Date of Award


Degree Type


Degree Name

Master of Arts




English (MA)

First Advisor/Chairperson

Caroline Krzakowski


Secret Wars is a novella that takes place from 1803-1805. From 1802-1803 England and France gained a brief peace under the Treaty of Amiens. But tensions escalated quickly, and combat renewed in mid-1803, not to be resolved until Napoleon had been deposed. The politicians and radicals active in this period fascinate historians, but there is less attention given to the common citizens affected by France’s bewildering climate of change and conflicting ideas.

Secret Wars features an array of characters from both France and England. Major characters include Willace Camerson, an English journalist; Mathieu Levesque, a Royalist navy-captain; Manu de Vallier, a French woman; Marie Holmwood, an English woman and Willace’s unwilling love-interest; and M. de Vallier, a Royalist aristocrat. Also prominent is Vice-Admiral Villeneuve, a real historical figure who often goes overlooked.

This novella focuses on the complex relationships between people of different cultures and politics, as well as the notions of loyalty during wartime. Willace Camerson’s attempts to avoid marrying to his childhood friend causes him to embark on an increasingly risky search for knowledge, while Mathieu Levesque stolidly does his duty until he starts to question the extent of his own loyalties. Meanwhile Manu and Marie, despite their differing politics and the machinations of their fathers, find eventual happiness together.

Secret Wars investigates themes of duty, propaganda, friendship, and honesty in a society where the truth can be dangerous. Throughout this work each character reveals different ideas about what these words mean in a difficult period of history.

Access Type

NMU Users Only

Justification for Restricting Access

I recognize that Northern Michigan University's policy of making theses available is intended to help promote education and contribute to academia. Free and open access to a thesis holding medical research, for example, could help promote understanding within the field as a whole. However, the thesis I have submitted is a fictional novella. While I hope that this work will help convey important thematic ideas, it does not contain research of the sort that Northern Michigan University's policy intends to disseminate. Furthermore, it is not the type of document people try to search for using Proquest, and once published online it is unlikely to be accepted for publication anywhere else. I do hope to eventual publish this text through a conventional method. In the interest of using this document to its full potential, I hope that an embargo might be placed upon this work as long as the University can allow. Thank you.