THE STOCKHOLM OCTAVO

21 Jun
Harper-Collins 2012 First Edition Hardcover 411 pages Historical Fiction - suspense

Harper-Collins 2012
First Edition Hardcover 411 pages
Historical Fiction – suspense

This is a multi-layered story with hints of historical undercurrents. While Carl Gustav Pilo aka King Gustav the Third of Sweden lurks behind the curtain on this dark stage, he is ever front and center. The story-line orbits the final months of King Gustav’s reign as an illustrious cast of characters, both fictional and historical, unfurl themselves in and around the words of our narrator, Emil Larsson.

Emil falls into an improbable friendship with Sofia Sparrow. Mrs. Sparrow is the King’s confidant and fortune teller. On one of their many ‘gaming’ nights together, Sofia Sparrow spreads an Octavo of cards for Emil, representing the eight people who are fated to shape his destiny. In his search for these eight, we embark on a journey of mysterious folding fans; unlikely poisons; subterfuges; alliances; political conspiracies; and betrayals. We are given tangled knots that beg to be untied. Morsels to the starving.

Brise fan circa 1770-1820 France Ivory, paper, and tortoiseshell  Handmade -

Brise fan circa 1770-1820 France
Ivory, paper, and tortoiseshell
Handmade –

In our quest to find Emil’s eight, Engelmann dangles loose-ends over the precipice. We, as readers, see them and their dangers. Yet, we run to the edge, anyway. The telling of this tale weaves through the flows of such minor imperfections, seamlessly, treating us to a rare look into 18th century Sweden. I like everything about this book. It’s so much more than the words that are written. An illusion perhaps? A slight before our very eyes?

Memorable characters and detailed descriptive writing moves this story into the intrigue that Engelmann sees fit to engage us in.  And, she does it so well.

King Gustav III of Sweden and his Brothers, 1771 by Alexander Roslin

King Gustav III of Sweden and his Brothers, 1771
by Alexander Roslin

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One Response to “THE STOCKHOLM OCTAVO”

  1. Lady Fancifull June 23, 2014 at 8:59 p06 #

    Lovely review and a gorgeous fan!

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