• A profound and clever novel about the most glamorous woman of her time, full of humor and insight into human nature 
  • SPIEGEL Bestseller
  • 60,000 copies sold
  • Recommended by New Books in German (Fall 2022)
  • English sample translation by Alexandra Roesch available

A fascinating novel about a contradictory person, her fascination, yearnings, manipulative power, and destructive force

When Elisabeth (Sisi) becomes Empress of Austria through marriage, she enters a strictly regimented world full of stiff conventions and boring receptions. She can only escape when she is on extended trips or staying at her Hungarian castle, Gödöllő, where she can lead an unconstrained life and pursue her greatest passion: wild horseback hunting. No moat is too wide for the empress, no obstacle too dangerous – Sisi is one of the best and most reckless riders of her time, admired by the legendary hunting rider and jockey Bay Middleton – and not just for her riding skills.

During a stay at Gödöllő, Sisi invites her niece Marie Wallersee, who is adept at horseback riding and fencing, to stay with her. As the daughter of an actress, Marie does not really befit the empress’s station, but Sisi sees her as a freer alter-ego and makes her a close confidante. The 18-year-old Marie quickly succumbs to her imperial aunt’s charms and is only too happy to assist her when she plays the passionate horsewoman and femme fatale. But soon Marie also exerts attraction on others, especially the male nobility.

Sisi, used to being the center of attention, searches for a husband for her irksome rival, initiating a scheming game of seduction and betrayal.

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Belgium (Dutch rights): Standaard / Czech: Euromedia / Italy: Piemme / Hungary: Athenaeum / Portugal: Leya - Casa das Letras

  • Publisher: Galiani-Berlin
  • Release: 22.09.2022
  • 416 pages
  • ISBN: 978-3-86971-210-9
Kerstin Ahlrichs

Karen Duve

Karen Duve, born in Hamburg in 1961, lives in the Märkische Schweiz area of Brandenburg. She has won numerous awards. Her novels Regenroman (“Rain”), Dies ist kein Liebeslied (“This Is Not a Love Song”), Die entführte Prinzessin (“The Abducted Princess”) and Taxi were bestsellers and have been translated into 14 languages. In 2011, she published Anständig essen. Ein Selbstversuch (“Eating Well”) and, in 2014, the polemic Warum die Sache schiefgeht (“Why Things Go Wrong”). Her novel Macht (published in GB under the title “The Prepper Room”) received the Kassel Literary Prize for Grotesque Humor 2017 and her last novel Fräulein Nettes kurzer Sommer (“Fräulein Nette's Brief Summer”) received the Düsseldorfer Literature Prize 2019. Karen Duve was recently awarded with the Soluthurner Literatur Prize 2019 and the Carl-Amery Literature Prize 2019 for her multifaceted oeuvre.

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