Birth & Mischief by Rafael Sabatini

Birth & Mischief

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Two-panel portrait of Frederick the Great, first as conditioned by his grim father in the early years of Prussia's formation, later as ruler, demonstrating those qualities latent in his youth, and playing France, Austria and England against each other in a play for power. An acid-etched portrait, underscoring the duplicity of German mentality, the roots of German zest for power, of German arrogance -- as foil for adventure-romance of an exiled English marquess -- Alverley -- who becomes Frederick's intimate, when he secures a job through his German cousin, Katte, under Frederick William. Alverley loses his heart to Prince William's favorite accompanist, Dorothea, and -- soon realizing William's unwholesome development, he kidnaps Dorothea and escapes to France, determined to find eventually a chance to revenge the death of Katte. The chance comes years later, when, to save his life after a duel with Richelieu's nephew, he accepts the dishonourable commission from Cardinal Fleury to spy on Frederick, involved in tangled plottings. Holding story -- action tightly plotted -- revealing historical interpretation.

Pub Date: July 31st, 1945
Publisher: Houghton, Mifflin