The big news this time is that we have signed the contract for the sequel “Spies and Subterfuge”. Editing is early in the planning stage now but the novel could be released either early next year, or if Plan A works, it could be out this Fall. Which is good, because I have already had a couple of local purchasers asking when the sequel will appear.
It means I can use some info about the sequel now…as long as I don’t give away any spoilers. While Steam and Stratagem has the start of Lord Bond’s new spying mission to Antwerp, the sequel has a lot more spying and more characters involved. Napoleon’s spy-master Joseph Fouché, le Duc d’Outrante, is in several scenes, trying to terrorize some of the team to make them panic and lead him to everyone else.
He is an interesting character in history, too. He was first a revolutionary republican and became deputy of a revolutionary département in 1792. In 1793, he and a colleague crushed a royalist uprising in La Vendée with cruel thoroughness and he was soon given the position of Commissioner of the Republic in another department. He later put down another revolt and became known as the “Executioner of Lyons” for his sending about 2000 citizens of the city to their deaths by firing squad and by firing grapeshot from cannons at chained prisoners.
So, that gives you an idea of the man Lord Bond’s spies are up against. He first became Minister for Police in Paris in 1799 under the Directorate. When Napoleon returned from Egypt he switched sides and helped destroy the Directorate, for which Napoleon kept him on as chief of police. But on becoming First Consul in 1802 he decided Fouché was too powerful and had him removed.
But Fouché was too good a police chief and spy-master to stay out of power for long. In 1804 when Napoleon became Emperor, Fouché was again made Minister of Police and later given the title of the Duc d’Outrante. I’ll skip more of the detail of his on and off again relationship with Napoleon, who never trusted him, and head to 1814 and 1815 when Napoleon was being advised by his marshals to abdicate as the armies of the 6th Coalition advanced on Paris. Fouché, as a senator, advised the French senate to make peace with the Royalists and send for Louis XVIII to return as King.
Anyway, to cut a long story short, when Napoleon abdicated a second time, after the loss of the Battle of Waterloo, Fouché became the head of the Provisional Government that the now deposed Napoleon had to apply to in order to ask for a passport from the British Government, that would allow him to find sanctuary in America. The Brits refused and one can imagine that Fouché shed no tears over that—a helpless Napoleon on the South Atlantic island of St Helena probably suited him very well. In my novel I have the scene where a British chargė d’affaires visits Fouchė about the request—want to guess which fictional character is the British official?
Louis XVIII appointed Fouché his Chief of Police when he became King of France, although the arrangement did not last long before he was dismissed and given the post of French ambassador to Saxony. In 1816 he was proscribed by the King’s government and exiled. He died in Trieste in 1820, but descendants of his son still live in Sweden.
I have lately been looking at Pinterest pages about reading….pinned by readers. It is inspirational for a writer to read some of the comments about books that attest to the idea that writing is a service to society even more than an art. And it’s not all about making the best-seller list. I want to connect with people who love books through my own writing…if only they can find me. If you know any dedicated readers you might send them to me.