Synopsis Cossacks In Paris – Historical fiction
On the eve of Napoleon's Russian Campaign a conscripted engineer gets swept up in events that will forever alter his life and all Europe.
HOW FAR WILL ONE MAN GO FOR LOVE AND FREEDOM?
Rebellious engineer Breutier Armande is drafted into the Grande Armeé on the eve of Napoleon's 1812 Russian war campaign. On a spying mission to St. Petersburg he meets Kaarina, daughter of the counselor to Tsar Alexander I.
The pair soon fall in love -- but Kaarina is betrothed to Agripin, a brooding Cossack and a favorite of the Tsar. When she refuses him, Agripin kidnaps her, sowing a showdown to the death between the two young men.
Risking a firing squad, Breutier deserts Napoleon's army during the war. Dodging the vengeance of the world's most powerful rulers catapults him onto a perilous quest to hunt down his greatest enemy.
Interweaving the characters' personal dramas with the battles in Europe forms the core of the story. The conflict peaks at the moment when, for the first time in 400 years, foreign armies invaded France, leaving behind Cossacks in Paris.
Cossacks In Paris
By Jeffrey Perren
Excerpt from Chapter 6
Breutier stood panting in a corner outside the palace, nestled between some holly bushes and a wall just higher than his head. It was not a safe place to hide for very long, he knew. It would take only a single guard to glance down the length of the wall and he would unquestionably be spotted. There were many possible hiding spots around the grounds, but between the nighttime weather and lack of water he wouldn't last long. He had to assume orders had been given not to let him pass any gate, and he couldn't possibly scale the surrounding wall.
He looked around, hot for an escape route.
Then his view landed on a pipe running up a wall to the third floor. He estimated it to be about twenty meters further from where he thought the library was. From the design, he guessed it was of French design. Engineers from Europe had been working in Russia for over a hundred years, but this pipe was new. Obviously, someone had installed indoor plumbing recently in at least one part of the palace. And he had a hunch who had suggested it. He used the pipe to climb the wall.
The moisture on the pipe made the climb difficult, but he had good toe holds from the wall brick. Now all he had to do was make it all the way up without being spotted from below. He had reached the second floor when on his periphery he noticed a guard rounding the corner. Fortunately, the man hadn't thought to look up to find him. Yet.
Breutier's muscles strained to hold his position while the guard sauntered away. When he rounded the other corner, Breutier scrambled the rest of the way up like a panther after a doe.
At the third floor he raised a leg sideways and just managed to get his boot's toe onto the parapet of the balcony. He wouldn't be able to hold on to the pipe and slide the other foot onto the base. All he could do was push off and hope to generate enough lateral momentum to reach.
He had to avoid going too far, since jumping off the low wall onto the balcony floor would alert anyone on the other side of the French windows. But if he didn't push hard enough, he'd tumble down the three stories to the stone below.
He took a deep breath and shoved as hard as he dared. It proved more than enough to get him onto the parapet, but too hard to prevent him falling onto the balcony floor. To soften the noise he tucked his head and rolled over onto his back.
It hadn't been soft enough. He could see a figure behind the thin curtains move toward him. He had nowhere to hide. The tall glass doors covered the entire width of the balcony.
Kaarina opened the doors as Breutier backed against the balcony rails, whipping his head left and right to seek an escape. He had no way of knowing of her attempt to block Agripin. She was Finnish and, so far as he knew, loyal to its ruling Russian regime. He spun around and looked over at the pipe, debating whether to jump for it.
“Desya, come inside, quick!” she whispered harshly.
He spun back and looked at her eyes, gray now in the fading evening light. Only the candlelight from inside illuminated the gold streaks. But he could see well enough to make out the smile beneath the concerned expression in her eyes. He moved away from the balcony's edge and into the room as she backed away from the door frame.
“My name is not Desya,” he said in a normal tone of voice in French. “It's Breutier. I'm an engineer in Napoleon's army.”
Amazon links – Cossacks In Paris
“A long indulgence! Set around love and war in Napoleonic times. Breutier Armande meets Kaarina while on a spying mission and falls in love, but she is already betrothed to Agripin, this triangle forms the heart of this enthralling novel.” Barbara Goldie - Kindle Book Review
“Mr Perren subtly weaves the tribulations and triumphs of his richly-drawn fictional protagonists into the chaotic political and social upheaval that followed the rise of the Napoleon in Europe.” Robert D. Winefield Amazon
“I would definitely recommend this book, especially to anyone who enjoys historical novels. This isn't one that will bore you at all- it will have you biting your nails, feeling the emotion of the characters, and the tension created by Napoleon and Czar Alexander.” Desert Rose Reviews
“This engaging story was such a delight to read. Jeffrey writes with precision, a reason for everything! He expertly mixes so many emotions and situations into this tale that I would be hard-pressed to name its genre. You will be forgiven if you burst out laughing, or cry, or fret, or swoon. I know that I did! A very delicious treat!” Lisa Doby
“This book has something for everyone: adventure, strategic battles, history, and romance. Mr. Perren doesn't shy away from creating strong-willed and intelligent female characters that are totally believable even in this historical context. I wanted more! An enjoyable read.” C. Wood
Jeffrey Perren is an American novelist, educated in philosophy at UCLA and in physics at UC Irvine. He was born in Independence, MO. Right now he lives in Sandpoint, Idaho with his wife.
He wrote his first short story at age 12 and went on to win the Bank of America Fine Arts award at age 17. Since then he has published at award-winning sites and magazines from the U.S. to New Zealand. He has had short stories published at the award-winning sites Apollo's Lyre and Mystericale.