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Robert Laffont
EAN : 9782221257654
Shaping : BROCHE
Pages : 384
Size : 153 x 240 mm
Novelty
A Rhinoceros at Versailles

Release date : 14/10/2021
Alexandra de Broca continues her journey through the 17th century with Claire, a free young woman living in the heart of a little-known place, the Menagerie at the Palace of Versailles. Wild animals offered by sovereigns around the world are kept there for the sole pleasure of the King and his Court.
In 1788, several animals from southern Africa arrive at Le Havre after a grueling voyage. They are sent to Versailles, where they will live out the rest of their lives in royal enclosures. Claire, age twenty, was born in the Menagerie. Since childhood, she has worked alongside her father, the... In 1788, several animals from southern Africa arrive at Le Havre after a grueling voyage. They are sent to Versailles, where they will live out the rest of their lives in royal enclosures. Claire, age twenty, was born in the Menagerie. Since childhood, she has worked alongside her father, the animals’ caretaker. But what is just a job for Martin is a vocation for Claire: each animal is a being who must be fed, but also loved and given a name. She is the only one who dares enter the cages to pet a lion’s mane or a rhinoceros’s ears. Over time, the captive wild animals respond to her voice and become resigned to their fate. Without knowing the basics of Diderot’s famous Encyclopedia, the young woman asserts that animals have hearts and are capable of suffering like humans. She proves it by living with a female serval, a type of wild cat, which she has raised from birth. Claire and Nala are one in the Menagerie. At a time when wild animals are seen as purely for being hunted, eaten, or domesticated for agricultural means, Claire’s devotion to animals is unsettling. Her mother, Manon, a laundrywoman at the palace, is saddened that her daughter is so solitary and mistrusting of humans.
When Martin is killed by the rhinoceros he has known for twenty years, the palace administration decides to kill the animal. Claire, though devastated by her father’s death, feels the sentence is unjust. The rhinoceros is not a murderer—he suffers from poor eyesight and simply did not recognize his caretaker. With no regard for protocol, the orphan takes advantage of a rare visit from the royal family to demand clemency. The king gives in and offers his pardon. From that point, the fates of Claire and the rhinoceros are forever entwined. And all those who meet her, from Marie-Antoinette to the sick Dauphin, royalists and revolutionaries, will be taken by surprised. But will Claire be able to save her kingdom of animals in peril from the madness of humanity?
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EAN : 9782221257654
Shaping : BROCHE
Pages : 384
Size : 153 x 240 mm
Robert Laffont