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The Birth of Mischief
The Birth of Mischief
Author: Rafael Sabatini
ISBN: 270116
Publication Date: 1945
Pages: 308

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Publisher: Houghton Mifflin Company
Book Type: Hardcover
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This is not one of my favorite Sabatini efforts. In fact, it ranks just ahead of The Kings Minion as my least favorite. Why? Well, both are dull, plodding reading. In this, the plot is one of intrigue, subterfuge, and betrayal as practices by and against the kingships of Europe in the 18th century. What I find that it lacks is the excitement of Scaramouche and Captain Blood. Our English hero/antihero is let off the hook in the end. His nemesis, a prince, bullied by a tyrannical, boorish father, is a perfect Machiavellian character: first a wimp, then a deceitful, prevaricating coward and blame-passer; later as king, a win at any cost, by any means yet retaining all of his well-earned princely qualities. If absolute power corrupts absolutely, this tale personifies it. (Some aficionados will recognize this book by its alternate, though hardly as alluring, title: King In Prussia.