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Dreams Of Empire Hardcover – March 1, 1996

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Product Details

  • Hardcover: 248 pages
  • Publisher: Kensington (March 1, 1996)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 1575660202
  • ISBN-13: 978-1575660202
  • Product Dimensions: 1 x 6 x 9 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 15.2 ounces
  • Average Customer Review: 4.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (1 customer review)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #4,291,285 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Editorial Reviews

From Publishers Weekly

Lord Elgin, Napoleon Bonaparte and the Egyptian Pharaoh Shepseskaf are but three of the world-renowned figures with whom Mackin (The Queen's War, 1991) enlivens this exemplary historical romance. Lovely Marguerite Verdier survived the Terror in France with her beloved husband, Michel, but finally flees his philandering in order to serve as an illustrator for one of Napoleon's archeologists in Egypt. In August 1799, Michel shows up in Cairo, choosing a fateful day on which to reclaim his wife and to pursue a mission for Talleyrand: that evening, a young Arab sickens and later dies of coffee poured by Marguerite for the future emperor, who declined the cup. Jailed, Marguerite must trust Michel to prove her innocent. The dead man's father, meanwhile, contemplates revenge, as does his widow, who plans to draw the murderer into completing an antiquities transaction for the legendary artifact "Woman Carried Away." This stela, its history recounted in tantalizing flashbacks to ancient Egypt and Rome, becomes the common thread that ties past to the novel's present, and sundry personages to a dangerous appointment in the Valley of the Caliphs. Plenty of romance and intrigue, vital characters and exquisite details of both period and place ensure a vigorous and satisfying read.
Copyright 1996 Reed Business Information, Inc.

From Kirkus Reviews

The author of The Frenchwoman (1989) and The Queen's War (1991) again imaginatively (but responsibly, judiciously) samples French history and here constructs a witty, lightly satirical, entertaining amalgam of murder, greed, and revenge, all peculiarly attached to a kind of treasure hunt for an ancient Egyptian stela-- a slab of stone picturing the goddess Hathor (appropriately, the goddess of love and laughter). The story takes place in 1798 Cairo, during Napoleon Bonaparte's occupation of Egypt, with millennia-spanning stela- sightings in the fourth century b.c. and the fourth century a.d. At the start, Napoleon, glory-bound, is headed for Egypt, bringing along with his army a team of scholars to record the (generally unknown) history of Egypt and to find and claim its artifacts. Chief among the prizes is a stela thought to have once been owned by Alexander the Great. The panel, intended for a royal tomb, has a unique history: In 3737 b.c., a dying pharaoh had been robbed of immortality as the slab of stone destined to bear his name beside the image of the goddess Hathor (who would rescue him from death) was hidden by his nasty son-in-law. The pharaoh's daughter took revenge by means of a drink spiked with ground glass--a libation identical to one used in Napoleon's coffee during a dinner in Cairo. Luckily, the General refuses the drink, but a sheik's nephew dies. A young French couple, the Verdiers, banished to a temporary prison as suspects, ponder in Nick-and-Nora fashion: Who would try to knock off Napoleon? Meanwhile, there's a stela-hunt afoot. Among the hunters: a stone-eyed collector, Napoleon's doctor; the fiery Turkish widow of the sheik's nephew; a Turkish sheik hoping to bribe the fatuous collector Lord Elgin; Lord Elgin himself; and the Verdiers, hoping to return to Napoleon's good graces. There'll be night journeys, betrayals large and small, spying and mayhem. All this during the Nile's flooding, a ``season of charms and spells.'' A richly intelligent and charming spellbinder. -- Copyright ©1996, Kirkus Associates, LP. All rights reserved.

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Most Helpful Customer Reviews

2 of 2 people found the following review helpful By Diane Scott Lewis on October 25, 2007
Format: Paperback
The author's prose is lyrical, the story fast-paced. I read this a few years ago in hardback. I'm surprised it hasn't received more accolades.
I was only disappointed when Napoleon disappears too early in the novel.
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More About the Author

Jeanne Mackin is the author of several historical novels. Her most recent is The Beautiful American. She has worked as a journalist for several publications, and as a university research and science writer. She lives in the Finger Lakes region of New York State, with her husband, artist Steve Poleskie. Jeanne was the recipient of a creative writing fellowship from the American Antiquarian Society and her journalism has won awards from the Council for the Advancement and Support of Education.

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Praise for The Beautiful American

"Achingly beautiful and utterly mesmerizing..." -- Jennifer Robson, author of Somewhere in France

"Jeanne Mackin's luminous novel about Man Ray and his model-mistress Lee Miller evokes the iridescence of 1920s Paris when youth and artistic freedom and sexual excess were all that mattered. The Beautiful American, which readers will rank right up there with The Paris Wife, takes readers from the giddiness of the flapper era to the grittiness of World War II. It is a brilliant, beautifully written literary masterpiece. I love this book!
--Sandra Dallas, New York Times bestselling author of Fallen Women

"The Beautiful American will transport you to expat Paris and from there take you on a journey through the complexities of a friendship as it is inflected through the various lenses of nostalgia, pity, celebrity, jealousy, and -- ultimately -- love. Jeanne Mackin breathes new life into such luminaries as Man Ray, Picasso, and, of course, the titular character, Lee Miller, while at the same time offering up a wonderfully human and sympathetic protagonist in Nora Tours."
--Suzanne Rindell, author of The Other Typist

"Jeanne Mackin's portrait of Europe in the years encompassing the Second World War is achingly beautiful and utterly mesmerizing, and her vividly drawn characters, the legendary Lee Miller among them, come heartbreakingly alive in their obsessions, tragedies, and triumphs. The Beautiful American is sure to appeal to fans of Paula McLain's The Paris Wife and Erika Robuck's Call Me Zelda, or indeed to anyone with a taste for impeccably researched and beautifully written historical fiction." --Jennifer Robson, author of Somewhere in France

"From Poughkeepsie to Paris, from the razzmatazz of the '20s to the turmoil of World War Two and the perfume factories of Grasse, Mackin draws you into the world of expatriate artists and photographers and tells a story of love, betrayal, survival and friendship. As complex as the fragrances Mackin writes about, The Beautiful American is an engaging and unforgettable novel. I couldn't put it down." -Renee Rosen, author of Doll Face

"An exquisitely imagined and beautifully rendered story of the talented, tragic, gorgeous Lee Miller." Becky E. Conekin, author of Lee Miller in Fashion

"Jeanne Mackin blends a tale as intoxicating as the finest fragrance. Spanning wars both personal and global, The Beautiful American leaves its essence of love, loss, regret, and hope long after the novel concludes."
--Erika Robuck, author of Call Me Zelda and Fallen Beauty

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