Dr Pache is a traitor. And an escaped convict.
Summer 1805: he has fled the prison colony of Guyana, made his way to the United States, and from there crossed the ocean to his French homeland.
He secures a job in the health service of Napoleon’s army presently mustered on the coast near Boulogne. His plan is to hide in plain sight among the hundreds of thousands of men who are waiting for the Imperial orders which will send them soon across the sea to attack and conquer their detested foe of England.
One of the security agents who might be on his track turns out to be his own older brother whose erratic career has now brought him into the service of Joseph Fouché, the notorious head of Napoleon’s police. And there are other threats, even from at least one of his new colleagues whose fervent Imperialist sympathies certainly contrast with Pache’s own hatred of Napoleonic rule and passionate longing for the lost French republic.
Further complicating the scene, is the presence of Madame Biennais, the proprietor of a local brothel, one of whose girls is a patient in Pache’s new hospital, having been shot by a jealous customer. The ups and downs of her case serve to bring Pache and Madeleine Biennais ever closer, in friendship, and then in more than that.
Award-winning author Peter Prince, whose previous historical fictions include The Great Circle and Adam Runaway, thoughtfully and wittily untangles a crucial time in the lives of the pair. And gives a panoramic and exciting view of this time and place when the fate of Europe, as well as of Philippe Pache, hangs in the balance.
Published: 2 September 2016