La Chronique des Désirs Interdits
La Chronique des Désirs Interdits, a series of novels written by Victorine le Maire. The Chronicle, as the English speaking world knows it, is actually a pentalogy of books, centered on the loves and trials of four central characters. The novels are geared for young adults to adults, generally meant by the author to be read in the later years of pre-university study at the earliest.
Cast of Characters
- Simon Cannetton is a lycéen (secondary education student) from Petroliac, Saint-Onge who moves with his father to Ouapiti, Nouvelle Navarre when his mother dies.
- Georges Cannetton, Simon's father, head of the post of Gendarmes in the area, working with Oregonian leaders to help maintain law and order in the Peace Park.
- Kimimela "Kimi" Chabenat, younger daughter of Haka Chabenat. Her mother, a cournouaillaise, died giving birth to her.
- Aodrena "Rena" Chabenat, older daughter of Haka Chabenat. Rena and Kimi are very close together. Aodrena is named after her maternal grandmother.
- Honiahaka "Haka" Chabenat, father of Rena and Kimi, and leads the local Aboriginal Rights group. His father was from Brest, France, his mother a native priestess.
- Théophile Guillou, artist, entrepreneur and local doctor, adoptive father of the Guillou family.
- Yveline Guillou, adoptive mother of the Guillou family, homemaker, society figure, often travels around North America, organizing for animal protection charities.
- Françoise Guillou youngest daughter, but earliest adopted, Françoise joined the family at the age of 13, although she is mature for her otherwise young age.
- Sabine Guillou oldest daughter, adopted next. Sabine and Rémy are romantically involved.
- Rémy Guillou oldest brother, adopted shortly after Sabine.
- Gabrielle Guillou middle daughter, Gabrielle is often described as having a ballerina's gait, practically dancing as she moves.
- Xavier Guillou middle son, cold and reserved in public, Xavier is romantically involved with Gabrielle.
- Alain Delozère, a materials-arts student at the Lycée Ouapiti who proves to be the only boy not susceptible to Kimi Chabenat's inherent seductive abilities.
La Soirée / Eventide
Simon Cannetton and his father Georges have recently moved from Petroliac, Saint-Onge to Ouapiti, Nouvelle Navarre with a new placement for his father with the Gendarmerie charged with maintaining the peace of the International Peace Park. Simon attends school, but is so often distracted by his grief for his deceased mother. Gradually he builds a friendship with "Kimi" Chabenat, daughter of his father's partner, "Haka" Chabenat, and also with the often confusing Françoise Guillou.
Simon also befriends Alain Delozère, and the two are inseparable at first. When Simon falls suddenly in love with Kimi, the friendship sours, and Alain remains aloof from Kimi and Simon, avoiding even the most pointed attempts to get his attention. When Simon and Kimi's relationship falters (much to Kimi's surprise), Simon falls almost as quickly for Françoise. Alain, who harbours a love of his own for Kimi encourages Simon, adding to Kimi's consternation.
As his love for Françoise grows, Kimi becomes jealous, revealing herself to be a korrigan. Using her power to see the future, she sees an oncoming rush of puquoidgies, but cannot voice it to Simon, for she sees his death, but also sees the truth of where his relationship with Françoise could lead, for Françoise and her family are truly rougarous, shape-shifters who can become the terrible Wendigo of Algonquian legend or the Yinaldluschi of Southwestern legend if given to extreme violence.
As Simon and Françoise visit in the woods near her home, Kimi appears, suddenly, as her true korrigan self, and declares the horrors that could await Simon. Françoise frustrated at Kimi's meddling in her relationships becomes mildly angry and reverts to her true rougarou form, for a moment as she howls in teen-aged pique. Simon is terrified, and runs from them both, driving westward to find his father in the Peace Park. Stopping at a roadside telephone, Simon calls Alain, and agrees to meet him at one of the major geysers, La Plume, all the while never disclosing the cause of his distress.
Well-meaning and inadvertent misdirection from hikers inadvertently leads Simon to the great falls in the park, where he sits and ponders his situation. He hears a slight humming and finds himself surrounded by a tribe of puquoidgie, intent on driving him off the cliff. As he's about to fall, Françoise sweeps in as an eagle, grasping him and taking him safely across the river while Kimi uses her power of lightening speed to dispatch the evil puquoidgie tribe, having seen the destruction and evil the puquodgie would bring to the region should they survive.
Later, as Simon recovers consciousness and calls for Françoise, Kimi realizes that she can only be friends with Simon, so long as he loves Françoise, and sadly chooses this path, opening to her eyes the view of the near future, where the lives of all in Ouapiti are endangered.
Les Etoiles / The Stars
In her haste to destroy the puquoidgie who were trying to kill Simon, Kimi was not thorough enough. One surviving puquoidgie, Matanoeg, begins gathering an army of Tépailleöuankas--souls of the dead. In Ouapiti, the Gendarmes become concerned with the number of suicides and questionable deaths in and around the Peace Park. When word comes of a number of deaths in Oregon, Georges becomes concerned for Simon. Because he's spending so much time in the Peace Park, he asks that the Guillou family takes Simon in. Sensing something deeper afoot, Théophile and Yveline agree. In the course of a week Simon is inducted more deeply into their world, learning of how this clan of Rougarou came to be.
Kimi, meanwhile mourns her desire for Simon, to the point that she ignores the overtures of Alain. When her car breaks down, Alain is miraculously nearby to fix it, and when her electricity fails, he stops by with a generator and tools to fix it. Kimi expects that he has caused these accidents, but he hasn't. Frustrated that her charms won't work on Alain for some reason and that he has no ulterior motives, she rejects him.
Alain, spurned by Kimi runs off into the mountains near Ouapiti, and stumbles upon the puquoidgie Matanoeg speaking with her shadow master, the Vompire Domitian. Domitian claims Alain as his own and begins hunting him through the woods, nearly catching him several times, biting him, and infecting him with his venom. Françoise finds him and takes him to Théophile who can only stem the pain of the transformation.
Françoise and her brothers Xavier and Rémy go to seek Matanoeg and Domitian, only succeeding in destroying Matanoeg. Her cloud of Tépailleöuankas disperse, like stars into the sky, but the Guillou's know that this is a temporary respite -- Domitian is not gone yet.
Théophile meanwhile has studied the venom and the bacteria that inhabit it, and have found that he and his family share some of the same bacteria, meaning that it could be possible to stem the tide of Alain's change, allowing him to retain at some level his humanity.
Kimi encounters Françoise and her brothers as they return to the city and is told of Alain's state. She rushes to his side, knowing that it was at some level her fault. She takes one look at his suffering form and leaves the Guillou's home, boarding an Air Louisianne flight for France. Françoise and Simon try to stop her, but she's able to evade them and flee.
La Nouvelle Lune / Black Moon
Françoise and Simon return to Ouapiti from Pamplona and speak with Haka and Rena, telling them where they think that Kimi has gone. Haka reveals the true nature of his family to both of them, and all four make preparations to go to France. Théophile and Yveline continue to research and work to save Alain from turning into a vompire, and understand even better how subtle the differences between rougarous, wendigos and the vompires of Europe are. While Alain lays in fever-sweat induced by pain of the transformation he mutters to himself, crying out, "Save Kimi!" Théophile learns of the voyage that Françoise and Simon are making with the Chabenats and warns her to be careful in Europe, that she is not connected to the spirit of the land there as she is in Louisianne.
They arrive in Brest on October 30--and the new moon is the following night, All Hallow's Eve. Haka and Rena teach Françoise and Simon of the power of this day for korrigans, especially with a new moon. They set about searching for her, Haka and Rena probing the future to see if they can find her in some way. As the twilight comes on October 31st, they are about to give up hope, but Simon stumbles across the tip of a buried dolmen and they find themselves surrounded by a group of korrigans, their faces twisted in hate.
Haka and Rena try to speak to them, but they shake their heads and look into the darkness, to the west. Dragged between two korrigans is Kimi, and just behind her the looming bulk of what can only be a wendigo. Kimi is thrown at her family's feet, and the wendigo, Azrael offers her life in exchange for that of Simon. Françoise moves to stop him, but is thrown back to the ground and held by the other korrigan. Revelling in her pain, Azrael decides to change Simon instead of eat him and begins the process, scraping his foetid claw along Simon's arm, producing a bleeding gash. As he begins the process of removing one of his own fingers to infect the wound and thus Simon's soul, the Chabenats begin singing a druidic chant. Azrael becomes distracted until he feels his power over the other korrigans waning. As one, the korrigans shake their heads, clearing them of the spell that bound them to Azrael and they chased after him, into the dark night.
Françoise and the Chabenats waste no time in leaving Brehun, and on their return flight the airship is struck by lightning, forced to land near Massachussets Bay. As they wait at the edge of the milling crowd of passengers, waiting to be taken to Boston for a continued flight, or to a train station, they find themselves compelled away from the crowd and drawn to the forest, though they each fight the impulse. When they are surrounded by the trees a band of puquoidgies appears around them. Spears and poisoned arrows pointed at them, they are forced to seat while the priestess of the tribe walks toward them. She reaches first to touch Simon, and Françoise hisses to his protection, only to be pinned in place by the arrows and spears that would kill her instantly, should she prick her skin. The priestess places her hand on Françoise's forehead for a moment only, but when she withdraws, Françoise begins to smile.
She relates the story of the Maqui Awissug -- the true name of the puquoidgies. The Maqui Awissug are forest dwellers and protectors of the forest. Feeling that the Chabenats and Françoise are allies, the priestess, Tisaquanta, offers a treaty. The treaty would give the Guillous and Chabenats the knowledge to combat the wendigos and vompires and any other puquoidgies -- for each of these fearful beings is disconnected from the spirit of the Earth around them. They only ask in return that each family promises to fight the spread of Domitian's power, for his efforts to subvert the Earth are gaining power amid the Helvetians.
When at last they return to their homes in Ouapiti Théophile, Yveline and the other Guillous gather them to Alain's bedside, where he is just gaining lucidity, the fever broken, the change complete, but tempered by Théophile's and Yveline's efforts. As he greets them each, hugging Kimi close, he gasps. "I can see the future--" his voice grows weak and he lays back on the bed, staring into the distance. "Domitian is coming, and he brings death."
L'Obscurcissement / Occultation
As Théophile and Kimi work with Alain to try to help him understand the visions, the others go to the Noirraines in search of herbs and bacterial samples to help mitigate the vompiric change. Haka chooses to stay behind initially but is persuaded by Yveline to pursue the young ones and help them.
Alain shortly slips away into a coma, murmuring over and over "Domitian," at times in fear, others longing, as if for a friend, and even, at times, a father. Just as Alain reaches his worst, Georges discovers him in the Guillou's mansion outside of Ouapiti in the forest.
Alain, half-out of his mind in delirium does his best to stay back from Georges, his vompire tendencies stronger than those of the Rougarou. He attacks Georges who manages to save himiself with a shot from his pistol which gave a glancing blow to Alain. The wound brings him to his senses for a moment, but in shame Alain flees, fearing he's hurt Georges, even fatally so. Yveline tries to stop him, but he flees into the arms of Domitian and his vompires who take him to their lair in Helvetia.
Georges is unhurt, but his memory of the fight has been clouded by a blow to his head. Théophile and Yveline promise to find Alain and bring him back. With Xavier and Gabrielle they give chase, expecting the worst when they find him.
Simon, Francoise and Rena and Rémy meanwhile have established camp near one of the largest of the Noirraines, and are searching for those herbs and bacteria that Théophile tasked them with finding. Knowing of the voyage that the Guillous are making to save Alain, Kimi and Haka pause and look to the future, searching for each of them. As they see Alain, Simon and the Guillous and even themselves, for a moment all is clear but suddenly, as if burned away in a fireball, their futures disappear.
Frantic, Haka boards Kimi aboard the next Air Louisianne flight to Helvetia, and goes himself to the Noirraines. In his vision he saw the rebirth of la Peluda. A band of renegade Sioux wish to release the gaulic dragon to rid their lands of the white man. In vision Haka sees only the destruction of the western world, for la Peluda is not the only dragon that would return.
When the Guillous land in Geneva/Jenaw they are accosted by Kimi near the railway station, with the news of la Peluda. Their search keens to fever pitch, knowing that they must return to Louisianne to help their friends, but only after saving Alain from Domitian. Traveling to the mountains on the south of Lake Geneva, the Guillous mount to the summit of Mountain of the Mémises, where Domitian and his clan have their stronghold.
Simon and Françoise are hiking in search of the herbs for Alain, unaware of his disappearance when they stumble upon a mountain valley where the renegade Sioux have nearly completed the summoning of la Peluda. As they are nearly discovered Haka appears and knocks the scout unconscious. The gendarmes are coming, but they are not due to arrive in time to stop the ceremony. Françoise, Remy and Rena transform while Haka and Simon (armed with a protective talisman) walk out of the tree line and startle the Sioux.
A tense stand-off begins as Haka and Simon try to persuade the Sioux to stop their efforts, but while three of the natives negotiate with them, two continue to chant and add in other pieces of the incantation. It becomes clear that they have no intention of stopping. The dimensional veil thins and la Peluda begins to peer through, and behind it, all the other demons and monsters that had been cast away from the Earth.
The Sioux negotiating with Haka and Simon cower in fear and run away as the dimension thins, and the vale slips into reach of the Peluda. Trees are set ablaze, and just as the last piece of the incantation is about to be cast into the mix, freeing the Peluda and his fellow monsters to ravage the Earth, the Guillous jump from the trees, destroying the efforts of the Sioux. In the confusion, Haka and Simon disappear, while incriminating evidence is left, and the Gendarmes are able to arrest them.
The crisis, narrowly averted, Haka, Simon, and the Guillous make their way back to Ouapiti by train, while Kimi and the other Guillous move in on the Vompire stronghold. Unbeknownst to them, the Guillous, surveying Domitian's stronghold, are themselves surrounded by Vompires...
L'Aurore / Daybreak
The Vompires surrounding the Guillou's turn out to be not of Domitian's coven, but a rival group to the south, from Xliponia. Sneaking into the compound, while the Xliponians, Feuçr and Aucuç create a diversion, the Guillou's invade the compound, and locate Alain. He is found, half aware in a room off of Domitian's chambers. The Guillou's make their way to the roof of the compound, only to find that their Xliponian allies are no longer providing a distraction, and Domitian and the vompires are coming for them. Able to awaken Alain, the Guillous urge him to transform, using the rougarou bacterium within him. Showing a surprising presence of mind, Alain transforms into the form of a bald eagle, and they all escape.
Through the return voyage, Alain remains in his bird-like form, eager only to stave off the Vompiric tendencies he had suffered. Throughout their voyage, the Guillou's sense vompiric activity, but none aboard the zeppelin are hurt. It is not until they disembark the zeppelin in Paris-sur-Mizouri and ride the TGV to the north that they discover they are joined by Feuçr and Aucuç, and their Xliponian coven.
As they disembark in Pamplona, the Guillou's are forced to rent a mini-bus to accommodate the coven and their number, all the while, Alain remaining in his bird-form. They arrive at Ouapiti and return to their home, only to find that they have additional visitors, the Maqui Awissug. Tisaquanta declares that Domitian and his unholy alliance have crossed the ocean and are moving to Ouapiti to bring to an end the Chabenat and Guillou families.
With only days to prepare, the strongest efforts are made, and the meeting place for the battle is decided, a great plain to the north between Issoudun and Crosne. While they are not certain that Domitian will come, they know that he cannot resist Alain - knowing that Alain could be a new addition to his coven. With Alain in place, and in human form, it is but a matter of time before Domitian and his army come.
When Alain at last returns to his human forms, Théophile can detect hardly a trace of the vompiric bacterium in his system. Before he can analyze the change, however, Domitian and his allies appear, and the battle begins. After a difficult battle, many are wounded, but none of the Maqui Awissug, Chabenat's, Guillou's or their Xliponian allies have been killed. Although many of the attackers have met their end, their numbers greatly outpace the Ouapiti alliance. As the day draws to a close, and the night draws near with the threat of renewed battle, all looks dark.
Just as the sun nestles into the crags of the Rockies, from the grasses of the plains step the korrigans to join the fray. In a quiet moment, the chief Korrigane offers Simon a golden torc, and he accepts it grudgingly, embarrassed at the offering. When this doesn't appease the woman, he follows her urging and puts it on. She then leaves him and returns to the Korrigans who have arrayed themselves in preparation for the battle.
As he stand next to Françoise and looks at their foes across the battlefield, he feels the rage and frustration rise up within him. He cannot offer any additional support to his friends and he can feel the fires of his gaullic ancestry burning within him. In a sudden urge, he strips his shirt from his chest and stands forward of the lines of his friends, facing the oncoming enemies. In a blaze of bluish green light, a psychic blast lashes out, stopping their attackers in shock as Simon increases in stature, rising to seven feet tall, a beard and long hair growing from his head. His fellows look at him in surprise as a pair of antlers grow from his head and the prairie around him bursts into bloom. He utters a stream of celtic words, and a forest of trees and vines grow about their enemies, trapping and ensnaring them, and his allies launch forward for the kill.
Domitian breaks free, and throws himself toward Alain, who changes to the form of a timberwolf, and succeeds in ripping him limb from limb as the rest of Domitians allies are dispatched with equal ease, the new-found powers of Simon tipping the scales.
It isn't until after their enemies are properly disposed, and the Xliponian vompires are returning to their homes that the Korrigans explain Simon's transformation. He is indeed the avatāraḥ of the Gaulish deity Cernunnos, and as such is assured a long life, so long as he remains grounded with the spirit of the world. The book closes with a very anti-climactic graduation, and the promise of peace for all in Ouapiti.
At initial publication Eventide/La Soirée generally received positive reviews. The Chicago Times praised the book for capturing "perfectly the teenage feeling of sexual tension and alienation", while the Georgetown Star called it "the thrilling tale of a supernatural romance at high school". Lawrence Koenig's book reviewer, Mikhail Carroll called it "an iconic love story for a whole generation".
Despite the immense popularity, the books have received much criticism. Laure Tessier of Le Salon magazine noted that "the characters, such as they are, are stripped down to a minimum, lacking the texture and idiosyncrasies of actual people", and said that "It would be a lot more persuasive as an argument that an "amazing heart" counts for more than appearances if it didn't harp so incessantly on Françoise's superficial splendors." Natalie Pompillo of The Philadelphia Expositor criticized Mme. le Maire's writing, noting, "Simon is often struck by Françoise's beauty and perfection, to the point where I want to say, 'We get it. He thinks she's hot. Next idea, please!' The author loves adjectives, adverbs, and any word that can stretch out a sentence."
The books have also received criticism of alleged sexism for the portrayal of the series' male characters. Mme. le Maire has dismissed these criticisms, arguing both that the books center around Simon and Alain's choices.