Cossacks In Paris
~Author: Jeffrey Perren
~Published: November 25th, 2012
~Published: November 25th, 2012
~Publisher: ClioStory Publishing
~Length: 389 Pages
~Genres: Historical Fiction, Adult, Cultural
~Parent's Rating: PG-17
How far can one man go for his freedom?
Rebellious Breutier Armande, a rising young civil engineer in Paris, is drafted into the Grande Armeé on the eve of Napoleon's 1812 Russian campaign.
On a scouting mission in St. Petersburg he meets Kaarina, a Finnish mathematician and daughter of the counselor to Tsar Alexander I. The pair soon fall in love. But Kaarina is betrothed to Agripin, a vicious Cossack and a favorite of the Tsar.
When she refuses him, Agripin kidnaps her, aided by Kaarina's envious twin sister, Kaisa. At a time of Europe's brief, uneasy truce Breutier deserts Napoleon's army and the Tsar's employ to reclaim Kaarina. Dodging the vengeance of the world's most powerful rulers sends Breutier on a perilous quest to hunt down the era's most ruthless Cossack.
Interweaving the characters' personal dramas with the epochal events of the following two years forms the core of the story. Historically accurate, the novel climaxes at the moment when, for the first time in 400 years, foreign armies invaded France, leaving behind Cossacks in Paris.
*Please keep in mind this is an UnPlugged review, meaning it is candid, my raw reactions, and contains spoilers. If you'd like to read my "official, professional" PluggedIn Review, sans spoilers, check that out here!
With many historical novels, they can be a bit dull. For a lot of us, it takes an author with the ability to tell a story in an interesting way, to make a good historical novel. Jeffrey Perren did this for the story of Napoleon's 1812 Russian campaign. I love reading about history, and this book gave me a whole new way of looking at this event.
The characters are all fantastic - Breutier is awesome, and totally relatable. He needs Napoleon's support for his projects, so he has to go along with helping in the military campaign against Russia. Even though he doesn't agree, he's stuck, and it bites.
Also, like in most political wars, there are relatable people on both sides. Agripin is one of those, and while I hate the way he treats and thinks of Kaarina, I like him as a character. He's strong, resourceful, and goes after what he wants. I can understand his perspective, and it makes for some fantastic tension between the two men!
I also really love Kaarina! She is awesome, and I'd like to think (imagine...dream...whatever) that I would have been like her, had I lived in that time period. She has a love for reading and learning, and has no desire to simply be a trophy wife to a politician buttering up to her father. I wouldn't either, really.
When both men decide they want her, all hell breaks loose!
Their personal conflict, though, was incredibly entertaining! So much excitement and suspense, I loved the back-and-forth. Oh my goodness, it was like Popeye and Bluto fighting over Olive Oyle!! Especially when Breutier finally got Kaarina back in Moscow, only to have Agripin hit him in the head with a rock, and ride off with the girl, again! Poor chick was just tug-a-wared back and forth all over Russia!
This is truly a fantastic story, and from everything I could tell, pretty darn accurate, as far as the historical dates and areas are concerned. The take on Napoleon as a person was awesome, and the possibilities of there being something like this happening in their personal lives was really interesting to read about.
I could tell the author disliked Czar Alexander, but it made for an interesting read. He wasn't the outright "bad guy" of the story, although that was the general tone that seemed to surround the Czar. I liked his character as well, and could easily picture him having been quite similar to his portrayal in this book.
The mix of historical and fictional characters really was amazing, and for me, completely mesmerizing.
This is definitely a book I'd recommend, especially to fans of historical fiction. The romance is very light and modest, which is really nice. The main story is about the war, and how all these different people were effected by it, and in turn affected the war itself.
Very good book, great read, and a new author for me to keep an eye on.
What do you guys think of this book? Do you enjoy historical novels? Let me know in the comments below!
Thanks for reading! Have a great day! =D