cover image The Eagle and the Viper: A Novel of Historical Suspense

The Eagle and the Viper: A Novel of Historical Suspense

Loren D. Estleman. Forge, $26.99 (336p) ISBN 978-1-250-25862-5

What if The Day of the Jackal was set in 1801, and the target of the master assassin was Napoleon Bonaparte rather than Charles de Gaulle? That’s the fascinating premise of this standout novel by Estleman (the Amos Walker PI series), which draws inspiration from a real-life cabal, the Christmas Eve Plot of 1800. That scheme was the brainchild of Georges Cadoudal, a Royalist who sought to replace Napoleon with someone who could restore the Bourbons to the throne. When a plan to blow up Napoleon’s carriage goes awry, Cadoudal turns to an enigmatic killer with a penchant for utilizing literary aliases, such as Chaucer and Molière. The hit man’s painstaking preparations involve both careful disguises and developing an innovative and diabolical weapon. The suspense builds as those steps alternate with the increasingly frantic efforts by Joseph Fouché, Napoleon’s ruthless minister of police, to foil the plot. Historical figures like Fouché come fully to life. Estleman demonstrates that his versatility extends to mastery of multiple genres. Agent: Dominick Abel, Dominick Abel Literary. (Mar.)