In his most dangerous mission yet, Richard Cordwell, the handsome Scotland Yard detective, discovers another royal conspiracy! While the manhunt for the assassin of Abraham Lincoln absorbs a nation, a new president begins to wield the power of Reconstruction, as a dream of freedom arises above the devastation of a defeated Confederacy. Based on a true story, this exciting adventure is set among the capitals of Europe and Washington City, Scotland’s famous castles and the American South in the aftermath of the Civil War. Enjoy the next volume in the powerful Kopp Chronicles epic series.
Targeted Age Group:: Adult
What Inspired You to Write Your Book?
i discover many interesting historical facts while researching my family history and they make great stories for my readers.
How Did You Come up With Your Characters?
As part of my research, interesting historical figures will appear and impact their surroundings.
July 8, 1863, Paris, France
A black carriage pulled up to the rear of La Maison Dorée restaurant on the Rue Laffite. A valet came out and opened the carriage door. The valet bowed as the Emperor of France Napoleon III and his aide stepped out of the carriage.
“Imperial Majesty; your guests are waiting,” the valet beamed.
La Maison Dorée is one of the most acclaimed restaurants in Paris. Inside the restaurant were two sections, one for ordinary French men and women, and a section made of cabinets or private rooms for royalty and the wealthy citizens of Paris. As the Emperor arrived, across the street at the Théâtre de l'Opéra-Comique, the opera “Lalla-Roukh” had finished and the audience came milling out of the theater. Most of them went directly into the front entrance of the restaurant unaware the French Emperor was being escorted inside through the back door. Being opposite the Théâtre de l'Opéra-Comique increased La Maison Dorée’s popularity with the middle class of Paris.
The French Emperor turned toward his companion and asked, “Is he here?”
General Roguet nodded his head, “Yes. I sent for him myself, Your Imperial Majesty.”
“And Madame DuVernay?”
General Roguet smiled and nodded his head, “Yes.”
Emperor Napoleon III grunted in satisfaction, “We’ll conclude this business tonight!”
General Roguet turned toward the carriage driver, “Wait here, we should not be long.” The driver saluted the Emperor's aide and drove the black carriage around the corner of the building to wait for his party to return.
The French Emperor and General Roguet had left the Tuileries Palace twenty minutes earlier under the cover of darkness. The black
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curtain covering the windows of the carriage was closed, and no one had noticed the Emperor of France as he traveled over the Boulevard des Italiens. Roguet requested only one soldier from the palace go with the Emperor to be more discreet.
La Maison Dorée’s Maître d' escorted Emperor Napoleon III into Cabinet #6 reserved exclusively for the palace. Within the cabinet, two men were smoking cigars and drinking champagne. They turned toward the French Emperor as he arrived and bowed to him. One of the men was a tall dark-haired Scotsman, the Duke of Hamilton. His wife, the Duchess of Hamilton was a cousin to the Emperor and an intimate friend of Empress Eugénie.
A server brought the Emperor a champagne flute glass filled with the finest French champagne which he gulped down as he strode across the room. Besides the men, two Parisian courtesans were standing in the rear of the room alongside the mysterious Madame DuVernay. She wore a black gown, had long dark hair, and was smoking a cigarette in a silver holder. She nodded at General Roguet when he entered the room.
The Emperor addressed the Duke after noticing the courtesans. “I trust you are enjoying Paris hospitality,” he smirked.
The Duke of Hamilton nodded, “Yes, Your Imperial Majesty. Would you care for a Cuban cigar? I purchased them from a Confederate Privateer.” He smiled as he handed the Emperor a fat cigar.
General Roguet rushed to the Emperor’s side to light it. A server addressed the Emperor, “Would His Imperial Majesty like dinner now or later?” General Roguet silenced the server with an icy stare for his impertinence. But Emperor Napoleon III ignored the server, took a puff on his cigar and spied the felt-covered card table in the center of the room.
“Ah, I see you are prepared,” he said to the Duke of Hamilton, who laughed when he turned towards the card table.
“Are you ready for a rematch of whist?” the Duke of Hamilton slyly asked the Emperor. Meanwhile, the man standing next to the Duke
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coughed slightly. “I am sorry, Your Excellency, forgive me. This is my associate Mr. Howard from London.” The man bowed to the Emperor who barely acknowledged him. But General Roguet noticed a revolver bulging out of the inside pocket of Mr. Howard’s jacket.
General Roguet scribbled a note on a small slip of paper, folded it, and handed it to a waiter, “Give this to my man outside!” he ordered under his breath. The waiter hurried out with the note. The note contained a request to his driver to verify the identity of the Duke of Hamilton’s associate with French Intelligence.
General Roguet held a chair for the Emperor as he sat down at the card table. The Duke of Hamilton gestured for a Parisian courtesan to bring him a new deck of cards. He inspected it and placed it down on the table in front of him before he took his seat.
The Duke’s associate took a seat across from him while General Roguet sat down directly across from the Emperor. Madame DuVernay pulled up a small upholstered chair. The Emperor smiled as Madame DuVernay caressed his back as a waiter placed a large plate heaped full of delicacies, meats, and pastries next to him. Meanwhile, the Paris courtesans sat behind the Duke and Mr. Howard wearing the latest fragrance in French perfumes by Pierre-François-Pascal Guerlain.
Emperor Napoleon III took a large drink of champagne and motioned to the server to refill his glass. The Duke of Hamilton lit another cigar and took several puffs before he began shuffling the deck of cards. “The same wagers as last time, Your Imperial Majesty?” he asked.
The Emperor nodded and began eating the food in front of him. He wiped his greasy fingers on his sleeves as he ate, ignoring the La Maison Dorée cloth napkin. When he finished, the waiter quickly replaced the Emperor’s plate with a new serving of meats and delicacies.
The Duke of Hamilton passed out cards to each player as General Roguet kept a close eye on him. The French Emperor picked up his cards and nodded at General Roguet who placed a 100,000-franc
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wager in the center of the table. The Duke of Hamilton looked at the cards in his hand, winked at his associate, and placed an equivalent wager on the table towards the Emperor. He had decisively beaten the Emperor in their previous whist game and could tell the Emperor was bluffing. Play proceeded as each man placed their cards on the table. The Duke and his partner began winning most of the card tricks which caused the Emperor to stop his eating and scrutinize the cards in his hand more closely. On the last play of the game, the Duke played his winning card.
“Game over, Your Imperial Majesty!” he laughed as he picked up the last trick. He took a large puff on his cigar, “We win.”
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