SFF

Scarlet

Ace: Berkley (The Scarlet Revolution, Bk. 1). May 2023. 368p. ISBN 9780593638286. pap. $17. FANTASY
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Cogman (The Untold Story) reinvents the classic tale of the French Revolution but adds vampires to the mix of supposedly innocent French aristos whom the League of the Scarlet Pimpernel plots to spirit away from the shadow of the guillotine. Sir Percy Blakeney aims higher this time around, intending to use a servant girl’s resemblance to Marie Antoinette to sow confusion among the French so that he can whisk Marie and her children out of prison to safety in England, in order to form a government in exile. But that housemaid, Eleanor Dalton, wants more out of life than mere service, and in plotting to save a queen, she sees her chance to rise above her station. While every bit as wildly compelling and imaginative as the author’s previous series, this has a more serious side as it questions both the grievances of the French Revolution and the innocence of aristocrats and royalty, while still telling a cracking good story of swashbuckling and derring-do.
VERDICT Will keep audiences enthralled to the end. Highly recommended for readers of alternate history, those who enjoy re-examinations of classics, and fans of Cogman’s “Invisible Library” series.
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