*Starred Review* When deciding to base a novel on an actual historical event, writers customarily choose a time frame of a few years, a month, or at least a week. But just a few hours? Nevertheless, Pagani uses that narrow window of time with intensity and ingenuity. On May 31, 1906, in the Spanish capital of Madrid, young Spanish king Alfonso XIII married the British princess Victoria Eugenie of Battenberg. The newlyweds, en route to the royal palace and a celebratory banquet, are made targets of an assassination attempt: an anarchist’s bomb is tossed in their direction, and although it leaves the pair physically unharmed, footmen and bystanders are gruesomely killed. In approximately 100 pages, this novel, on the short list for France’s Prix du Premier Roman, brings to the reader’s rapt attention what occupied the thoughts of the three major participants in the short drama: the 20-year-old handsome and popular king; his 19-year-old bride, unfamiliar with both her new husband and his kingdom; and the man who tried to kill them as part of the Europe-wide anarchist program to end royal lives. The king and queen have on their minds their imminent sexual congress: he already experienced, she with limited knowledge but curious. The anarchist’s thoughts are concerned with the care with which he must carry out his project. At once chilly and beautiful, this novel brilliantly explores new ground for fiction. --Brad Hooper
About the Author
Robert Pagani, seventy-four years old, has been an interpreter for the United Nations. He is the author of a number of plays performed or read on Radio Suisse Romande. THE PRINCESS, THE KING AND THE ANARCHIST was shortlisted for the distinguished Prix du Premier Roman.