Spring 1757. Having undergone a life-threatening illness, Archduchess Maria Anna of Habsburg-Lorraine, formerly known as a cheerful socialite and an enthusiastic dancer at Viennese court, has become an introverted and intellectually disposed maiden. In an attempt to make sense of her enforced idleness, she encounters a rumour about the late Princess Schwarzenberg, who is said to have been in league with dark forces during her lifetime. Intrigued, Marianne becomes engrossed in research which leads her to experiences and realisations rather unusual for an Imperial princess. She must find out whether an ancient hunting accident was a murder or even a fabrication of black magic. In the shadow of a hateful marriage, she discovers tortured souls and unrequited first love. Pondering human passions and weaknesses, the young Archduchess comes across the hidden traits of her own family and Imperial forebears. In the era of Enlightenment, the tendency towards reason and education encounters religious fanaticism and the darkest superstition, by which even the court aristocracy does not remain untouched. At the same time, Frederick of Prussia has challenged Empress Maria Theresa and the Seven Years’ War is about to revive.
Hardcover, 192 pages.