A dazzling debut, full of opulent period detail, brilliantly interweaving history, romance and intrigue, in which one man's fortune in the form of The Octavo holds the key to a nation's precarious fate. As dramatic as opera, as vivid as a painting, THE STOCKHOLM OCTAVO brings a real and imagined history to astonishing life.
Political and social intrigue are merged through the medium of the mystical card layout called the Octavo in this debut novel of maneuvering aristocrats and striving tradesmen in late 18th-century Stockholm. In the reign of the alternately enlightened and autocratic King Gustav III, his brother Karl and the society doyenne known as the Uzanne scheme to return control of Sweden to the nobility, opposed secretly by the mysterious gambling club owner Sofia Sparrow, whose prophetic visions link Gustav with the doomed king and queen of France. Moving among the conspirators are the beautiful apothecary Johanna Grey, the master calligrapher Fredrik Lind, the obsessive fan maker Christian Norden, and the up-and-coming customs bureaucrat Emil Larsson, whose personal Octavo links him to players on both sides of the conflict. Neatly mixing revolutionary politics with the erotic tension and cutthroat rivalry of the female conspirators-whose exquisite, one-of-a-kind fans are both weapons and prizes-Engelmann has crafted a magnificent, suspenseful story set against the vibrant society of Sweden's zenith, with a cast of colorful characters balanced at a crux of history. Illus. (Oct.) (c) Copyright PWxyz, LLC. All rights reserved.
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July 15, 2013
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