The Left-Handed God
by I.J. Parker
Freiberg 1763. The allied armies of Empress Maria Theresa meet the Prussian advance. During the first skirmish, a young officer falls. The dying man begs a young ensign to deliver a letter to his father, but Ensign Franz von Langsdorff, subsequently severely wounded himself, returns home a cripple, unable to honor this promise or support his impoverished family. In her disappointment, his widowed mother inflicts her ill temper on his sister Augusta, who struggles to hold the household together.
Eventually, the kind-hearted elderly lawyer Stiebel helps the wounded Franz to heal from his physical and psychological wounds, but by then someone is trying to kill for the letter. Together, Franz and Stiebel decide the letter must be delivered quickly at all cost.
Franz and his mentor travel to Mannheim (pursued by Franz’s mother and sister), where the killer waits. The letter holds a dangerous secret concerning a plot against the monarch. Before Franz can hand it over, the plotters interfere, and the assassin sets a trap for Franz and his sister.
This coming-of-age novel contains real historical characters and events and portrays eighteenth century life as a dark comedy of manners where a young man confronts his deepest fears and a young woman finds unexpected love.
(90,000 words; e-book $6.99 USD)