The Cavalier

Leonard J. D'Eon, Author, Leonard J. Eon, Author Putnam Publishing Group $18.95 (256p) ISBN 978-0-399-13227-8
This disappointing historical romance is based on the life of the author's distant forbear, a man who was a special French envoy to Elizabeth the Great of Russia, and later to the mad English king, George III; who was rumored to have been the English queen's lover; was a spy for King Louis XV; and for years passed convincingly as a woman. D'Eon's ancestor was clearly a remarkable person, but his story as fictionalized here is thoroughly dreary. The author mistakes melodrama for drama and tells us far more of his story than he shows us. Though the pages abound with famous namesMadame Pompadour, Voltairethey are cardboard characters. We do not come to understand the Cavalier or the fascinating age he lived in. Events are skimpily handled and do not connect coherently other than by time, and slabs of researched reportage lie in the text like flour lumps in gravy. There must surely be a fascinating book about Cavalier d'Eon, otherwise known as Lea de Beaumont, but this, unfortunately, is not it. (May)
Reviewed on: 05/01/1987
Release date: 05/01/1987
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