In The Barbed Crown, the sixth tale of rogue and adventurer Ethan Gage by William Dietrich, our hero returns to Paris and London. Against a background of imperial pomp and the gathering clouds of war, Gage plots revenge on Napoleon Bonaparte for the kidnap of his son.
Paris, the “City of Lights,” shines – but alongside its splendor is great squalor. Heroic patriotism rubs against mean ambition, while grand strategy and back-alley conspiracy are never far apart.
While Ethan spies on the French court, his wife, Astiza, works to sabotage Napoleon’s coronation using the Crown of Thorns, a legendary relic said to have come from the Crucifixion itself. But when Napoleon is crowned nonetheless, they flee to England.
At Walmer Castle on the English coast, Gage joins a daring campaign by Smith, Fulton, rocket inventor William Congreve and smuggler Tom Johnstone to halt Napoleon’s intended invasion of England – a campaign which leads Ethan to take a role in the Battle of Trafalgar itself…
Set in 1804, Dietrich's exuberant sixth Ethan Gage adventure finds Gage back in Europe, after his frantic search for Montezuma's treasure in 2012's The Emerald Storm, spying for the British on his sometime friend and usual nemesis, Napoleon Bonaparte, on the eve of the French leader's coronation. The plot twists one way then another, in wildly uproarious fashion, as Gage assisted by his Greek-Egyptian wife, Astiza works his way out of several tight spots and does his best to foil Napoleon's ambitions to invade England. As usual, the action builds to a dramatic climax, this one set during the Battle of Trafalgar, which Gage observes from the crow's nest of a French warship. Along the way, readers will be treated to Dietrich's fascinating touches of historical detail and Gage's infectious personality, one part humble global servant and two parts self-directed opportunist who simply has to be where the action is.