Jean-Jacques Rousseau mentions his older brother Francois only two times in his classic Confessions. In "The Only Son", Stephane Audeguy resurrects Rousseau's forgotten brother in a picaresque tale that brings to life the secret world of eighteenth-century Paris. Instructed at an early age in the philosophy of libertinage by a decadent aristocrat and later apprenticed to a clock maker, Francois is ultimately disowned by his family and flees to Paris' underworld. There he finds work in a brothel that caters to politicians and clergy and begins his personal study of the varieties of sexual desire - and its most arcane proclivities. Audeguy uses the libertine's progress to explore the interplay between the individual and society, much in the tradition of Jean-Jacques, but with a very different emphasis. Bold, erotic, and historically fascinating, "The Only Son", is, in many ways, the anti-Confessions - Francois' own, decidedly different, portrait of human nature.