet, who has patiently shared my life through the gestation and birth of this novel, as well as giving me a number of great ideas for improving the storyline.
Gordon Thomas, May 2011