I loved Genevieve Cogman’s gripping Invisible Library series, so I was pumped to check out Scarlet. This is the first in a historical fantasy trilogy set during the French Revolution. Cogman reimagines the tale of The Scarlet Pimpernel with magic, vampires and suspense.
Revolution is a bloodthirsty business . . . especially when vampires are involved.
It is 1793 and the French Revolution is in full swing. Vampires—usually rich and aristocratic—have slaked the guillotine’s thirst in large numbers. The mysterious Scarlet Pimpernel, a disguised British noble, and his League are heroically rescuing dozens of aristocrats from execution, both human and vampire. And soon they will have an ace up their sleeve: Eleanor Dalton.
Eleanor is working as a housemaid on the estate of a vampire Baroness. Her highest aspiration is to one day become a modiste. But when the Baroness hosts a mysterious noble and his wife, they tell Eleanor she is the spitting image of a French aristocrat, and they convince her to journey to France to aid them in a daring scheme. Soon, Eleanor finds herself in Paris, swept up in magic and intrigue—and chaos—beyond her wildest dreams. But there’s more to fear than ardent Revolutionaries. For Eleanor stumbles across a centuries-old war between vampires and their fiercest enemy. And they’re out for blood. . . .
Scarlet is the first book in a wildly engaging new series from Genevieve Cogman, which reinvents the beloved tale of the Scarlet Pimpernel.
The story that unravels is full of interesting characters, such as our strong and fearless Eleanor. Against the backdrop of the French Revolution, with a bit of magic and vampires, Cogman has proven she can write a fantasy that will captivate everyone – even those who don’t like history.
The Scarlet Pimpernel was a fictional character written by Baroness Orczy. it was a play and a movie adaptation came later, which is the story I am familiar with. It shares the story of an Englishman who rescued men, women and children during the Reign of Terror. In Cogman’s story, it is a group of men and women who rescue France’s aristocrats who also are vampires.
Eleanor is a maid with aspirations of working for a dressmaker in London. Her life changes when the Scarlet Pimpernel discovers she bears a striking resemblance to Queen Marie Antoinette. They enlist her to help aid in her escape. Seeking to better her station, Eleanor agrees.
The tale that unfolds was fascinating, suspenseful and, at times, horrifying. When Eleanor is separated from her party, something happens and I am curious to see how this thread progresses. I will leave you to discover what occurred for yourself. Eleanor will need to escape capture, sharp teeth and avoid the guillotine before the first book in the Scarlet Revolution trilogy comes to a close.
Along the way, we will see her transformed, bargain and skillfully use her wits. The story offers a side dish of romance, intrigue, magic and plenty of action as we traipse across France. Villains and zealots & fearful citizens added to the intensity along with harrowing escapes and dangerous plots.
The story wraps up in a great place with some closure and hints of what is coming. Fans of alternate history, fantasy, vampires, magic and intrigue will want to grab Scarlet. Bravo, Ms. Cogman!
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