Armand Cabasson

The Officer’s Prey

"… will appeal equally to crime lovers and military enthusiasts."


Quentin Margont, a Captain in Napoleon's army, is involved in the disastrous 1812 campaign to invade Russia. While battling both the freezing temperatures and Russian Cossacks he has been summoned by Prince Eugene to help unravel a mystery. A young polish serving-girl has been murdered by the lover she has described as her 'Prince Charming'. Her corpse shows signs of a frenzied attack.

With the French army anxious to keep together the uneasy alliance of German, Polish and Italian soldiers, Margont is asked to investigate the case and reveal the culprit to Prince Eugene alone. Margont's difficult task is compounded by the corpse's hasty burial and by the apparent high rank of the murderer. When eventually Margont narrows his list of suspects to four Colonels, he shadows each of them to unmask the murderer. However, before he can bring the murderer to justice he must first survive the disastrous battles that Napoleon is leading them into.

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This is a fascinating book that will appeal equally to crime lovers and military enthusiasts. The investigation into the murder is very interesting and is greatly helped by extracts scattered throughout the book revealing the murderer's state of mind in the aftermath of the attacks. Quentin Margont is an interesting investigator, who clearly does not relish the task given him and sees staying alive as his main priority. Yet this book is clearly the first in a number of Quentin Margont mysteries and his character is gradually developed through the book. The intricately detailed accounts of various battles didn't personally interest me and I found myself wanting the writer to move back to the main investigation. However, I was moved by the obvious distress and loss of life that Cabasson is able to portray and he writes with authority about the mechanics of the battles. This is a very interesting book and highly recommended.

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