Cossacks in Paris


Breutier Armande, a French engineer drafted into the Grande Armee, is sent on a scouting mission to St. Petersburg.  When he meets and falls in love with Kaarina, a Finnish beauty whose father has ties to Tsar Alexander,  he can only hope for a truce in so that he may press his suit.  Kaarina is promised in marriage to Agripin, but fancies the intelligent Frenchman over the brutish Cossack preferred by her father.  Betrayed by those closest to them, Brutier risks everything to find Kaarina.

“Cossacks in Paris” is a tramping-through-war-campaigns and a scratch-your-head romance! The novel wades through chess-like moves of conflict in Breutier’s search for Kaarina. However, believability wanes from the beginning. Kaisa lays eyes on the Cossack, and betrays her sister by helping Agripin take Kaarina hostage. The antagonist is not clear, if it’s Agripin, it’s not always written as such. Breutier claims a one-time tryst between the sheets with Kaarina, and a stronghold in his heart sets him off to reclaim her, which he does, and then frustratingly loses her several times. In all the months Agripin has Kaarina, he does not defile her, which is doubtful. The dialogue is satisfactory, and Breutier’s character likable. Unfortunately, the head-hopping often pulls the reader out of the story. The merger of romance and war, smoothly woven together, failed its campaign. Still, it’s an absorbing view of Napoleon’s tyranny. The scene which takes place in Leipzig, and is the final death blow for Napoleon, is exceptionally well-written. Settings excel, seating the reader in battle, and although the author used fiction to fill in Napoleon and Alexander’s characters, this was done creatively. 


Natasza Waters