The trio in question comprises Robert and Clara Schumann and Johannes Brahms. Trio (Book One) relates the story of the Schumanns, following Robert's courtship of Clara despite the savage opposition of a father who had groomed his daughter to marry a count, and threatened to shoot Robert if he persisted in his suit. It's no secret that they marry, and Robert the composer seems ideally matched by Clara the performer, but the happy early years are soon clouded by financial worries and Robert's multiple illnesses, culminating in his suicide attempt and subsequent incarceration in an insane asylum. Brahms, a lad of 20, visits them just six months before the incarceration and falls deeply in love with Clara - but he is also deeply indebted to Robert for proclaiming him the messiah of music before he had published a single work, and the conflict manifests itself in psychological scars borne the rest of his life. Trio opens with Clara's debut in 1828 and Trio 2 concludes with Brahms's death in 1897, encompassing a panoramic vision of the 19th century - not only in music, but culturally and historically, incorporating the growth of Germany from 400+ principalities to one nation under Bismarck. Book One concludes with the death of Robert in 1856. The story unfolds with the dramatic impact of a novel though derived from biographies, diaries, and correspondences. It includes cameos by Chopin, Mendelssohn, Liszt, Wagner, Tchaikovsky, and Nietzche among others when their paths cross those of the trio. Though firmly grounded in fact, it unfolds like a novel, not a biography, a great read for the beach, the summer, the winter, a holiday, a holiday in itself, a book in which to live for a while - a narrative of love, insanity, suicide, revolution, politics - and, of course, music.