An historical novel of reliable interest which has to do with Emperor Maximilian, the Hapsburg pawn of Napoleon, and his beautiful Empress Carlota. Captair Balzane, of the French forces in Mexico, weary and fearful of his affair with noble, animalistic Otea, welcomes the assignment to meet Maximilian on his arrival in Vera Cruz, and becomes a dedicated man when he falls in love -- at first sight and hopelessly -- with the Empress. Otea tries to force him to return to her, her husband suicides, and Otea's madness endangers Balzane's life. His adoration for Carlota makes her story his own and when she leaves on her futile mission to Europe she entrusts Maximilian to his care. True to her, Balzane is loyal to the tottering court when the French leave, when Otea tries to kill him and his final attempt to rescue Maximilian is thwarted by her in her last effort to murder him, which results in her death. The genuine drama of the factual material has been used with discrimination and the true tragedy loses nothing of its poignancy in this retelling. For an established market.