Mathilde-Marie de Malfilâtre

(Le Dilettante, 250 pages, 2018)



Luna is well on her way to a brilliant future in the service to the nation. A dutiful daughter with an impeccable CV, she is a lieutenant and political analyst in the elite Counterterrorism Bureau at France’s National Gendarmerie. Her specialty: ultra-left and eco-terrorism. Luna is more than ready for a career change when she encounters Marco Von Z, veteran drug dealer and vegan animal rights activist. From Berlin to Milan and Paris to Marrakesh, the two partners in crime embark on a frenetic drug-fueled ride spiced up with mind-blowing sexual ecstasies.

The lovebirds’ master plan is to gather a bundle of cash to start a new life in Morocco—one that Luna wishes would be of true benefit to society. Her ideal includes juice bars and naturotherapy for all. Operation #1 (and there will be more): Flood the City of Lights with top-quality Moroccan hash. From underground caves, music festivals, seedy nightclubs, and temples of the electro-trash scene, the Bonnie and Clyde of the new millennium zigzag across Europe to liquidate their merchandise. Luna relies on Marco’s professionalism and on her good star.

Babylon Express is part transgressive initiation journey, part lyrical love story, and part sardonic portrait of the underground with, as a bonus, an impressive Michelin-like guide of psychoactive substances. Delivered with a breathless rhythm, and an astonishing prose bristling with a mixture of Italian, Rom, and Arabic slang, this dazzling first novel by Mathilde-Marie de Malfilâtre is already establishing her as a new voice to be reckoned with.


Mathilde-Marie de Malfilâtre was born in Normandy, and grew up in Japan. In 2008, she obtained a double degree in International Relations and Commerce. A graduate of the University of Bradford, England, she also holds a master’s degree in International Politics and Security. Like her heroine Luna, Mathilde-Marie then joined France’s National Gendarmerie in the Counterterrorism Bureau. Babylon Express is her first novel.