Blind Rabbit Press, $22.95, ISBN 978-0-977-76360-3
Historical Fiction, 2010
In 1793, Edmont Charles Genet arrives in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, as the Minister Plenipotentiary to the United States of America. Intoxicated by the warm welcome of the locals that seem to hail him as a hero of freedom, he soon decides that he is less impressed with President George Washington, who seems a bit too… non-Republican, let’s just say, for his liking. At any rate, Citizen Genet is more concerned with a greater mission: to free Louisiana from the Spanish tyrants and deliver it to France, surely the center of all that is good and what not.
Citizen Genet has no ally in President Washington, but the Secretary of State, a Mr Jefferson, privately agrees with him that having freedom of access into Louisiana would be a great thing indeed as the strategic location of that place will be great for trades and all. However, America must remain neutral on all appearances – anything that goes wrong will be blamed squarely on those involved openly in the plot.
Several players are drawn into Citizen Garnet’s plot. We have George Rogers Clark, a troubled former General in the Revolutionary who hopes that he will pull off a heroic stunt to redeem himself. His younger brother Young Lt William Clark will eventually befriend a man called Meriweather Lewis (who are also featured in the author’s previous effort To the Ends of the Earth). They and several other secondary characters will find their lives changed as they find themselves knee deep in Citizen Genet’s grand plan to further the glory of France.
The writing in this book is definitely top-notch, with a well-balanced sprinkling of humor amidst fast-paced action scenes and quiet scenes of heavy emotional drama. I am not familiar with the actual history of these events, so I can’t vouch for the historical authenticity of the story. I can say, though, that is an interesting and entertaining historical fiction. I especially find Citizen Genet’s portrayal intriguing – he comes off as a buffoon at times, but there is definitely a calculating sharp mind in his head. As for the others, they are likable types with various degrees of angst. I still feel that the author is better at creating male characters than female ones, as the principal female character comes off like a one-dimensional martyr more than anything else, but still, there are plenty of entertaining males to go around.