Cover Image: The Greatest Thing

The Greatest Thing

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Member Reviews

Because this book deals with such heavy subject matters I will advise any reader to prepare and make sure you're in the right mindset. However, the writing in the book is stunning. It's been a long time since I've cried while reading a book, but OMG. This book will have you sobbing. I was so attached to Louis that I had to remind myself that this is a book. Patti Flinn is going on my instant buy list

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Inspire by a true story of Louis Benoit Zamor, a young Indian boy of African descent who was stolen and sold to King Louis XV as a pet to his mistress, Madame du Barry- the King's Favorite.

Dressed up in fine clothing, educated, given abundance of food but yet treated as non-human. As a result, he helped plan the French Revolution & the beheading of Mistress du Barry!

This is an amazing story of strength and resilience ans humility. The French presented as diverse and welcoming but they were just as complicit in racial injustice globally.

I'm excited to read book 2 of this series!

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What a wonderful book about Louis-Benoit Zamor who was captured by British Slave Traders and sold to become a slave in the court of King Louis XV of France and also his integral role in the French Revolution.
The research that has gone into writing this book is amazing and I congratulate the author. Her writing captures the mood of the time. I was unaware of Louis story which made it all the more interesting and I am looking forward to the second book in the series. A very enjoyable read

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THE GREATEST IN by Patti Lynn tells the remarkable true story of Louis-Benoit Zamor. In 1771, King Louis XVth gifted his Favorite, Madame Jeanne du Barry, with a black child to serve as her servant and page. Years later, that child, Louis-Benoit Zamor, would send the last official French Favorite to her death.

This book is broken into three parts and is book one in the series.

Part I:
Follows Zamor, an African child, by way of India, as he is captured and sold into slavery at the age of five. Several children were abducted, but because of his more diminutive stature, he was purchased for the King of France, Louis XV- The Well-Beloved. Zamor, who cannot remember the name given to him by his family, comes to France from a home that showered him with love and affection. He is thrust into an adult world of opulence, conceit, treachery, and no tenderness. Upon his arrival to France, part I demonstrates in detail the loss of his innocence, literally and figuratively.

Part II:
After the death of Louis XV and Jeanna's subsequent exile from the palace of Versailles, Zamor experiences his first taste of freedom. Still enslaved, but now he is treated more like a servant. He also has hardened and is no longer bullied. Instead, he has transformed into that in which he was raised. He has become vicious, cunning, and a collector of other secrets. At the end of Part II, Jeanne was released from exile, and Queen Marie Antoinette returned her page, Zamor. His return to Jeanne chafes more because he is now a man-grown, and he is discontented with Jeanne's treatment of him- as that of a frightful small boy.

Part III:
Enslaved for several years now, he is more compliant. His compliance allows him slightly more freedom. He can now leave the chateau as long as he is back before morning to give Jeanne her morning hot chocolate. In these taverns and lowly bars on the Paris street at night, he joined the Jacobin group and was an integral part of the French Revolution.

I really enjoyed this book! Before reading this novel, I had never heard the story of Louis Benoit Zamor. The book's formatting, which was in the form of Zamor's self-published biography, moves the story forward but also has sequences of his past. It was interesting to read about historical figures in the book as well. Thomas Jefferson, his black slave Sally, King Louis XVI, Louis XVI, Marie Antoinette, and Chavliar are some historical figures. There were a few grammatical errors and some confusing formatting, but for the most part, the tone and delivery of this novel were superb.
I look forward to the release of book two. This book is set to release in March of this year. Be on the lookout!

Many thanks to NetGalley for the digital ARC. All opinions & the review are my own #TheGreatestThing #NetGalley

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Based of the story of Louis-Benoit Zamor and told through his eyes, this captivating story brings us a tale of wonder, determination and strength. Set over a number of decades span, we learn a lot about the main character throughout the story. Although not much is know about how he really lived, the author did such a good job of giving us an interesting and page Turing story. This was my first read by this author, but will not be my last. I enjoyed the flow of the story as well as the characters, as they navigated through life.

I received a copy of the book via Netgalley and am voluntarily leaving an honest review of my own thoughts and opinions.

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I haven't read historical fiction in a while, but the description for this one really sparked my fancy. It's told from the perspective of Louis Benoit Zamor, an Indian boy of African descent who is kidnapped and sold into slavery, to become the pet plaything of Madam du Barry, the favorite mistress of the French King Louis XV. History does not record many details of Zamor's life, but author Patti Flinn does a wonderful job in recreating his early life and struggles as a captive servant in the glittering halls of Versailles.

Some of the history in this book was eyebrow-raising: Zamor as the inspiration for Lafayette's original draft of the Declaration of the Rights of Man and Citizen. Zamor as the person who led the Third Estate to the game field for the infamous Tennis Court Oath. I smiled, but told myself - why the hell not?

What I really loved about this book was Zamor himself - his character is so conflicted, and he is fascinating to watch and to read. He is spoiled and petulant, but also charitable and loyal. He is fierce and flawed and oh, so watchable! I was also enamored by Zamor's descriptions of historical characters - Thomas Jefferson, of course, and Sally Hemmings, and Lafayette.

I am very much looking forward to the author's publication of the next book in the series. I can't wait to see what Zamor gets up to next!

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The French Revolution is usually seen from the perspective of the Monarch and his court, with their lavish spending, or the downtrodden peasants finding the courage to rise up against their masters and gain some dignity in the cruel life they inhabit.
This novel attacks the theme of revolution from two different perspectives. The first concerns a young black slave, stolen from his parents, and gifted to Madame du Barry, mistress to King Louis 16th. The second viewpoint is the political and radical face of the Jacobin Club and the formation of the National Assembly and their plans for a better future for all citizens.
This is an absolutely fascinating story, which deals with both anti- slavery and greatly desired human rights in France.
When Louis Benoit was sold into slavery and then became a gift, his position became strange according to French law. He wasn’t allowed to gain his freedom as this would reflect badly upon the Monarch. Louis spent most of his life campaigning against this corrupt system, and this led him to the members of the Jacobin club, who were determined to right many wrongs, but they didn’t plan to overthrow the Monarchy at first, nor did they intend to stop the very profitable slavery trade, all these events gradually came together as the King resolutely refused to meet and listen to the political will of the people.
This book is part one of a trilogy, so ends well before Madame Guillotine makes her appearance, it’s going to be a very interesting ride, I am very curious to know what unknown facts will emerge next, and I am looking forward to the next book. The research has been so detailed and , based upon real life people gives it all an added piquancy. It is a real sobering and engaging read.
My thanks to Netgalley and Gilded Orange Books , for my advance digital copy, freely given in exchange for my honest review. A five star rating. I will post a copy to Goodreads and Amazon UK .

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In this historical exploration into the world of 18th-century France unravelling the mystery of King Louis XV's reign and his gifted favourite in a narrative that weaves together drama, politics, and the complexities of human relationships.One of the book's strengths lies in its ability to seamlessly blend historical facts with a narrative that reads like a captivating novel. The author's prose is accessible, making this book an enjoyable read for both history enthusiasts and those new to historical novels. "The Greatest Thing" is a masterfully crafted historical book that brings to life the interesting world of King Louis XV and his gifted favourite. The balance of drama, historical knowledge, and vivid storytelling, Patti Flinn has created a work that is both informative and entertaining. This book is a must-read for anyone eager to explore the intricacies of courtly life in 18th-century France and the compelling characters who shaped this tumultuous period of history.

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A saga of pre-revolutionary France from 1771 – 1789, focused on one small enslaved boy, Zamor, who winds up living as a page at the Palace of Versailles, a gift from King Louis XV to his last mistress, Madame du Barry. In this position, Zamor is privy to the inner workings of the ruling class.

THE GREATEST THING is historical fiction (the first in a planned series of novels) about the a growing divide between rich and poor (sounds familiar, huh?) — showcasing unimaginable excesses among privileged royals and aristocrats, the struggle most ordinary French citizens faced simply to feed their families, and the mounting pressure for greater equality from the Sans-culottes. And, of course, about institutional slavery in society. All explored from the perspective of Zamor.

Despite the fact that Zamor lives among the wealthiest and most powerful in the country — with plenty to eat, a place to sleep, and fancy clothes — he nevertheless feels the chains of enslavement acutely. As one of the few Black-skinned people living at Versailles, Zamor is ostracized, tormented, and patronized. So his main goal is to win his freedom.

As years pass and he grows into manhood, first during the reign of Louis XV and later, after the King’s death, accompanying du Barry into exile, Zamor must continually find new ways to survive among the competitive and vindictive nobles (AND servants) who populate his world. Many of behaviors Zamor adopts are contemptible.

But he is a smart and perceptive man who has read the the philosophy of Jean-Jacques Rousseau, conversed with statesman Thomas Jefferson, and hung out with Gilbert du Motier, aka Marquis de Lafayette. Zamor watches as French support for change becomes more widespread.

A book written from the viewpoint of an enslaved boy/man puts a unique spin on the years leading to the French Revolution (1789-1799) and I found Zamor’s story compelling, though perhaps a bit too long. Toward the end I found some interactions became repetitive and couldn’t see how they were essential to the overall progress of the novel. But, to be fair, perhaps author Patti Flinn needs some of this material to set up her sequel novels.

I do recommend the book and will likely read the continuing story of Zamor when the author’s future novels become available.

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A great novel!! I really enjoyed the storyline and the plot was well structured. I loved reading about Zamor whom I hardly knew and never had guessed about his role in the French Revolution! Many interesting historical details rendering this novel fascinating. The dialogues and Zamor's thoughts (book written in the first person) were very entertaining. I loved his sarcasm! I can't wait to read book 2!
I received a complimentary digital ARC of this novel from NetGalley and I am leaving voluntarily an honest review.

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A very interesting historical fiction story about Louis-Benoit Zamor, page to Madame Du Barry. Little is really known about him but the author does a very good job in putting together a tale about his life. This first book in what I believe will be a two part series starts with his life in her "service" at around the age of 5 and ends with the beginning of the French Revolution. Fascinating history of how slavery was perceived in France during that time. There were some moments where it was just a little bit dry for me (never been a fan of American History - go figure) but very minor moments. A definite recommended read. Thank you to NetGalley, the author and publisher for an advanced copy in exchange for my honest opinion.

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Words almost cannot express how GOOD this book is! The reader will see everything through the eyes of Louis-Benoit Zamor. This makes the narrative so poignant, so real, since most of the action is happening to and from him. This, at least, is what I felt.

The story is set in France pre-revolution years and the scenario that led up to it with the Jacobins and National Assembly. Zamor, a real-to-life person, pushes anti-slavery and equal rights. Even though there are other true-to-life characters, I believe this is a work of well-garnered historical fiction.

Readers who care about the slave trade, human trafficking and all contingent with the abolition of such wickedness will, in my opinion, want to read this book.

There is one caution to potential readers. There is much debauchery, orgies and the like described, so I just want to mention this on the aside, incase anyone may be adverse to reading about it.

This is Book 1 and when I came to the end I wanted to immediately delve into Book 2. I eagerly await it.

I've given this author a 5 Star rating.

~ Eunice C., Reviewer/Blogger~

Disclaimer: This is my honest opinion based on the complimentary review copy sent by NetGalley and the publisher.

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Fantastic book about a page, who was a slave, a gift from Louis the Well Beloved, to his mistress Madame du Barry.
The characters are well drawn and the book is well written. I hope these author sets more books in eighteenth century France because I love them. Highly recommended.

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