Holy Week: A Novel

Holy Week: A Novel

Holy Week: A Novel

Holy Week: A Novel

Excerpt

Holy week in the year 1815. March 19th to 25th. Seven days. Easter week, that year, occurring just at the point when winter turns into spring. . . .

But before plunging into the whirl of events which was agitating Paris on that fateful morning of March 19th, with the dust of rumors, hopes and fears which it was stirring up, the reader may find it useful to remind himself of some of the things that were uppermost in the minds of Parisians, of Frenchmen, and of Europeans generally, in those weeks that preceded Napoleon's brief return to power-- that final bid for empire which was to last barely one hundred days, and which ended on the battlefield of Waterloo.

It is a time of upheaval, a time of decision. One of those moments of history when irrevocable choices must be made--"a tide in the affairs of men," as Shakespeare says, "which, taken at the flood, leads on to fortune; omitted, all the voyage of their life is bound in shallows and in miseries . . ."

Twenty-six years before this story opens--in 1789--the great French Revolution had, it seemed, swept away forever the old feudal order and the monarchy of the Bourbons which had perpetuated it. The heady slogans of freedom, equality and the rights of man had been carried across the length and breadth of Europe, first by the ragged armies of the Revolution, then by the progressively better disciplined, equipped and seasoned armies of Napoleon.

Yet in that spring of 1815 all the questions, all the passions, all . . .

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