A novel set in the glittering, rotting tumult of Louis XV’s Paris, where uncanny clockwork automata can imitate life itself, children are disappearing from the streets, Madame de Pompadour’s spies pull unseen strings, and three extraordinary women are fighting to escape their fates. A spellbinding exploration of the darkness at the heart of Enlightenment France.

by Anna Mazzola
Orion UK, publication date TBD
(chez Mushens Entertainment – voir catalogue)

Paris, 1750. Madeleine, a young maid with a scarred face and a hidden past, goes to work for an automaton-maker, Dr Reinhart, and his clever daughter, Angelique. Only Madeleine knows the real reason she is there: there are rumours that Reinhart’s mechanical creations are the devil’s work, and she is in the employ of the police as a mouche, to spy on him and report back on his every move. Meanwhile, in the streets outside, children are quietly disappearing – and Madeleine fears for her young nephew. No one knows who can be responsible, but rumours abound around the clockmaker, and even the King of France himself… As Madeleine is drawn further into the household and its secrets, she comes to fear that she has stumbled upon an even greater conspiracy. One which might even reach to the heart of Versailles itself.

Anna Mazzola’s debut novel, The Unseeing, won an Edgar Award in the US and was nominated for the Historical Writers’ Association’s Debut Crown in the UK. Her second novel, The Story Keeper, was longlisted for the Highland Book Prize. Anna also blogs on strange history for The History Girls. She is an accomplished public speaker and regularly speaks at and chairs literary events. She studied English at Pembroke College, Oxford, before accidentally becoming a human rights and criminal justice solicitor. She lives in Camberwell, South London, with two small children, two cats and one husband.

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