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About the book
Karen Engelmann’s deliciously devious historical novel The Stockholm Octavo will transport readers to a world of intrigue and magic, a dazzling era of fashion and frivolity that marked the pinnacle of a golden age. Welcome to the Town, Stockholm, that is, in the 1790s.
The Stockholm Octavo will introduce you to a brilliant cast of characters you’ll not soon forget, and then wows you by weaving their lives into an intricate game of influence, seduction and revenge — the Octavo, a game of Engelmann’s own tremendous imagination that is so thoroughly captivating, you’ll wonder that it is fiction. Engelmann uses an authentic deck of historic European playing cards to lay her characters’ Octavos and predict their futures. As the plot thickens, these 8-card illustrations in the book become increasingly elaborate, adding a wonderfully decorative puzzle-like element to the text.
The Stockholm Octavo is set in one of the most exciting times of history and Engelmann brings that to vivid life in her fiction. She starts her story in 1789, towards the end of Sweden’s Gustav III’s enlightened rule, when he decreased the power of the nobility and increased that of the commoners, and supported the arts. As revolution heated up in France, sides were taken and Stockholm’s society became divided between the “Royalists” who favored Gustav and the French King, and the Patriots who did not – Patriots only in name, they wanted to harken back to an older time when the nobles had more power. The Stockholm Octavo provides an intimate, wry, and perceptive commentary on the era that gave birth to the world we live in today.