Thibaut Bechard

Bechard is the chief villain of part 1 of ‘Casanova in Paris: The Shadows of the King’.  He is one of Louis XV’s spymasters and head of the Shadows of the King, a secret organisation charged with defending the person and the interests of Louis XV.  Unlike Abbé de Bernis, a rival to Bechard for the favour and influence of the king, he is entirely a fictional character.  Bechard’s vision of the world is a grimly Hobbesian one.  Hobbes, the great English political philosopher of the seventeenth century, argued that peace and stability in society could only be achieved under the rule of a monarch who wielded absolute power in order to hold in check men’s natural tendency to pursue their own individual self-interest, the consequence of which, in Hobbes’ memorable phrase, would be ‘a war of all against all’.  In such a world, the rights and sufferings of individuals are inconsequential.  For Bechard, society and the people in it must be tamed.  The end justifies the means.  Beyond this, however, Bechard himself is a deeply flawed individual. He is a religious fanatic, proud and viciously sensitive to anything he perceives to be a slight upon his reputation.

‘The Prologue’, and chapters 1 to 3 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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