For The King – Catherine Delors

23 August 2010

Apparently bloggers are supposed to say where they got the book from when they post a review about it so I will start by boasting that I was lucky enough to be sent a copy of For The King by the lovely authoress, Catherine Delors herself. Thank you so much!

I took it with me on my writing course and finished it late last night, in a state of impatience to discover how it would all end for the enigmatic Roch and the beautiful and mysterious Blanche. I was not disappointed at all.

The book charts the fictionalised progress of the investigation into the real life Rue Nicaise explosion of Christmas Eve 1800, when a group of disaffected royalist sympathisers attempted to blow up Napoleon on his way to the opera house. A shocking incident that Delors conveys with vivid affect, leaving us in no doubt of the gruesome devastation and shock that the explosion left in its wake.

In charge of the investigation is young police officer, Roch, who is entangled with the beautious wife of a wealthy, elderly banker. Roch is a difficult character, much like Coffinhal in Mistress of the Revolution: a tall, dark, taciturn man given to random grumps and periods of self loathing and yet he is attractive and charismatic despite this, his imperfections and flaws making him all the more intriguing as a hero.

The object of his affections, the lovely Blanche reminded me of both Juliette Récamier and also Émilie de Sainte-Amaranthe, who, like Blanche was hailed as the most beautiful woman in Paris and was the daughter of a casino owner and high class prostitute who had premises in the Palais Royale. It could have been hard to get to know Blanche, but I found her sympathetic and appealing despite her evident dishonesty and complexities.

I really loved this book – it’s very different to Mistress of the Revolution and is full of period detail, amazing characters and drama. I really loved the amount of detail that went into the description of Paris in the first year of the nineteenth century and it really felt like I was walking alongside Roch and Blanche as they navigated the dank, cold streets and alleyways of the city.

I’d definitely recommend this book to any fans of historical fiction and am really looking forward to Catherine’s next book! Thanks again!

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