This book contains lots of things I love (history, political intrigue and magic) along with some great character development throughout the course of the story. If I found out HBO or AMC decided to make this book into a miniseries I’d squeal and clap my hands like a little girl. The result, if done well, would be an exciting and colorful ride through late 18th Century Sweden.
The story centers around Emil Larsson, a bureaucrat living in Stockholm during the reign of King Gustav III. Emil is living a happy bachelor’s life until a tarot card reading promises him a golden path toward love and connection. In his attempt to follow the path set forth by the spread (called an octavo by its inventor), Emil finds himself a player in a conspiracy involving a potential revolt against the king by the nobles who resent him taking much of their power and giving it to the citizenry.
There’s so much to enjoy about this book. If all the history, political intrigue and magic don’t appeal to you, there’s also so much beauty in the clothing and accessories of the major players and the town of Stockholm itself all of which is described in sumptuous detail by the author. The winter scenery makes me want to reread it during the dead of winter while curled up in front of a fireplace with some hot cider.