"Kemske, best known for his quirky takes on latter-day organization men,
smoothly shifts gears to deliver a wryly engrossing historical novel featuring
the duplicitous French statesman ... An offbeat account of a world-class rogue
from yesteryear, whose ingratiating civility and utter lack of scruples
helped him leave large footprints on the sands of time."
"This tale of the Enlightenment’s bitter end finds an apt teller in Kemske, who brings the
irony and psychological acuity that his formidable protagonist demands."
Charles-Maurice de Talleyrand-Perigord, better known as Talleyrand (1754-1838), is one of the most vilified and unprincipled men in history. He was also one of the most civilized. That is, his guiding principle was civility. This Machiavellian statesman, the ultimate Enlightenment aristocrat, helped make and break both the French Revolution and Napoleon. An elder son disinherited due to his clubfoot, Talleyrand betrayed everyone and everything he worked for, slept with everybody's wives, took bribes right and left, and practically invented insider trading. Unable to handle swords or guns, he learned to handle people. No matter how much France was turned upside down, often through his own doing, Talleyrand came out on top — powerful, wealthy, and attended by beautiful women to the very end. Truly an anti-hero for America today.
The Third Lion is a dryly humorous, intimate, compelling look at this great survivor, betrayer, and womanizer. Floyd Kemske makes this consummate villain not only understandable, but also sympathetic. By sharing Talleyrand's abandonment, his education by a string of duchesses in everything from civility to lovemaking, his humor and his viewpoints, the reader gets inside a man they might otherwise despise.
$22.95 cloth, 224 pages, ISBN 0-945774-37-0. Also available as an e-book.
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The Third Lion: A Novel About Talleyrand by Floyd Kemske is licensed under a
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To read the first chapter of The Third Lion, in PDF format, click here.