This was even better than the author's "The Scottish Movie". If you’ve read that book, you’ll recognize the broad strokes of this one's plot, which played a cameo in the longer novel. The setting and plot were offered there with a jokey nod and a wink, but the novella here is rather a serious work that can stand on its own.
It’s a quick and enjoyable read, especially if you like good historical fiction. The protagonist is one of Napoleon’s agents, though Napoleon himself and the Duke of Wellington play crucial roles. (Well obviously; how could they not?) But the emotional heart of the story centers on those who must kill, and those who will be killed, without either having much say in the matter. This includes men of various nationalities, and a small group of (Spoiler hidden). Seriously.
But it works. It’s pensive, but not a downer. Nor is it gruesome, despite the genre being an odd mix of historical military literature and a nod to Halloween. It’s quite short, and could be read between answering the door for trick-or-treaters on All Hallows Eve. But it could still put you in just the proper mood of contemplation for the Feast of All Saints the following day. As of now, it's free. Why not get it and save it for a full moon or stormy night? Or even just a quiet afternoon's reverie?
(review of free book)