Simon Voltaire, the Master of Paris, is the powerful Spark who rules over Europa's version of the City of Light. He is characterized as being defending only his own area and working in private inside Europa's version of the Eiffel Tower on his own projects, but maintaining the peace of Paris with an and the , who are normally given a wide amount of latitude to deal with problems.
He a truly substantial man, on the lines of Master Payne, only even taller and wider, with dark purplish skin, white hair and his right eye either covered with or replaced by a large green lens. (Green appears to be his chosen color in terms of fashion as well.) He shows a distinct lack of appreciation for fine hats.
Why fear the Master? Edit
Upon Agatha's arrival in Paris she takes in an that is quite informative. The incredibly lifelike marionette narrator (a young woman with reddish hair and dark skin) introduces Paris as the home of the Master and subject of no one's laws except his. Included in the "puppet show" is a decent representation of Klaus Wulfenbach, and a puppet representing the Master, who similarly proves to be a fairly (though not exactly) accurate representation of its subject.
Sadly, in short order, one of the Master's covert agents, Drusus Beausoleil, kidnaps Agatha and drags her into a confrontation with Du Quay, a would-be usurper of the Master's power, in an attempt to both thwart the man's plans and judge Agatha's abilities. While technically a success on both counts, the fallout from this act leads to the Master taking a in the matter, to the vast displeasure of both the Master and Beausoleil.
The Master grants Agatha an audience in the Awful Tower, where he shows a pronounced disinclination to assist her in freeing Mechanicsburg from its time-bubble. He reveals his policy of allowing some of the more peaceable Heterodynes to earn the right to very temporarily stay in his city, a privilege which is measured down to the hour. He gives Agatha three days, which is what was left on her father and uncle's account at the time of their disappearance(s).
Othar and the Master Edit
According to Othar's Twitter, the Master had need of the services of everyone's favorite Gentleman Adventurer. Due to Othar's resulting violation(s) of Parisian security measures, as of the Master is also the latest entry on the long list of Sparks who want to exterminate Othar, although Othar's subsequent mental time travel presumably erased these events.
Master of France? Edit
The title "Master of Paris" suggests that France -- or the area between the Pyrenees, the Wulfenbach Empire, and the Atlantic -- may not be a united polity, although no definitive information is available, apart from a comment in the aforementioned puppet show which describes the Empire as "surrounding" Paris. Othar's Twitter implies that the Master at least controls the Paris suburbs, with the boundary marked by a famous changing sign.
The Works Edit
Long before his official arrival in canon, Simon Voltaire (Master of Paris, Spark) was depicted on a card in The Works card game. Unlike many similar individuals, his physical appearance in the game hews very closely to how he appears in the comic. In fact, he looks more accurate in The Works than he does in the puppet-show.
Possibly Relevant Outside Information Edit
Monsieur Voltaire has a passing resemblance to the Marquis de London (on the wrong side of the Channel, of course) who in turn is a pastiche of the famous Nero Wolfe. Colette Voltaire may fill in for Lord Bontriomphe/Archie Goodwin.
François-Marie Arouet, the real-life author known as Voltaire, was an admirer of Isaac Newton, and himself conducted experiments aimed at understanding fire and light.
Alessandro Giuseppe Antonio Anastasio Volta, the namesake of the Volt, was an Italian physicist and chemist responsible for much early work concerning electricity around the turn of the 18th century. Much of Simon Voltaire's work as a spark seems to focus around these avenues of research. That and the similar name may indicate Volta providing some historical inspiration for Monsieur Voltaire.