Devil's Cub

The question asked most often in this book is: Who on earth would want to go to Dijon? But the story starts in London with the kidnapping of a gentlewoman that went wrong. Flight and chase take readers on a rocky ride through France to Paris and from there to Dijon. There are no car races and crime scene investigations, I'm afraid; the year is 1780.

Before the French Revolution, French and English aristocrats often intermarried. If you were really rich and powerful, you would be keeping a townhouse in London and another one in Paris, both. The Duke and Duchess of Avon had palaces instead just to keep in touch with their relatives in both countries and to grace the Royal courts of King George III and King Louis XV with their presence.

Their wayward son, the Marquis of Vidal, will one day inherit titles and lands. He has already inherited his father's devilish disposition and his mother's mercurial temper. The Duke of Avon had earned the monicker Satanas when young. His son got the nickname Devil's Cub through his own reckless behaviour. That is also the title Georgette Heyer gave to the book. In it, she leads her readers on a merry chase. 

The kidnapping is planned the Marquis to get a young damsel of dubious virtue to France. Instead, he gets a young lady of quality there. Once the stage is thus set, things spiral out of control rather quickly. The book is a comedy of errors; all participants react to wrong information and assumptions which lead them all from scrap to scrap. The facts are always quite different from what they think they know. The story is fast and will take readers from cover to cover in no time.

Georgette Heyer is a master in period description and that makes this book that much more fun to read. As opposed to many writing historians, historical advisers to the movie industry, and other authors of historical novels, she always gets her facts right. That includes important details like the correct colour of powder used for wigs and the placement of patches during that particular season. If you wanted to live in 1780, you could take this book as a style guide to get you there.

Despite being a sequel, Devil's Cub can stand on its own without any problem. Having first read These Old Shades about the adventures of the Duke and Duchess of Avon helps to understand some of the more obscure jokes and insults. These Old Shades and Devil's Cub by Georgette Heyer are available on Kindle.

And why Dijon? The question is never answered in the book. I presume, the answer would be: No one.

Further reading