The Pale Assassin
  • Alternative view 1 of The Pale Assassin
  • Alternative view 2 of The Pale Assassin

The Pale Assassin

4.1 14
by Patricia Elliott

View All Available Formats & Editions

In this dramatic novel set during the French Revolution, a teen aristocrat must question the justice of her own wealth while facing the cataclysmic divisions of her society.

Secrets are revealed, sympathies shift, and every choice change—or end—a life. Spoiled, beautiful fourteen-year-old Eugenie de Boncoeur is accustomed to outrageous privilege. The


In this dramatic novel set during the French Revolution, a teen aristocrat must question the justice of her own wealth while facing the cataclysmic divisions of her society.

Secrets are revealed, sympathies shift, and every choice change—or end—a life. Spoiled, beautiful fourteen-year-old Eugenie de Boncoeur is accustomed to outrageous privilege. The French Revolution may rage around her, but Eugenie's luxurious lifestyle is only improved by visits from her brother, Armand, especially doting since the two were orphaned. What Eugenie doesn't know is that their guardian has promised her in marriage to the wealthy, vengeful Le Fantome, a revolutionary nursing a secret grudge against her family. As the Revolution becomes increasingly violent, Eugenie is shipped off to convent school. Finally, there is no place in France that is safe for her. Eugenie dusts off her lightly used brains and rises to the challenge of survival; and soon she is in the thick of turmoil and romance, confronting spies, secret agents, and double-crossing suitors in her quest to get out of France alive.

Editorial Reviews

Children's Literature - Jody Little
Fourteen-year old Eugenie de Boncoeur has grown up spoiled in the care of her wealthy guardian during the years prior to the French Revolution. Eugenie's governess tries to explain the troubles and struggles of the common French people to Eugenie, but Eugenie is not interested. Unbeknownst to Eugenie, her guardian arranges her future marriage to La Fantome, a dangerous man with a long-standing grudge against Eugenie's family. As the Revolution kicks into high gear, Eugenie is put into a convent to keep her safe; but soon the convent is attacked, Eugenie escapes and is reunited with her brother, Armand. Armand proceeds to find hiding places for Eugenie, mostly with the commoners of Paris. Meanwhile, Armand plots an escape to England where Eugenie can live with their uncle. The day of their planned escape is the day of King Louis XVI's execution. After Armand discovers that the plan to save the king and his family has failed, he decides to remain in Paris; and he sends Eugenie away with his friend, Julien de Fortin. Traveling in disguise with false identities, Eugenie and Julien must fool both the French and English authorities, and they must also avoid the dreaded La Fantome who is following their every move. Historical fiction fans will enjoy this fast-paced adventure filled with real and fictional characters, plot and character twists, and romance throughout. While the romance storyline of the novel is satisfying, readers may be disappointed with all the unanswered questions at the end. The author includes an interesting historical note on the French Revolution as well as a timeline of major events. Reviewer: Jody Little
School Library Journal
Gr 7–10—The French Revolution forces spoiled Eugénie out of her privileged, narrow existence and into the larger world: hiding in decrepit houses, being hungry, and encountering starving peasants. Betrothed by her guardian to "Le Fantôme," the "richest man in Paris," who harbors a grudge against her family, Eugénie attempts to escape both him and increasingly dangerous France as her 16th birthday and wedding day approach. Her flight, while somewhat exciting to read about, is ultimately due to good fortune and the inexplicable help of others, and not the ill-conceived plan of her royalist brother and his compatriot. The strength of the novel is that it captures the mindset of a girl who has never considered the needs of others and the shock and fear the Revolution caused in the aristocracy. As a heroine, Eugénie isn't bad, just self-centered. While her brother stays behind in a country where his life is in danger, she thinks about her newest love interest. Other than being an unattractive lurker with cold hands, the "pale assassin" (the fiancé) isn't particularly scary. Purchase where historical fiction is popular.—Caroline Tesauro, Radford Public Library, VA
Kirkus Reviews
An exciting tale of deranged personal revenge plays out during and through the French Revolution. Eugenie and older brother Armand have no idea that ten years ago, in 1779, an assassin named Goullet swore eternal vengeance against their father for gambling losses and humiliation. Now orphaned, Eugenie and Armand live in Paris with a guardian who signs away Eugenie's hand in marriage-to Goullet, to be claimed when she comes of age. Goullet, a Javert-like figure, is both sadistic stalker and powerful politician. Between 1789 and 1793, Paris degenerates into bloody chaos and fury. Armand falls in love with constitutionalism even while remaining a royalist; Eugenie begins to recognize her economic privilege but still covets fashion and frivolity. The text flows seamlessly between viewpoints and masterfully conveys the Revolution's political complexities, with idealism, bitterness and power-lust blending murkily. Even the romantic plotline is inextricable from themes of spying and deception. As King Louis XVI falls under the guillotine, Goullet pursues Eugenie and a friend fleeing for the English Channel. Violent, thrilling and poised for continuation. (cast of historical and fictional characters, historical note, timeline) (Historical fiction. YA)

Product Details

Holiday House, Inc.
Publication date:
Product dimensions:
5.80(w) x 8.40(h) x 1.20(d)
840L (what's this?)
Age Range:
12 - 17 Years

Meet the Author

Patricia Elliott was born in London, but grew up in Europe and the Far East. A voracious reader since childhood (where she had the resources of ten different school libraries), she also made up ghost stories to scare her friends! As an adult, she worked in publishing in London and in a children's bookshop in New York. She now teaches a course in children's literature at an adult education college, and is writing further novels. She lives in Barnes with her husband, two sons and a yellow labrador called Fingal. Her first book, The Ice Boy, won the Fidler Award for a first novel, was shortlisted for the Branford Boase Award and the West Sussex award. Her second novel, Murkmere, has recently been longlisted for the Guardian Children's Fiction Award. Booklist called her previous novel, The Pale Assassin, "excellent...A ghighly suspenseful survival tale" in a starred review.

Customer Reviews

Average Review:

Write a Review

and post it to your social network


Most Helpful Customer Reviews

See all customer reviews >

The Pale Assassin 4.1 out of 5 based on 0 ratings. 14 reviews.
AvanJogiaLuver More than 1 year ago
When I first saw this book, I was like ok maybe I'll get around to reading it, maybe not. I brought it to the beach with me, and got bored so I decided to read it. I couldn't put the book down. I finished it in 2 days. I loved it! Maybe it's because I'm really into events/books that happened/took place way back then, so I think thats what made me like it even more, but I really recommend it.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
It takes you to another period of time. It has history, romance, and adventure. I didn't like the end though, because you don'tknow what happened next. Maybe she's going to write another one that continious
ivy16 More than 1 year ago
great book love twist and turns in it
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
the book was amazing up until the ending. they left me asking so many more questions. i mean the main character falls in love with this guy while her brother was captured by the rebels. the ending just left me without knowing what happens to the brother and frankly the main character didn't even seem like she cared! My opinion don't read the book!
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
I really like this story and the history behind it. I love how the author included a character list and a French Revolution timeline, it helped with the confusing parts. It was left open for a sequel and I was wondering if she will continue it or not.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
My daughter's favorite book! She could not put it down. I picked it up, and I COULD NOT PUT IT DOWN!
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
mfelts More than 1 year ago
I can only describe this book as "good" instead of brilliant or even great. The main character had the horrendous mindset of a child (actually she was a child) which forced the reader to see the French Revelation through a naive and somewhat spoiled pair of eyes. However, the historical accuracy of this book is great and based on a very well construed time line. I may have made a mistake in that I read Sovay by Celia Rees before this book and the two heroines just were not in the same league.
Kelsey-Dee More than 1 year ago
This book has beautiful writing and is the first first book I have been addicted to since Twilight and The Hunger Games! The story line is great because it fits in with the time and place. She even has a Timeline of the French Revolution in the back of the book! The dates are perfectly set to things that has happening in France and to the characters in the story. I like how Elliot truly describes her characters well and builds a strong idea of their past and present lives. She really did the research needed for this book and even has the writing to make it wonderful! I would definitely recommend this book for Young Adults and Teens. The only problem I find with it though is that the writing is sometimes challenging. At times I will have to read over a paragraph 2-3 times just ti fully understand it. The writing is very detailed and intricate. even though this makes it challenging, it also makes it very beautiful.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
SalvatoreAngel8996 More than 1 year ago
It was an okay book... a good read if you are really bored at home one day.... I wouldn't read it again though. It wasn't THAT interesting....