The chief henchman of part 1 of ‘Casanova in Paris: The Shadows of the King’ is Marquis Philippe Carbajales d’Olhonce (aka The Southerner) a nobleman and, therefore, a member of France’s Second Estate. Unlike many of our other characters, The Southerner is entirely fictional.
The Marquis combines the qualities of a psychopath and an entrepreneur. From childhood, his perspective of the world was atypical. He saw parallels between love and death, relating the one with the other. His experience of love triggered his desire to experience what it would be like to take a life. At the age of fourteen, he murdered a man in cold blood and discovered that, as he’d suspected, the desire and experience of killing was similar to that of being in love. Being a member of France’s Second Estate, he then pursued a career as an army officer.
Exploiting his success in the army, and recognising a lucrative market for a man of his particular aptitudes and skills, d’Olhonce decided to work for himself and quickly acquired a reputation for being reliable, efficient and professional. He expanded his business, building a small team of men around him, and offered a range of different services, from assassination, kidnapping and persuasion to surveillance and information gathering. Being his own boss appealed to him, not so much because of the money, he had no concern for material possessions, but because of the freedom it brought him, unsupervised by any military hierarchy. The Southerner shares with other psychopaths and predators an uncanny ability to perceive what motivates an individual, their needs, their hopes and their fears, in order to manipulate and acquire power over them. Unusually for the time, his outlook is purely secular. For him, religion is no more than an empty solace that distracts a man from seeing the world, and the condition of the people in it, as it truly is.
‘The Prologue’, and chapters 1 and 2 of ‘Casanova in Paris: The Shadows of the King’ are now freely available here.
6 long form articles on Casanova’s life and times are freely available here.
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