According to the mathematic calculations of the Hermetic astrologer Robert Fludd, 1610 is the pivotal year in deciding the world’s future. It is the year that the King of England must die. And as his assassin he picks Valentin Rochefort, spy and duellist of no-little fame in France. He is also responsible for the death of King Henri IV of France.
That however was an accident of sorts, and now Rochefort is on the run. Already burdened with Dariole, a young arrogant duellist, Fludd’s interference is not what Rochefort wants.
Told from Rochefort’s point of view, with the odd historical document added to give a different perspective, this book has almost everything you could want. Violence, sword fights, duellists, conspiracies, sex, death, Samurai swordsmen, and the prospect of altering the future.
If you’ve read Gentle’s Ash: A Secret History then you’ll have an idea of the style of this book. Although here there is much less fantasy, and most of the novel is more of an historical one rather than a fantasy.
As with most books that I really love the characters here are utterly engaging and well-drawn. Rochefort and Dariole as the main characters are of course stars in the book, but the supporting cast are all excellent too. And the blending of historical fact with fiction is more than believable. This was a reread for me, but I only really noticed that King James of England is the son of Mary, Queen of Scotland and the Isles, whose memoirs (by Margaret George) I read a while ago.
Not only is this a great fantasy/historical read, but there is also the issue of gender. And of sexuality. And of course honour and when is utterly ridiculous.
Believable, engaging and entertaining. Why haven’t you read it yet?