Can she find the courage to defy a king?
In seventeenth-century France, Louis XIV rules with flamboyantambition. From the Hall of Mirrors to the vermin-infested attics of the Chateauat Versailles, courtiers compete to please the king, sacrificing fortune,principles and sacred bonds.
Here, Marie-Josephe de la Croix looks forward to assisting herbrother, Yves, in the scientific study of the rare sea monster he has captured.But when Marie-Josephe makes adiscovery about the sea creature that threatens all her brother, the courtiersand the King understand, it is left to her to defy the institutions that powerher world.
But in the decadent court of KingLouis, where morality is skewed and corruption reigns - will anyone listen to asingle voice? Somehow, she must find the courage to follow her heart andher convictions - even at the cost of changing her life forever.
Inspired by tales of ancient sea-monsters, McIntyre (The Crystal Star) spins a marvelous alternative-history fable about greed and goodness, power and pathos set at the 17th century court of Louis XIV, France's glittering Sun King. At breathtaking (and chilly) Versailles, Louis pays for his glory by sacrificing his comfort and privacy. He lusts after bodily immortality and unending treasure, and he hopes to find both by devouring the entrails of a sea-woman trapped by Jesuit explorer Yves de la Croix. Enthralled by the creature's songs and telepathic tales, Yves's musician sister Marie-Josephe must defy brother, king and pope to save the sea-woman from the court butcher. Marie-Josephe isn't alone in her proto-ecofeminist struggle. She finds an ally (and lover) in Lucien, Comte de Chretien, a great-hearted dwarf whose inner pain and essential nobility recall Cyrano and Quasimodo. Drawing on deep research (detailed in an afterword), McIntyre vividly re-creates a Versailles poised on the cusp between alchemy and modern science. Her imaginings enliven her history with wonder, but, as in the best fantasy, they serve less to dazzle by their inventiveness than to illuminate brilliantly real-world truthss--here, humanity's responses, base and noble, when confronting the unknown.