The series is set in the Napoleonic era, and is clearly modeled, at least in part, on George MacDonald Fraser’s Flashman novels. Like Flashman, the hero is a self-described amoral rogue who gets drawn into every major fracas of his time. But Dietrich’s books are no mere homage to Fraser, as they have their own distinctive tone; Dietrich is pulpier than Fraser, and has fewer qualms about embroidering on history in the pursuit of outlandish action scenes or occult overtones.
Dietrich’s hero, Ethan Gage, is an American frontiersman, a gambler and opportunist who finds himself in Europe after attaching himself to Ben Franklin during his term as Ambassador to France. After Franklin’s return to the States Gage hangs on in Paris, playing the “Franklin’s man” card in the salons of the Revolutionary elite, charming the ladies with his tales of the American savages and doing parlor tricks with that new scientific toy, electricity.
In classic pulp fashion, Gage wins a mysterious Egyptian amulet in a game of cards, refuses to sell it to an ominous foreigner, and is soon being pursued through the Parisian night by mysterious robed figures led by a man with a snake-headed staff. That pretty much roped me in right there: equip your villain with a snake-headed staff, and I’m sold.
Napoleon’s Pyramids was published in paperback by Harper on April 24, 2012. It is 400 pages, priced at $14.99 in trade paperback, and just $1.99 for the digital version. The sequel is The Rosetta Key and the most recent volume, The Three Emperors, brings the series to seven volumes.