Sworn to avenge the loss of his wife, American adventurer Ethan Gage threads storm and gunfire to land in France with beautiful Comtesse Catherine Marceau, joining a desperate 1804 royalist conspiracy to topple Napoleon.
But our dogged hero finds the conspiracy in ruins, his wife very much alive, and Bonaparte determined to invade England if his navy can seize the English Channel. Gage if forced once more into Napoleon’s orbit and is torn between French and English spymasters, all the while trying to safeguard his family and avoid the seductions of Catherine.
Can he foil Napoleon’s crowning by stealing a famed religious relic? Is there really a medieval automaton, sought by all sides, that can foretell the future? Can the military inventions of Robert Fulton and William Congreve turn the tide of battle? Never has Ethan had so many masters, and so many challenges.
Ordered by Napoleon to forestall a naval showdown, Ethan meets Admiral Horatio Nelson and Nelson’s lover Emma Hamilton. He finds himself swept into one of the most decisive battles of all time: the naval showdown off Cape Trafalgar that will decide the fate of the world.
“Fans of two-fisted Napoleonic-era action will rejoice in author William Dietrich’s “The Barbed Crown”…a page-turning delight.” - Seattle Times
“Dietrich fans will not stop cheering on the lovable gambler.” - Iron Mountain Daily News.
“Those looking for historical romances for summer reading need look no further.” - Diane Weddington, Examiner.com.
“Author William Dietrich paints Gage into historical tableaux with masterful brushstrokes.” – David Marshall James
“William Dietrich’s sixth foray into the swashbuckling world of Ethan Gage easily lives up to his previous efforts. If you like your swordplay spiced with a dash of witty repartee, a la The Three Musketeers, then Gage is the hero for you…The battles, plots and counterplots make this a delightful read, and the depiction of Napoleonic Paris is excellent. If you like historical thrillers set during the early American period, if you love a carefree rogue whose heart is in the right place, then you won’t be disappointed. Recommended.” - Historical Novel Society
“Description of war on the high seas is rarely better than in this novel.” San Antonio Express-News
“Dietrich delivers with style, zest, and cliffhanger endings.” Bellingham Herald, McClatchy Newspapers.
“Swashbuckling adventure.” Cleveland Plain Dealer.
“Swashbuckling historical fiction at its finest.” Candace Clark, ReaderToReader.com.
“The Barbed Crown” is another example of William Dietrich’s excellent skill in writing a great story.” Jeff Grim, Collected Miscellany
“Readers will be treated to Dietrich’s fascinating touches of historical detail and Gage’s infectious personality, one part humble global servant and two parts self-directed opportunist who simply has to be where the action is.” —Publisher’s Weekly
“Historical fiction fans will relish this over-the-top romp as they wallow in the color and the history.”
“Using his trademark combination of wit, wile, and homespun American common sense, Ethan successfully integrates himself into the sophisticated intrigue of the Old World.”
“Dietrich blends history with entertaining tall tales and a good deal of irreverence.”
“What a blast! The Barbed Crown is as funny as it is smart, and William Dietrich’s crackling prose does justice to the incredible, improbable, and entirely believable influence of Ethan Gage on Napoleonic era. It is impossible not to love Ethan Gage. It is impossible not to love this book!”
—Garth Stein, author of The Art of Racing in the Rain
“Ethan Gage is not a man to let grass grow under his feet. A non-stop page-turning adventure of wit, entertaining history, and characters who roll with the punches of fate.”
—Diana Gabaldon, author of the Outlander series
“Brilliantly conceived and crafted from the first word. Dietrich puts great characters in seemingly impossible scenarios on every page. A fun, fast, exhilarating read. I haven’t read a historical novel this good since Ken Follett’s Pillars of the Earth.”
—Robert Dugoni, author of The Conviction
“I am a big fan of William Dietrich’s Ethan Gage novels and The Barbed Crown is a great addition to the series. Gage is a rascal and he’s in trouble again — Napoleon, Lord Nelson, a pack of British spies and a sexy, seductive Comtesse all want him dead. An exciting, funny, and educational read.”
—Phillip Margolin, author of Capital Murder