Memories Of Flames
Armand Cabasson, Isabel Reid (translator)
In March 1814, less than seventy thousand French troops anxiously wait for the much larger allied armies coming from the east to invade Paris; while the English already have taken Bordeaux and Italy appears ready to fall. The Emperor’s brother Joseph Bonaparte fears Paris will burn, but adding to his gloomy outlook is the assassination in his home of key military genius, sexagenarian Colonel Berle with burn marks on the corpse. Aware of Lieutenant Colonel Quentin Margont’s deft handling of a sensitive matter for the Emperor's stepson Prince Eugène de Beauharnais (see The Officer's Prey), Joseph and “The Limping Devil” Talleyrand order him to investigate discreetly Berle’s murder.
Based on paid information provided by Swords of the King member Charles de Varencourt to Joseph, the Emperor’s brother insists Margont join these fiercely dedicated Royalists masquerading as Chevalier Quentin de Langè. Though Margont expects to die, he is offered no choice besides going undercover inside a fanatical group who vehemently believe the end justifies the means even if thousands of innocent French must die. As Margont struggles to be accepted by the suspicious Royalists in spite of de Varencourt’s sponsorship, a second homicide similar to that of Berle occurs.
The third Napoleonic Murders (see Wolf Hunt) is a great historical mystery due mostly to the profound look at the mental state of the French troops knowing what most likely will happen to them and the Royalists rationalizing they save France from worse destruction. Conflicted Margont is fantastic as he fears capture yet needs justice.