In post-revolutionary France of the early 1830’s, the elite combats dissent and opposition through a network of censors, informers and unofficial deputies. As modes of surveillance, the police also set up businesses, including brothels, publishers, cabarets and a clearing house for stolen paintings, enterprises that affect not only the targeted population but entertainers, actors and authors, among them Balzac and Henri Beyle (pen name Stendhal). Apart from risking arrest while his family’s fortunes are sinking, Balzac pursues wealth through enterprises that increase his debts, one being his collection of paintings. Predictably, many transactions are scrutinized by the police, who recruit young people in and around the arts, few of whom know what ends they serve, but the game, seemingly hedged by legal and bureaucratic safeguards, takes unexpected turns.
Princess Courtney loves elephants. Sometimes she would daydream about being an elephant so she could talk to and play with her elephant friends in the jungle. When a magician comes to her island and gives her a magic suit that makes her wish come true, she quickly learns the meaning of, “Be careful what you wish for, you might get it!”