Author: Michael Stolle
Publisher: Self published
Part of a Series: The French Orphan Series
Type of book: Quest for rings, marriage, loyalty, France, England, wealth, friendship, intrigue, Louis XIII, Cardinal Richelieu, sexuality, manipulation, scandal
Year it was published: 2012
The Secrets of Montrésor is the eagerly awaited sequel to The French Orphan, and continues the story of young Pierre de Beauvoir…
Coming into a fortune at any age brings huge responsibility, but when you’re an inexperienced teenager, it seems that surprises are waiting for you around every corner.
Pierre, former orphan and now Marquis de Beauvoir, may have claimed his inheritance, but life is never that simple. For a start, he needs to learn pretty quickly exactly who to trust and who to keep at arm’s length. For example, how do you work out (and survive….) the changing motives of the most powerful man in seventeenth-century France, Cardinal Richelieu? And then what do you do when the people you should be able to trust try to deliver you into the hands of your worst enemy? And then there’s the small matter of a sacred quest to Italy…
Fortunately for Pierre he has his best friend Armand to support him as he gets to know his chateau at Montrésor, its people and… its secrets. (Armand, of course, has his own agendas to pursue, usually involving a pretty face and a willing smile.)
Far from being certain, Pierre’s future has yet to be settled and Pierre will have to draw on his own innate talents as well as those of the people around him to ensure he survives, as his enemies are just waiting to seize their opportunity.
Main characters include Pierre and Armand who are best friends and are described as handsome. Pierre is both a Marquis and a Duke and is also blonde with blue eyes. His love is only for one woman, although from time to time he is a bit disloyal to her. Armand is a playboy who is dark haired and dark eyed and comes from an old lineage. He is loyal to his friend and does whatever he can to help him. He is mainly known for being charming towards women and not desiring to settle down. He doesn't like his cousin Francois. Francois at first is present as an extremely demanding dandy who cares a whole lot for comfort and who is similar to Armand. Jean is a loyal servant of mixed ancenstry who happens to be able to foretell the future. He used to serve Henri. Henri is Pierre's cousin who desires to become Marquis instead of letting Pierre do it and he is extremely manipulative, calculating and evil. He is often mistaken for Pierre and is possibly bisexual.
Beware your family
The story is in third person narrative from a lot of characters' points of view. I do feel that Armand and Pierre didn't have a lot of character growth in the story and they continued to remain irrepressible and lovable young men who are desirous of spending time in idleness and friendship. The characters that do make the story interesting are the villains, that of Pierre's cousin Henri and his manipulations on nobility, and also on Armand's cousin Francois who doesn't get along with him. Jean also makes an interesting character. Just like previous book, the story is filled with one intrigue after another and yes, Louis XIII of the The Three Musketeers fame along with Cardinal Richiliau also make an appearance to continue to keep the intrigue going. Women didn't play a strong role in this book as they have in The French Orphan.
(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...
Just like The French Orphan, this is also an enjoyable book, although I do feel its a bit stereotypical or perhaps politically incorrect in some areas. The story is more interesting than in The French Orphan, and the characters are also a bit more complex, at least the male characters. I sort of hoped that the author would go for more complexity, but it's all right, Henri and Francois make up for that. Women were a bit stereotypical for my taste and didn't play a big role as they did in The French Orphan. Still a fun and memorable adventure story that is reminiscent of The Three Musketeers. As I mentioned in the previous review, I liked that Henri is reminiscent of a cat with nine lives, and that the readers often see him in action working his magic on people. I think I would have appreciated more details on a scene that seemed to be cut, on how Francois and Jean met and figured out who their common enemy is.
This is for HFVBT
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.)