Explores the conflict between science and mysticism in a time rife with revolution, love, spies, and passion – The Wisdom of The Flock by Steve M. GnatzTweet
What was happening in Paris in the late 1700’s?
by Steve M. Gnatz, author of The Wisdom of the Flock: Franklin and Mesmer in Paris
The setting for The Wisdom of the Flock: Franklin and Mesmer in Paris – is in Paris, of course!
But what was Paris like in the late 1700’s?
Paris was a European hub of commerce and culture in 1776 when Benjamin Franklin arrived to enlist the aid of the French government in the upcoming war effort against Britain for American independence.
Franklin was already known to the French aristocracy from his published experiments with electricity. He was quickly adopted into Parisian high society.
John Adams was reportedly aghast that Franklin “acted like a Parisian” in terms of his behaviors in France, but Franklin just seemed to fit right in. Franklin was a natural hedonist. He dined out often, socialized in all the right circles, drank plenty of French wine, and openly flirted with the French ladies. It is a matter of historical debate as to whether his activities with these ladies ever actually resulted in a consummated relationship. But Franklin surely did like to flirt, and the French ladies reciprocated. He even asked at least one to marry him.
In the scene depicted above, described in more detail in The Wisdom of the Flock, Ben is crowned with a laurel wreath by Queen Marie Antoinette to celebrate the American war victories. Franklin, in return, presented the King and Queen with a commemorative gold medallion of his own design called Libertas Americana. It was clearly a time of grand gestures and elaborate hairstyles – other than Ben!
The scenery of late 1700’s Paris is only surpassed by the cast of historical characters present. In addition to Ben Franklin and Marie Antoinette, we have Dr Franz Mesmer (of mesmerism fame), Casanova, and naval hero John Paul Jones. Even Amadeus Mozart makes a cameo appearance in the book.
I hope that you will enjoy the story of Franklin’s time in France illuminated in The Wisdom of the Flock.
Great Historical fiction is always a guilty indulgence for me. Make it about people who actually lived and I am in heaven. Steve M. Gnatz has done a fabulous job of building the world of Paris in the late 1700s. More than just painting word descriptions of the places, sights, and sounds, he has captured the voices of these historical icons giving them the gravitas they so much deserve while still making them human enough to grab attention and emotions. The amount of research that must have needed to recreate this rich environment is mind-blowing. I enjoyed reading as the story played out. It forced the reader to ask themselves to answer for themselves where they fall on the spectrum of belief and skepticism. I do love a book that makes me think.
I received an advance review copy for free, and I am leaving this review voluntarily.
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Book Title: The Wisdom of the Flock: Franklin and Mesmer in Paris by Steve M. Gnatz
Category: Adult Fiction (18+), 541 pages
Genre: Historical Fiction
Publisher: Leather Apron Press
Release date: January 2021
Content Rating: PG-13. There is mild (romantic) sexual content and very mild profanity.
A WORLD OF ENLIGHTENMENT, REVOLUTION, AND INTRIGUE
1776: Benjamin Franklin sails to Paris, carrying a copy of the Declaration of Independence, freshly signed. His charge: gain the support of France for the unfolding American Revolution. Yet Paris is a city of distractions. Ben’s lover, Marianne Davies, will soon arrive, and he yearns to rekindle his affair with the beautiful musician.
Dr. Franz Mesmer has plans for Marianne too. He has taken Parisian nobility by storm with his discovery of magnétisme animale, a mysterious force claimed to heal the sick. Marianne’s ability to channel Mesmer’s phenomena is key to his success.
A skeptical King Louis XVI appoints Ben to head a commission investigating the astonishing magnétisme animale. By nature, Ben requires proof. Can he scientifically prove that it does not exist? Mesmer will stop at nothing to protect his profitable claim.
The Wisdom of The Flock explores the conflict between science and mysticism in a time rife with revolution, love, spies, and passion.
Steve Gnatz is a writer, physician, bicyclist, photographer, traveler, and aspiring ukulele player. The son of a history professor and a nurse, it seems that both medicine and history are in his blood. Writing historical fiction came naturally. An undergraduate degree in biology was complemented by a minor in classics. After completing medical school, he embarked on an academic medical career specializing in Physical Medicine and Rehabilitation. There was little time for writing during those years, other than research papers and a technical primer on electromyography. Now retired from the practice of medicine, he devotes himself to the craft of fiction. The history of science is of particular interest, but also the dynamics of human relationships. People want to be good scientists, but sometimes human nature gets in the way. That makes for interesting stories. When not writing or traveling, he enjoys restoring Italian racing bicycles at home in Chicago with his wife and daughters.
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A $25 Amazon Gift Card courtesy of the author of THE WISDOM OF THE FLOCK (1 winner) (open to Amazon.com customers)