The Three Emperors: An Ethan Gage Adventure

Written by William Dietrich
Review by Shannon Gallagher

The Three Emperors is the 7th installment of the Ethan Gage series, and while this was my first encounter with Ethan, it didn’t take me long to fall under his spell. After surviving the Battle of Trafalgar, Ethan is making his way across the continent to Prague to reunite with his wife, Astiza, and their son, Harry. Astiza, an Egyptian priestess, is on a mission of her own. She seeks the fabled Brazen Head, a medieval automaton that purportedly can tell the future.

The Three Emperors offers two adventurers with two voices within one novel. The reader follows the wily Gage as he dodges, weaves, and slides his way across a field of war as he is continually plagued by his reputation as a scoundrel. Astiza also relates her own story as she searches for the Brazen Head, and I found her character especially intriguing. She is an intelligent and beautiful woman, and as Astiza narrates, the reader is treated to her mental assessment of given situations and how she would play each moment to her best advantage.

The novel is filled with a myriad of personalities, each with his or her own agenda. The physical landscape is another important dimension as the fictional characters make their way across the European landscape. One can almost imagine catching a glimpse of Gage as he disappears into the Cesky Krumlov Theater.

I thoroughly enjoyed following the adventures of Ethan Gage and Astiza and found Dietrich’s novel historically accurate with an especially interesting underlying tension of mysticism and science. A fast-paced and engaging read.