Wednesday, June 5, 2013

Remember When . . . Revolution Loomed?

Versailles, the setting of Fairchild's Lady

Tired of seeing this cover yet? ;-) (How could you be, right? So lovely, LOL.) And have you seen my Pinterest board for the book? Check it out here:

Since I'm still celebrating the release of this free novella, I thought today I'd chat a bit about its setting. A departure from my American-set historicals that take up the rest of the series, this one follows Isaac Fairchild, a character everyone seemed to love in Ring of Secrets, on another covert assignment--in France, on the eve of revolution.

Being a history lover, it was fun for me to find another war to set this little book around, one that has certainly been the backdrop of its fair share of books! In a novella I obviously didn't have the time to explore much of the revolution that turned into the Terror, so I decided to keep it simple and have Fairchild travel to Versailles at the very beginning of the uprising, climaxing at the storming of the Bastille.

France, you see, was in rather dire financial straits. Bankrupt. They tried to balance things out a bit by raising the taxes on the rich, but the nobility simply refused to pay them. (American-me has a hard time imagining an entire class just saying, "No thanks. I think I won't pay that higher rate." LOL) Which means the poor had to take up the slack...but couldn't. So while the rich were partying in style at Versailles, their villeins were starving mere miles away--and because the court was so cut off from the rest of the country, being ensconced as they were in the palace, many of them didn't even know.

The class system in France were broken up into Estates. The First Estate being the priests, the Second the nobility, and the Third the commoners. Well, right about then a special meeting was called, called the Estates General. They were all getting together to figure this thing out. Revolution, officially, wasn't on the agenda. But the Third Estate had had enough. They rejected that name, called themselves an assembly instead and basically held the court hostage, saying they wouldn't budge until they were given a constitution.

Though the Revolution quickly escalated and turned far bloodier than America's was, at the start, they had no interest in ousting their king--they loved him. They merely wanted him to recognize them as something more than a servant class, something deserving of a fair chance. And for a while after they stormed the old prison (which was more armory than prison at that point), they were happy with Louis's overtures...until they weren't anymore.

Fairchild's Lady ends soon after the rioting in the streets of Paris that day when the Bastille was fired upon, but hovering over the story is that certain knowledge that in the coming months and years, anyone with noble blood had to either flee...or face the guillotine.

I also got to weave this into the next full Culper Ring book, Whispers from the Shadows, which CBD will have in stock in less than a month (woo hoo!!!). Not only is my heroine the daughter of these folks from Fairchild's Lady, but my hero's best friend came from a family of French nobility who fled to America at the start of the French Revolution. Alain Arnaud was a lot of fun to write, and I hope everyone enjoys his brooding Gallic attitude as much as I did. ;-)

Vive le France!


  1. Vive le France!!! Such a nice post on the start of the French Revolution. I just hope getting excited about things like this doesn't make me a nerd.

    Okay, right. It's probably too late for the nerd part. Can I hope liking this kind of ting doesn't make me an even BIGGER nerd???

    1. It's a very happy nerd-dom. ;-) You have the most excellent company, LOL.