France, during the revolution is a very dangerous place and fortunes can change in the blinking of an eye. A small group of young people, led by a girl named Camille have set themselves the task of rescuing people from the guillotine. They are a mixed bag of ex aristocrats, deserters and outcasts, who no longer believe in the revolution or in the system that it has replaced. When they were asked to rescue a young girl from the Conciergerie, the same prison that had housed Marie Antoinette, they assumed it would be difficult but possible. What they discovered was a young girl wearing an iron mask and covered from head to foot with fabric or leather; after achieving their aim of rescuing her they discover the strange secret that she holds. The girl, Olympe, is full of electrical energy which could prove to be a danger to anyone that she comes in to contact with. However some people have realized that she could be used as a weapon and have been experimenting to try and discover whether her powers could be passed to others. Suddenly the band of friends find themselves trying to protect this girl from both the French and English governments, both of whom wish to exploit her potential. But who can they trust and what are the consequences of choosing the wrong friends?
This is a fascinating and exciting mixture of history and magic/fantasy. The author really has conveyed the difficulties of living at such a time; where even family can no longer be relied on and new alliances can be fraught with danger. The main characters are dealing with family pressures, friendship and relationships which are unusual for the time; Camille and her lover Adalaide being a prime example. There is prejudice against those who are different, whether that is physically or who have different points of view. The book brings a real feel of the period and there are echoes of titles such as A Tale of Two Cities, Jonathan Strange and Mr Norrell, The Red Necklace and even The Scarlet Pimpernel. Altogether this is an exciting and challenging read for those who love history, with a touch of magic.