This caption sets the stage for what is to come: intrigue, suspense, and plots, all shrouded in mystery.
I am pleased to announce that the new version of The Prussian Lieutenant is complete and will soon be available on Amazon. This new abridged version has a smoother flow, yet retains all the flavor of the original, speckled with romance and replete with sinister characters that threaten to hamper our hero at every turn.
The following is an excerpt, taken from The Prussian Lieutenant. The protagonist, Hugo von Löwenklau, has come mano a mano (face-to-face) with Napoleon Bonaparte.
“You may commence, Captain!” ordered Napoleon.
Hugo von Löwenklau shrugged his shoulders, but otherwise didn’t move.
The emperor’s nostrils flared angrily. “Did you not hear me?” he exclaimed autocratically.
Instead of responding to the emperor’s challenge, Löwenklau turned to Margot. “Mademoiselle,” he said deliberately. “Is it your intention to expose yourself to an outsider while I prepare the new dressing?”
“An outsider?” replied the emperor irritated. “Who do you mean by this remark?”
Löwenklau knew fully well what he was risking. “You, Sire,” he replied evenly. Without wincing, he held the Corsican’s fuming gaze.
Napoleon left his place and walked directly up to Löwenklau. “I am the emperor, do you understand me?” he challenged.
Löwenklau bowed before him. “Your Majesty,” he replied, “may I remind you that it is customary that only the husband be present in such intimate circumstances. Or is it your intention to regard Mademoiselle Margot as one of those women whom one gapes at but cannot be bothered to later acknowledge?”
“Monsieur!” exclaimed the emperor, stomping his foot in anger.
In that instant, Madame Richemonte and the baroness turned pale, finding themselves speechless. Likewise, the innkeeper and her daughter gazed in amazement at the man who dared to confront the celebrated Corsican. Margot, who lay with her eyes closed, took on the appearance of a corpse rather than a patient.
Hugo’s reply was another formal bow, accompanied by a faint smile. “Sire, I am well aware I have something majestic in front of me, yet the embodiment of purity lies before us. I would not uncover her in the presence of another man’s lustful eye, waiting instead for the stranger to depart. It is only appropriate for her to be uncovered in front of a physician, or her lover. No man, not even an emperor, has the right to take something from a helpless being who, being in a position of disadvantage, would otherwise defend her honor, were she strong enough.”
There was something in Löwenklau’s tone and expression that left an impression on Napoleon. He took a step back and reconsidered. “Monsieur, you speak daringly to your emperor!”
“I acted in like manner when it was incumbent of me to defend your life, Sire!”
“Really!” was his singular response, a grating remark encompassed by a mixture of resentment and hostility that he could barely manage to contain from erupting into a violent outburst. “Monsieur! You have embarrassed me in front of these ladies, yet you stand here as a defiant subordinate. We are even now. You may leave us.”
“I will leave as soon as I see that no one else requires my assistance.”
“I command you to leave!” replied the angry emperor, stomping his boot.
Löwenklau examined him from head to toe. “Majesty,” he said with a smile, “do you have the right to rule over this lady? Is Mademoiselle Richemonte your wife or your betrothed? Even if she were, you would not have the right to place her life in danger. You are not here as the emperor, but as a man. And for the moment, I am here in the capacity as her doctor. If you are determined to cling to your high position, I will still outrank you as her doctor.”
Napoleon threw him a damning look. “Then I will have you removed.”