For fans of Patrick Suskind’s classic Perfume comes a dazzling debut set during Stockholm’s opulent golden age and brilliantly interweaving history, romance, and intrigue - a story in which one man’s fortune holds the key to a nation’s precarious fate.
Life is close to perfect for Emil Larsson, a self-satisfied bureaucrat in the Office of Customs and Excise in 1791 Stockholm. He is a true man of the town - a drinker, card player, and contented bachelor - until one evening when Mrs. Sofia Sparrow, a fortune-teller and proprietress of an exclusive gaming parlor, shares with him a vision she has had: a golden path that will lead him to love and connection. She lays an octavo for him, a spread of eight cards that augur the eight individuals who can help him realize this vision - if he can find them.
Emil begins his search, intrigued by the puzzle of his octavo and the good fortune Mrs. Sparrow’s vision portends. But when Mrs. Sparrow wins a mysterious folding fan in a card game, the octavo’s deeper powers are revealed. For Emil it is no longer just a game of the heart; collecting his eight is now crucial to pulling his country back from the crumbling precipice of rebellion and chaos.
Set against the luminous backdrop of late 18th-century Stockholm, as the winds of revolution rage through the great capitals of Europe, The Stockholm Octavo brings together a collection of characters, both fictional and historical, whose lives tangle in political conspiracy, love, and magic in a breathtaking tale that will leave you spellbound.
"Delicious… The essence of witty intelligence. Readers will delight [in] every element in this Swedish weave, from the brutal winter weather to the unfurling of a lady’s fan. The plot is an urgent one, and the characters mysterious, appealing, and memorable.… I felt a real kinship with author Karen Engelmann." (Sena Jeter Naslund, New York Times best-selling author of Ahab’s Wife)
"A delicious page-turner that brings 18th-century Stockholm to vivid life, complete with scandal, conspiracy, mystery, and a hint of magic. Karen Engelmann’s spectacular debut drew me in.… A captivating tale, beautifully told." (Eleanor Brown, New York Times best-selling author)
"A juicy page-turner… Engelmann’s intellectually playful take on the mathematics of love and power proves irresistible." (O, The Oprah Magazine)
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