Kate Braithwaite, "Charlatan" (Fireship Press, 2016)


Paris, 1676. At the house of the fortuneteller Catherine Montvoisin (La Voisin), while two hooded forms watch, a wayward priest burns a piece of parchment in a spell designed to awaken the passions of Louis XIV of France. Three years later, those performing the ceremony become the target of a police investigation into the so-called Affair of the Poisons. Through interrogation, strategic imprisonment, and selective executions, the police gradually close in on La Voisin. But because of confessions exacted through torture, the widening scandal sweeps up more than four hundred suspects, including some of France's most prestigious aristocrats. When a zealous young officer goes after La Voisin's daughter and threatens to implicate Louis XIV's official mistress, the marquise de Montespan, the police chief gets cold feet. But the young officer remains determined to bring those he considers guilty to justice, until in the end only the intervention of the Sun King himself can sort things out. In Charlatan (Fireship Press, 2016), Kate Braithwaite vividly brings to life the extremes of seventeenth-century French society, from the stews of Paris to the luxurious apartments of Versailles and the Carmelite convent where one of Louis's discarded lovers has chosen to end her days. Sometimes beautiful, often brutal, her portrayal of the Sun King and his world will haunt you long after you finish reading.
C. P. Lesley is the author of six novels, including Legends of the Five Directions (The Golden Lynx, The Winged Horse, and The Swan Princess), a historical fiction series set in 1530s Russia, during the childhood of Ivan the Terrible. Find out more about her at http://www.cplesley.com.

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C. P. Lesley

C. P. Lesley is the author of two historical fiction series set during the childhood of Ivan the Terrible and four other novels. Her latest book, The Merchant's Tale, co-written with P.K. Adams, appeared in November 2023.

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