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Gambit
For love of a queen

Kat Jaske

306 pages
Infinity Publishing - 2006 - États-Unis
Roman

Intérêt: 0

 

 

L’aventure continue. Dans ce deuxième tome de la série By honor bound, les «cinq mousquetaires» (c’est-à-dire les quatre de Dumas plus Laurel d’Anlass) du premier volume For honor sont cette fois au nombre de six, avec l’ajout de… la sœur de Porthos.

L’histoire commence très fort: Constance Bonacieux vient annoncer à Laurel qu’Anne d’Autriche a été enlevée. Des prussiens (sic) ont kidnappé la reine en plein palais royal et l’ont emmenée sans que personne à part Constance ne se rende compte de rien (dommage que l’auteur ne décrive par la scène par le menu). Réaction de Laurel et de Tréville, mis dans la confidence: on ne dit rien à personne, pas même au roi, et on raconte que la reine (enceinte du futur Louis XIV) a décidé d’aller se reposer à la campagne sans prévenir qui que ce soit, sans emmener son entourage habituel. Et pendant ce temps, on envoie les mousquetaires en «Prusse» pour la récupérer. Tout le monde semble trouver parfaitement naturel que la reine enceinte s’en aille toute seule…

Edifié sur ces prémices d’une crédibilité en béton armé, le récit enchaîne les perles. Laurel part immédiatement à la recherche des mousquetaires et se rend dans le château familial de Porthos où elle fait connaissance de la famille de ce dernier et en particulier de sa sœur Yvette. Constatant que celle-ci est très malheureuse dans sa famille, elle décide de l’emmener avec le groupe des mousquetaires à la recherche de la reine kidnappée. Autrement dit, alors que ce groupe est déjà confronté à une mission quasi impossible, Laurel choisit d’ajouter le handicap supplémentaire d’une jeune fille de bonne famille jamais sortie de chez elle. Bon, bien entendu, Yvette se révèlera à la hauteur dans les aventures qui suivent.

Toujours dans le registre du «plus vraisemblable tu meurs», on apprend que la reine Anne est séquestrée dans le château du prince Frédéric Guillaume, mais que cela n’empêche nullement ce dernier d’ouvrir ses portes à tous les visiteurs de passage. Les membres de la petite troupe des quatre mousquetaires et des deux jeunes femmes s’y font donc inviter (!) sous divers déguisements, sans la moindre difficulté. Comme la reine est gardée dans une chambre qui n’est pas même fermée à clé (juste barrée) et pas surveillée, Porthos peut aller bavarder avec elle au milieu de la nuit. Yvette, déguisée en domestique de ses compagnons, est chargée par l’intendant du château d’aller nourrir la reine prisonnière… Etc, etc…

On ne s’étonnera pas qu’au terme d’une intrigue aussi solidement bâtie la reine soit sauvée et rentre en France. Son absence aura duré plusieurs semaines sans que le roi ni quiconque ne se rende compte de rien. Tout se termine bien, sauf que l’un des mousquetaires est tué en délivrant la reine (non, on ne dira pas lequel, ce serait ruiner le suspense), sauf que c’était même pas vrai et il revient frais et dispos un an plus tard.

Parmi les autres merveilles de ce récit, on peut noter la vie sentimentale intense des personnages. Athos épouse Yvette et devient donc le beau-frère de Porthos, Aramis et Laurel confirment leur attirance qu’on avait devinée dans le premier volume et, cerise sur le gâteau, Anne d’Autriche tombe amoureuse de Porthos! Signalons enfin que la haute tenue du roman est encore renforcée par la présence en tête de chaque chapitre de citations d’auteurs comme Aristote, Pline l’Ancien ou Confucius.

Et ce n’est pas fini: la série se poursuit avec deux autres volumes, Righting time et Out of phase.

 Voir les arbres généalogiques d'Athos, Porthos et d'Artagnan

 

Extrait de la Section Six

Anne shook her head and her hair fell in front of her face, concealing her grin. It did not conceal her glowing eyes. “Oh, you’re laughing at me now, are you, chère Anne? Well, I’ll have you know Porthos the pirate is no clown and is laughed at only at the laugher’s own danger.”

“I’m not laughing at you, good Porthos. I’m remarking at the change in you.” She winked saucily at him. “I must say that you clean up very nicely. I can’t help wondering if you would look as nice all the time if you made the effort, mon cher.”

The large man set his hands to his hips and strode toward the woman, looking down on her.

Funny, she didn’t seem that much shorter than him. And the woman cleaned up nicely too. He flicked a tendril of hair away from her eyes. “Am I to understand that you are flirting with me? ”

“Never.” Her voice was ladened with sarcasm. “Me, flirt with a musketeer. Come now, I couldn’t possibly wish to do so. After all, look at my husband and the company he usually keeps. What more could a woman ask for?” What more indeed? She could ask and wish for more: more good friends, more respect, a husband who liked her, for love. But she was strong and eminently practical. She could and did do without. Maybe in the afterlife.

“Anne?” Porthos was concerned when he noted the change in her expression.

“Don’t mind me. I’m just a silly romantic woman.” She smiled.

“You,” he leveled his finger at her, “are far from being a flighty romantic. You are one of the strongest, most sensible, smartest people I know. And you have a sense of humor to boot. What made you look so sad, Anne? Tell your humble servant. You have but to name your wish, and I am at your command. I am putty in your hands.”

Her shoulders shook in suppressed laughter. Porthos was not putty, and he would never be accused of being humble—well, not likely anyway. “Okay. Don’t say I didn’t warn you, though… Have you ever been in love?”

“Not that I know of, though I have two very dear friends who have a rather substantial amount of experience in that area. ” Porthos was too surprised to make a witty reply.

“Have you ever wished for love, Porthos?” The question was more rhetorical than otherwise. “I have. It gets very lonely at court, and I will not try to tell you that it is not difficult for me. It is. I know I am not wanted in France. I was resented for not being French and then looked down upon for not bearing an heir sooner than, well, than currently. It would not be so bad, I think, if I had love.” She shook herself. “But that is just a silly romantic talking. I am blessed for the true friends l have found in Constance and Laurel and Athos and his young son and then you and even Aramis and D’Artagnan.”

“Anne,” he put his hand on her cheek and wiped away the single tear she was unaware she had shed, “if any of your detractors ever met you, they would be unable to say a bad word against you. You would quite charm them, and they would leave singing your praises. And never think that you aren’t a very loveable woman. Your husband does not know what he is missing. ”

“Promise me something?” Anne spoke again, and the musketeer told her to make her request. “Promise me you’ll come back alive. I have no fancy to see you dead, and I would rather like to see you again.”

“Anne.” Porthos looked down at the ground. Nom d'un chien! What was he getting himself into? He looked at her. No there was no mistake. The queen of France was interested in him and for more than just a friend. Not that he wasn’t flattered. Diantre, if she wasn’t the king’s wife he’d not likely hesitate to take up the offer. But she was the queen and she was, well, she was Anne. He respected her.

“I’m sorry,” Anne spoke when Porthos said nothing further. I should not have spoken as I did.”

Non. Anne. It’s not that.” Porthos lifted her face so he could look her straight in the eye. How could it be true? Impossible! He really had lost it. Lost it as badly as D’Artagnan had, and he was not a romantic. “I cannot cuckold my king.”

“You can’t cuckold your king,” she said, disapproving. “Magnifique. Am I to love your morals? Forget it. Maybe I was wrong. I thought there was more to you than that.” Anne turned on her heel and was ready to storm out when Porthos moved closer and would not let her leave.

“There is more to it than that, Anne.” He looked up at the ceiling, oddly vulnerable. “Anne, it’s not right for me to covet another man’s wife. Would that you weren’t married. Anne, I do actually believe I love you, dites donc. You little witch. How ‘bout the unadulterated truth? You’ve made me fall in love with you, and I can’t ruin a woman I love and respect.”

Anne stepped forward and wrapped her arms around the large man, just hugging him for a long while. “Porthos, it would not ruin me nor be cuckolding my husband. It would be loving me. Remember that. At least we could have that much although we can’t marry. Remember that.”

 

 


 

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