Knight of Eon, a man, a woman, a mixture of the two? This atypical character from the 18th century really existed during the reign of Louis XV. Secret agent, ambassador, dragon, involved as much in the politics of the Great as in the intrigues of the Court, he has passed into posterity ... because of his gender. But above all, he's a human being.
The Chevalier d'Éon is a French spy, famous for his dress: he pretended to be a woman. Impressed by the exceptional talent of imitation of the young man, and passionate about espionage and diplomacy, Louis XV decides to engage in the service of the "King's Secret" and send him on a secret mission abroad.
Charles Geneviève de Beaumont, more commonly known as the Chevalier d´Eon, has two strengths: imitation and disguise. He can thus pass himself off as a young woman and soon finds himself in an inextricable situation, involving the good King Louis XV. Luckily, Eon is outspoken, spontaneous, honest and sincere; which earned him the recognition and affection of the king, then being assigned to the King's Secret, finally sent on a mission to France.
From epic situations to comical twists and turns, we find him at the Court of Russia… will he succeed, rather will she succeed in approaching the Czarina?
Although this novel is more intended for "young people", it can be read very well by adults. This work is a good introduction to the intermediate period of the reign of Louis XV - after the Sun King and before Louis XVI.
This is an opportunity for the reader to join the "King's Secret", his cabinet of secret agents and spies, to understand the use of codes used to communicate between countries; get to know the Knight of Eon better - man or woman or man disguised as a woman - an atypical character, but touching; to rub shoulders with Czarina Elisabeth Petrovna succeeding her father Peter the Great and to familiarize herself with the customs of the Russian Court, different from those of Versailles.
Thanks to small chapters, a fresh and lively writing as well as repartees provoking giggles, not to mention funny and comical situations, the author has succeeded in attaching us to the main characters. Wish them good luck !
Anyway… a good 1st volume while eagerly awaiting the continuation of the adventures of our charming Knight of Eon.
Anne-Sophie Silvestre was born in 1960. She is the author, in the Flammarion Jeunesse collection, of numerous historical novels, as well as of a trilogy entitled Marie-Antoinette. She is a doctor and lives in Paris.
Knight of Eon - Secret Agent of the King: the Mask -, by Anne Sophie Silvestre. Flammarion, January 2011.