Author: Michael Stolle
Publisher: Self Published
Part of a Series: The French Orphan
Type of book: Catholics vs Protestants, King, secret service for king, friendship, 1643, adventures, seduction, goals, revenge, fortuntelling, Oliver Cromwell, the Queen
Year it was published: 2016
The year is 1643. The scheming Cardinal Mazarin is now Prime Minister of France, but on the other side of the Channel, unrest in England grows daily, as civil war is erupting. As the political situation in England deteriorates, the royal court flees London for Oxford, and King Charles is desperate to secure both funding and troops to come to his aid.
Mazarin, every bit as devious as his predecessor, Richelieu, engages the services of François de Toucy to save the Queen of England, a former royal princess of France. François and his friends will set sail for England, in a quest to ensure the safety of the queen.
Whilst François is walking a diplomatic tightrope across the political cauldron of the royal court, his friend Armand falls desperately in love with the Queen’s Maid of Honour, a lady as beautiful as she is cunning.
Soon the friends find themselves deeply entangled in a deadly combination of cut-throat politics, disasters on the battlefield and bitter machinations at court over love and war and the struggle between Protestants and Catholics that threaten to spell only death and disaster.
The author makes Elizabeth and Francois as well as Armand as the main characters, which is a good move on his part. Francois adds an interesting dimension to the story and he himself is fascinating. I do hope if there will be future installments then Francois will continue to be the main character. Elizabeth is one of his more complex heroines because she desires few things and is willing to do whatever she can for her goals. Towards the end, I ended up being disappointed in how the author planned her out. Armand continues to be his charming devil may care self. Of course there is also Henri who continues to succeed in some ways and get necessary for his dastardly deeds. I like that although he cannot get his main goal, he does succeed in other goals, and I am curious about how he survived, which I'm not sure if the author addressed or not. There are other characters as well but I think it will be more fun for the reader to discover them.
Sometimes you may not get what you desire and that's okay
The story is in third person narrative from multiple characters points of view, mainly Francois, Elizabeth and Armand. Yes, Pierre also makes an appearance, but this time he plays more of a secondary character rather than main. What I also liked is development of Elizabeth, although I'll admit that towards the end the author disappointed me with her development and perhaps I think I would have liked there to be more scenes between Elizabeth and the person she ended up with. The characters changed little if at all, but I think its part of the story's charm.
(From the book)
Born and educated on the Continent, Michael has spent most of his working outside the UK. ALthough an Economics graduate, Michael's first love has always been history, and he indulges hsi thrist for reading at every opportunity.
It was during yet another tedious business trip and a severe lack fo suitable reading matter that the characters of Pierre, Armand, and Henri came to mind; once they were conceived, so to speak, it was only a matter of time before they became real and took over any free time Michael had. The rest, as they say, is history. Or historical fiction, perhaps...
This is much better than its three predecessors. In beginning, with Elizabeth, this is exactly what I meant when I wished that the author would give women more function than just being there for one reason. Elizabeth is brave, smart and complex in terms of what she wants and what she is willing to do to gain her desires. Francois, Armand's cousin, moves on to being one of the main characters instead of being relegated to the background, which is a smart move by the author, and yes, multiple characters in one way or another do make an appearance in the book; Pierre, Armand, Charles, Henri, (of course) as well as new characters like Oliver Cromwell. The British king and his wife are there as well. Something I'd like to add is if one is confused by 1640s history, then this series is a perfect way of clearing up history because it's styled simply and understandably.
This is for HFBT
4 out of 5
(0: Stay away unless a masochist 1: Good for insomnia 2: Horrible but readable; 3: Readable and quickly forgettable, 4: Good, enjoyable 5: Buy it, keep it and never let it go.)