The Sun King Conspiracy

Yves Jégo and Denis Lépée, trans. from the French by Sue Dyson. Gallic, $14.95 ISBN 978-1-910477-35-9
Dumas fans will especially enjoy Jégo and Lépée’s thoughtful thriller set in 1661 France. Though the country is nominally ruled by young Louis XIV, Cardinal Jules Mazarin has been the country’s de facto leader for decades. As the cardinal lies on his deathbed, he’s shaken to learn that a fire set in his Paris palace was designed to divert attention from a burglary that netted the thieves some secret documents. Mazarin orders his adviser Jean-Baptiste Colbert to retrieve them by any means necessary. This effort ensnares the book’s D’Artagnan-like hero, actor Gabriel de Pontbriand, secretary to the playwright Molière. Gabriel stumbles upon coded papers concealed in the prompter’s well of the theater after one of the burglars fell through the roof. The machinations of a shadowy Rome-based conspiracy, as well as the jockeying for power in anticipation of a vacuum following Mazarin’s demise, ratchet up the tension, even for readers familiar with how that struggle played out. (Apr.)
Reviewed on: 02/06/2017
Release date: 04/18/2017
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