A dazzling debut, full of opulent period detail, brilliantly interweaving history, romance and intrigue, in which one man's fortune in the form of The Octavo holds the key to a nation's precarious fate. As dramatic as opera, as vivid as a painting, THE STOCKHOLM OCTAVO brings a real and imagined history to astonishing life.
In 18th Century Stockholm, as the winds of revolution rage through the great capitals of Europe, the key to a nation's fate rests in the hands of an unlikely hero.
Emil Larsson is a drinker, card player and contented bachelor until he is told that his position at the Office of Excise and Customs depends on his settling down and finding a wife. Mrs Sparrow, proprietor of an exclusive gaming house, fortune teller (and confidante of King Gustav III) offers to lay an Octavo for him - a form of cartomancy which can divine his future if he can find the eight individuals who can help him realise his vision.
When Mrs Sparrow wins a mysterious fan in her card game, the Octavo's deeper powers are revealed. No longer just a game of the heart, collecting his Eight is now crucial to pulling his country back from the brink of rebellion and chaos.
A debut novel full of opulent period detail, brilliantly interweaving history, romance and intrigue, in which one man's fortune holds the key to a nation's precarious fate.
The Stockholm Octavo is a masterful book, where a win for one character is a loss for another and where any kind of loss sparks a new round of plotting and intrigue. Read it, you'll be glad you did. If you like novels that work on many levels at once, read this stunning tessellation of a book, where fortune is the flip side of intrigue and where history is the flip side of chance. The Stockholm Octavo is a brilliant construction as much as an intriguing read. More than once I caught myself wondering: Who is Karen Engelmann and how did she do it? - Charlotte Rogan, bestselling author of The Lifeboat
A delicious page-turner that brings 18th century Stockholm to vivid life, complete with scandal, conspiracy, mystery, and a hint of magic. Karen Engelmann's spectacular debut drew me in with its fascinating characters, who share their secrets of cartomancy, apothecaries, and the power of a well-fluttered fan. A captivating tale, beautifully told. - Eleanor Brown, New York Times bestselling author of The Weird Sisters
As delicious as dark chocolate, The Stockholm Octavo is the essence of witty intelligence. Readers will delight in staying up half the night enchanted by every element in this Swedish weave, from the brutal winter weather to the unfurling of a lady's fan. The plot is an urgent one, and the characters mysterious, appealing, and memorable. Not only a romp, the wisdom of The Stockholm Octavo engages the reader's attention and inspires the desire for personal growth and connection with our fellow travelers. I felt a real kinship with author Karen Engelmann. - Sena Jeter Naslund, New York Times bestselling author of Ahab's Wife and Abundance, A Novel of Marie Antoinette
Engelmann has crafted a magnificent, suspenseful story set against the vibrant society of Sweden's zenith, with a cast of colorful characters balanced at the crux of history. - Publishers Weekly (starred review)
This rollicking adventure story reads at times like a fairy tale, with Good Guys and Bad Guys and obstacles to be recognized and overcome. It's all quite fun. As either historical novel or adventure story, this clever first novel should appeal to a broad range of readers. - Library Journal (starred review)
Karen Englemann has created a work of art with this wonderfully written story. . . a perfect book - SirReadALot
I was totally entranced by such an original revelation and became a fan bore for a few days afterwards. - Bookbag
a wonderfully entertaining foray into a magical underworld lying beneath the grand facade of 18th century Sweden. Engelmann's enchanting writing brings it to life. - We Love This Book
Karen Engelmann lived and worked in Sweden for nine years. She has an MFA from Goddard College in Vermont and is the 2011 winner of the American Scandinavian Society Cultural Award Grant. She lives in Dobbs Ferry, New York. The Stockhom Octavo is her first book.
Find out more about Karen on her website, karenengelmann.com