By Robert Wilton
The Place du Carrousel is a pool of mud, swirled with the shit of horses and dogs and humans under thousands of feet, as they shift and try to shuffle forwards. Towards the centre of the square the bodies are packed tight. Hands clench and un-clench in reaction to the spectacle, clutch at arms, hover over mouths as if to stifle vomit or a scream, grope, or reach for a pocket. The faces bob and strain for the view, exultant – and alarmed by what their exultation has conjured. There’s only a memory of light in the evening sky, and the windows of the buildings around the square twinkle orange in the blaze of the torches.
It’s interesting to think that the former advisor to the Prime Minister of Kosovo in the lead up to the country’s inevitable independence, Robert Wilton, could and would, feel compelled to write such a fine, literary historical narrative as Treason’s Spring.
Suave, smart and in a way, enchantingly beguiling, these 404 pages regale a time in French/European history that is as seemingly fraught with just as much horror as it is political turmoil.
As such, some might ask: so what’s changed?
All I can say is, read this book for yourself; as in so doing, you might well stumble upon something of an (un)surprising answer.
Reason being, this occasionally thrilling, albeit meticulous panorama of Paris during the French Revolution, will take one a learned and most informed journey – not exactly a hundred miles removed from that of the likes of Hilary Mantel and perhaps Bernard Cornwell.