The Eagle and the Viper

Written by Loren D. Estleman
Review by Bonnie DeMoss

Napoleon Bonaparte is First Consul of France, but there is a plot afoot to kill him. Written by the brilliant, award-winning Loren D. Estleman, this book takes a look at the attempted assassination of Napoleon on Christmas Eve, 1800, and creates a fictional, second attempt to kill the famous dictator. We follow an intricately crafted tale from France to England and back again, as the Eagle, Napoleon, is pursued by a highly secretive and highly skilled assassin, the Viper.

The characters, from the fictional Viper to the very real Napoleon, are well developed. Besides Napoleon and Josephine, other historical figures appear, such as Georges Cadoudal, a Royalist and one of those involved in the original Christmas Eve assassination attempt. Estleman’s ability to weave the fictional and nonfiction aspects of the story together is masterful. The characters, real and fictional, interact seamlessly to make a fascinating story. The Viper is a cunning master of impersonation and disguise whose pursuit of Napoleon will leave the reader spellbound.

The way of life at that time is described in intricate and realistic detail, as plots and suspicions abound, and everyone is looking over their shoulders. This is a fascinating look by Estleman at the Christmas Eve plot and what could have happened afterwards. The author weaves a masterful tale, full of accurate historical detail and awe-inspiring writing, which I would recommend to anyone interested in Napoleonic history or historical thrillers.