After a deadly duel with a jealous rival, Pierre de Siorac must travel to Paris, to seek his pardon from the King. In the capital city he finds a world of sweet words and fierce pride, where coquettish smiles hide behind fans, and murderous intents behind elegant bows. But the court's elaborate social graces mask a simmering tension that will soon explode to engulf the entire city.
When it does, Pierre faces the greatest challenge of his young existence-not merely to win a royal pardon, but to escape from Paris with his life, and the lives of his beloved companions, intact.
Robert Merle (1908-2004) was born in French Algeria, before moving to mainland France in 1918. Originally an English teacher, Merle served as an interpreter with British Expeditionary Force during the Second World War, and was captured by the German army at Dunkirk, the experience of which served as the basis for his Goncourt-prize-winning Weekend at Zuydcoote. He published the 13 volumes of his hugely popular Fortunes of France series over four decades, from 1977 to 2003, the final volume appearing just a year before his death in 2004.