The Third Lion: A Novel about Talleyrand

Floyd Kemske, Author Catbird Press $22.95 (224p) ISBN 978-0-945774-37-2
Unabashedly romanticized and delightfully tongue-in-cheek, this entertaining fictional version of the life of Charles-Maurice Talleyrand-Perigord--one of the most influential survivors of the French Revolution--lives up to its subject: a lame, disinherited aristocrat whose career reads like the blueprint for the antiheroics of Balzac and Stendahl. Sent at age 18 to seminary by his protective, ambitious mother, the restless young scholar falls under the influence of the sophisticated thinkers of the day and takes a mistress even before he takes the cloth. With the help of yet another mistress (a duchess with a knack for pillow-talk), the newly ordained scapegrace is nominated Abbot of Rheims. Similar help from yet another well-married lady gets him recommended for a cardinalate, but the pope turns him down and later excommunicates him. Following several political misadventures, he retreats to an expedient, short-lived exile to America, then returns to a position of influence under Napoleon. This tale of the Enlightenment's bitter end finds an apt teller in Kemske (Human Resources), who brings the irony and psychological acuity that his formidable protagonist demands. (Oct.)
Reviewed on: 09/29/1997
Release date: 10/01/1997
Genre: Fiction
Open Ebook - 216 pages - 978-0-945774-77-8
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