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The Third Lion

The Third Lion dust jacketFrench aristocrat, bishop, revolutionary, and statesman, Charles-Maurice de Talleyrand-Perigord (1754-1838) helped make and break both the French Revolution and Napoleon. This great survivor, womanizer, and betrayer of Church and State was ruled only by the obligations of civility.

The Third Lion is an intimate novel about this Machiavellian man of the Enlightenment, a survivor who not only outlived his enemies but plotted the coups and restorations that destroyed them. It's the story of an elder son with a clubfoot, abandoned to his wet-hurse, disinherited, and handed over to the Church. A penniless aristocrat able to handle neither sword nor gun -- just people. A cripple who was legendary for bedding most of the high-born women of France, and a substantial proportion of the not-so-high-born. In the tradition of I, Claudius, this wry novel of personal and political intrigue celebrates, and lets the reader get inside, a man who molded the wars and revolutions that gave birth to the modern era. He was a man who believed that manners are far more important than principles.

From the Reviews...

"Kemske, best known for his quirky takes on latter-day organization men (Human Resources, 1995, etc.), smoothly shifts gears to deliver a wryly engrossing historical novel featuring the duplicitous French statesman Charles-Maurice de Talleyrand-Perigord."
--Kirkus Reviews

"Unabashedly romanticized and delightfully tongue-in-cheek, this entertaining fictional version of the life of Charles-Maurice de Talleyrand-Perigord -- one of the most influential survivors of the French Revoluion -- lives up to its subject... This tale of the Enlightenment's bitter end finds an apt teller in Kemske (Human Resources), who brings the irony and psychological acuity that his formidable protagonist demands."
--Publishers Weekly

"Characterized by the author as essentially amoral, Talleyrand ironically adhered to a very strict code of civility that always governed every ruthless action he took in order to advance his own self-interest. A darkly humorous fictional biography of a major power broker."
--Booklist

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Chapter One of The Third Lion!

Published by Catbird Press. $22.95, hardcover 224 pp. ISBN-0945774-37-0

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