Synopses & Reviews
In this latest adventure by New York Times
bestselling author William Dietrich, Ethan Gage is out to foil Napoleon's coronation as emperor, play double agent between France and England, and turn the tide of war — while attempting to save his own life and his marriage.
Gage fought beside Napoleon Bonaparte in Egypt and was his agent in Italy, America, and Greece. But this relationship, which at the best of times was uneasy, has gone sour, and now Ethan wants to make Napoleon pay for kidnapping his son, Harry, and nearly killing his wife, Astiza.
Smuggled into France with a beautiful royalist agent, Gage is determined to thwart Bonaparte's ambitions to take Europe. Surprises abound as a conspiracy collapses, Astiza reappears at Gage's side, and agents on all fronts try to recruit Ethan to their cause. Desperate, he devises a mad plan to sabotage Napoleon's coronation by replacing the power-hungry emperor's crown of golden laurel with a religious relic — the Crown of Thorns purportedly worn by Christ at his crucifixion. It is a scheme that requires a daring theft, perfect timing, and trust among the plotters; when it goes awry, Gage is soon on the run to England.
There Ethan joins a circle of brilliant renegades, including Robert Fulton, designer of the first submarine; rocket artillery pioneer Sir William Congreve; and smuggler Tom Johnstone. As two empires face off at sea, Gage is plunged into the decisive and lethal Battle of Trafalgar, trapped on board a French ship as Nelson's Victory bears down on him.
Moving from the glittering boulevards and squalid back alleys of Napoleonic France to the high seas of Regency England, filled with romance, danger, intrigue, and glory, The Barbed Crown is a thrilling romp that sees Ethan Gage once again embroiled in European history... and the fate of the modern world.
“Brilliantly conceived and crafted from the first word. Dietrich puts great characters in seemingly impossible scenarios on every page. A fun, fast, exhilarating read. I haven't read a historical novel this good since Ken Follet's Pillars of the Earth.” Robert Dugoni, author of The Conviction
“I am a big fan of William Dietrich's Ethan Gage novels and The Barbed Crown is a great addition to the series. Gage is a rascal and hes in trouble again....An exciting, funny, and educational read.” Phillip Margolin, author of Capitol Murder
“Dietrich's creation Ethan Gage is no typical action hero....Dietrich has the Gage series down to a formula, blending history with entertaining tall tales and a good deal of irreverence.” Kirkus Reviews
“What a blast! The Barbed Crown is as funny as it is smart....It is impossible not to love Ethan Gage. It is impossible not to love this book!” Garth Stein, author of The Art of Racing in the Rain
“Ethan Gage is not a man to let the grass grow under his feet. A non-stop page-turning adventure of wit, entertaining history, and characters who roll with the punches of fate.” Diana Gabaldon, author of the Outlander series
“Exuberant....Along the way readers will be treated to Dietrich's fascinating historical detail and Gage's infectious personality, one part humble global servant and two parts self-directed opportunist who simply has to be where the action is.” Publishers Weekly
“Rich in historical detail....The battle of Trafalgar is narrated magnificently. There are also plots, twists, and counterplots along with searches for religious relics....Historical fiction fans will relish this over-the-top romp as they wallow in the color and the history.” Library Journal
“Utilizing his trademark combination of wit, wile, and homespun American common sense, Ethan successfully integrates himself into the sophisticated intrigue of the Old World.” Booklist
In The Barbed Crown
, the sixth tale of rogue and adventurer Ethan Gage by William Dietrich, our hero returns to Paris and London. Against a background of imperial pomp and the gathering clouds of war, Gage plots revenge on Napoleon Bonaparte for the kidnap of his son.
Paris, the “City of Lights,” shines — but alongside its splendor is great squalor. Heroic patriotism rubs against mean ambition, while grand strategy and back-alley conspiracy are never far apart.
While Ethan spies on the French court, his wife, Astiza, works to sabotage Napoleons coronation using the Crown of Thorns, a legendary relic said to have come from the Crucifixion itself. But when Napoleon is crowned nonetheless, they flee to England.
At Walmer Castle on the English coast, Gage joins a daring campaign by Smith, Fulton, rocket inventor William Congreve and smuggler Tom Johnstone to halt Napoleon's intended invasion of England — a campaign which leads Ethan to take a role in the Battle of Trafalgar itself…
About the Author
William Dietrich is the author of twelve novels, including five previous Ethan Gage titles—Napoleon's Pyramids, The Rosetta Key, The Dakota Cipher, The BarbaryPirates, and The Emerald Storm. Dietrich is also a Pulitzer Prize-winning journalist, historian, and naturalist. A winner of the PNBA Award for Nonfiction, he lives in Washington State.