Hermes in Paris
Hermes - God, trickster and mischief-maker - is also the protector of shepherds, travellers' guide, conductor of souls to the underworld, messenger of Zeus, bringer of good luck and patron of orators, writers, athletes, merchants and thieves.
To indulge his curiosity he visits Earth from time to time looking for opportunities to play practical jokes and stir up the population. He chooses to holiday in Paris at the time of the brilliant but unstable court of Napoleon III - another opportunist, conspiratorial and outwardly amiable - and the beautiful, nervy Empress Eugenie. Hermes finds much to provoke his laughter - and such laughter is dangerous.
Under his influence France enjoys a succession of illusions involving the highest in the land, the comfortable middle classes and the journalists, poets and intellectuals of Left Bank cafes, and everything flows inexorably towards the most explosive joke that Hermes can devise.
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