“The Cantora,” American Book Fest Best Book of the Year—Historical Fiction
It all began with a rumor—An Indian girl who sang with the voice of an angel. A tiny girl, perhaps only nine years old. No one believed it at first, but the rumor persisted. Finally one day a runner arrived bringing news… And so the journey of the woman and the girl—Sister Mãe da Doçura and Yema, the Caeté Indian child acclaimed as The Cantora—begins to unfold as perilous circumstance compels them to become agents of fate, changing the destinies of all who cross their path.
The setting for The Cantora is coastal Brazil during the early 1500s, in the colonial town of Luís, a shipping port for the brutal and lucrative dyewood trade. Many Indians and Africans are enslaved at the port, and the Indians, afflicted with European diseases, are perishing by the hundreds.
A village priest discovers an Indian child with a magical voice, and he allows her to sing the Latin Mass. The regional bishop assigns the girl to Sister Doçura with the intention of making the child singer a ward of the Church. The child is also treasured by her tribe as a mystical Tuguy Kuñã (Blood Woman).
The bishop summons The Vatican’s Consilium de Virtutibus (The Council of Miracles) to certify Yema as a The First True Miracle of The New World, but when an Indian rebellion breaks out, the Council accuses the nun and child of heresy and condemns them to death as Doçura and Yema are forced to flee for their lives.
Early Praise for Paul Cohn’s The Cantora
“If You Enjoyed The Book Thief, You Will Fall In Love With Cantora” —Hailey Zwanzig, Illustrator, Left Hand Tree by Jay Gunter”
“A Lyrically Stunning Novel... A 16th Century Jackie Evancho. 5-Stars!” —Justin Haldeman, Author of the forthcoming novel The Duke’s Jubilee
“The Cantora, an utterly transporting reading experience. …immensely skilled setting and scene building… Brazil during the 1500s—a vivid life for the reader.” —Carina Guiterman, Editor, Little, Brown & Company Publishers
“The Cantora, Remarkable Story, Breathtaking In Scope, A Cadre Of Unforgettable Characters” —William T. Goodman, Author of Desert Sundays
And From The Cantora:
“Yema’s voice filled the church, and some felt it filled the world… An ecstasy upon the ear, a vital singing, the honeyed perfume of song.” —Page 23, The Cantora
Extraordinary Praise for Book I of The Cantora Series, São Tomé
“São Tomé: A riveting work of historical fiction. ...vivid portrayal and character descriptions. ...powerful, gut-wrenching, heartbreaking and joyous. Impossible to put down.” —Michele Jones, The Jewish Chronicle of Pittsburgh
“São Tomé (Rapto em Lisboa) ...The ideal historical novel... thorough, persuasive, vivid and uncompromising... A classic of the era.” —Paulo Nogueira, EXPRESS (Lisbon)
About the Author