THE THREE EMPERORS by William Dietrich

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An Ethan Gage Adventure

Dietrich continues his series of novels about the adventures of Ethan Gage traveling the world and encountering the French emperor Napoleon at various periods of the great man’s military feats.

After a quick witted escape from death at the naval battle of Trafalgar, Gage sets out to find and rescue his wife Astiza and son Harry, who have fled to avoid capture and fallen into the hands of a ruthless mystic. The mystic lusts after Astiza and to keep him away from his mother, Harry manages to disfigure him by hurling acid at his face.

The pair escape retribution by indicating that Astiza, through her skills in alchemy, will be able to turn base material into gold, and help the mystic find a fabled automaton rumored to be able to tell the future. Astiza manages to keep her unwanted suitor at bay by her experiments, promising to comply with his demands until Ethan finally reaches her and his son.

En route to find his family, Ethan is drafted into the French army and is forced to take part in the battle of Austerlitz, thought to be Napoleon’s greatest victory. He survives the fighting and manages to flee the army with the help of a Jewish soldier and continues on the journey looking for Astiza.

Dietrich delves into the metaphysics of the period when describing the search for a grave containing the automaton as well as the body of the man that created it. It is a departure for the author but well done in terms of making the story better and could have been accomplished by the skills of the period if the imagination was available. It is certain that Dietrich will continue with the characters created in this series, and there are many possibilities still open for their adventures. The research into the early 1800s, Napoleon’s time frame of action, is evident and while literary license is used in many aspects of the novels, the main events are well delineated for the reader.

5/14 Paul Lane

THE THREE EMPERORS by William Dietrich. Harper (May 6, 2014). ISBN 978-0062194107. 384p.

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