Dreams of Empire

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Publisher Description

"A richly intelligent and charming spellbinder."—Kirkus Review   


The year is 1799, a time of dreams and a time of conquest, a time of discovery and a time of greed.

Fresh from his triumphs in Italy, where he plundered Rome's treasures and filled the Louvre with the spoils of war, Napoleon has crossed the Mediterranean Sea dreaming of new worlds to conquer. His journey takes him to Cairo, the seat of an ancient empire—and the center of the Corsican conqueror's hopes for new glory. Marguerite Verdier is an illustrator attached to the contingent of more than 140 scholars accompanying Napoleon on his expedition. She views the trip as a way of forgetting the charming philanderer of a husband she has left behind. From Scotland, Lord Elgin, the new British ambassador to the Ottoman Empire, also sets sail for Egypt. What these travelers share is the desire for a new beginning—and a legendary treasure lost for thousands of years.

The treasure is called The Woman Carried Away. Swathed in ancient myth and mystery, she is the stuff that dreams are made of. Rumored to have been stolen from a pharaoh's tomb, she could be Napoleon's grandest conquest—and he will use all the weapons at his command to possess her. To Marguerite, she is a tragic figure. Given to Cleopatra by Mark Antony, the Woman represents the sorrow and unrealized dreams of all women. For Elgin, she is an obsession that will not die. A primitive and elusive artifact, the Woman is history's most coveted prize—and he wants to be the man to restore her to civilization.

But they are not the only ones who seek the treasure. Tallyrand, France's most powerful statesman, covets her, as does the wily Sultan of the crumbling Ottoman Empire. Yet she is a prize that does not come without a price: Said to confer unusual and mystical powers on anyone who owns her, The Woman Carried Away also carries a curse that brings tragedy and destruction to all who come within her orbit. As the search begins for the 3,000-year-old stela, Napoleon fears that his power is dangerously slipping. And Marguerite's own fate hangs in the balance when she is accused of plotting his murder. Even an unlikely alliance with her estranged husband Michel, now the French envoy to Cairo, may not be able to save Marguerite from the guillotine.

Epic in scope, played out on a grand, lavish scale, DREAMS OF EMPIRE also surges with intimate human drama. Weaving her way between the time of the pharaohs and the time of Napoleon, Jeanne Mackin gives us a richly imagined story of pride, love, and obsession...a stunning portrait of a defeated pharaoh and a doomed conqueror; of an empire buried in the sands of time; and of an indomitable woman who will settle for nothing less than all life has to offer—and everything her heart desires.

Fiction & Literature
February 10
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