The Cavalier of the Apocalypse
In the icy winter of 1786, hunger, cold, and seething frustration with the iron grip of France’s absolute monarchy drive poor and rich alike to outright defiance. Slums, fashionable cafés, and even aristocratic mansions echo with discontent and the first warning signals of the approaching turmoil of 1789.
Paris’s cemeteries are foul and disease-ridden during the last decades of the eighteenth century, but no one, including penniless writer Aristide Ravel, expects to find a man with his throat cut lying dead in a churchyard, surrounded by strange Masonic symbols. Already suspected of stirring up the people’s anger by writing against the royal court, Ravel must now evade the ever-present police and clear his name of murder. His search for answers amid the city’s literary and intellectual demimonde–with the aid of friends who, he quickly learns, may not be all that they seem–leads him into a bewildering tangle of conspiracy, secret societies, royal scandal, and imminent revolution, which grows only more complex when the corpse disappears.
(85,000 words; ebook $7.99 USD)
Reviews of The Cavalier of the Apocalypse
Reading The Cavalier of the Apocalypse is like being in France just before the Revolution. Ms. Alleyn has managed to capture the spirit of the time in the angry squalor of the poor against the backdrop of titled privilege. But the story is not a social commentary—it never stops being a splendid mystery, packed with historical detail, red herrings, surprising twists, and even a little romance. If this is your first Aristide Ravel mystery you will want to dive into the sequels as soon as you can—promise. —The Historical Novels Review
After two mysteries set in the aftermath of the French Revolution, Alleyn recounts how her series sleuth, Aristide Ravel, became a detective in this superb prequel set in 1786. … Alleyn expertly captures the politics and atmosphere of the period, seamlessly integrating them into a traditional whodunit plot. —Publishers Weekly (starred review)
A series of detective stories tied to the French Revolution? It may sound odd, but Susanne Alleyn makes it work. … The plot brings together everyone from the Masons to the duc d’Orléans, and Francophiles will appreciate the historic detail and rich atmospheric elements that abound. —The Christian Science Monitor
Finding an author who creates a good detective can be a great find, but when the author combines that with a multilevel plot and historical accuracy, the result is an absorbing, page-turning read. … Alleyn’s writing includes incredible historical detail about life in revolutionary France as well as exciting detective mysteries. —The Poughkeepsie Journal
A murder in 1786 Paris turns a hack writer into a first-rate detective. … An intriguing prequel to Ravel’s revolutionary adventures with a nice twist in the denouement. —Kirkus Reviews
Known for her impeccable plotting and fully defined characters, Alleyn maintains her high standards here. —Library Journal (starred review)