Bel ami (Dear Friend) is the second novel by the French author Guy de Maupassant, published in 1885; an English translation, titled Bel Ami, or The History of a Scoundrel, appeared in 1903.

The story chronicles journalist Georges Duroy’s corrupt rise to power from a poor former cavalry NCO in France’s African colonies to one of the most successful men in Paris, most of which he achieves by manipulating a series of powerful, intelligent and wealthy women.

Bel ami was first illustrated by Ferdinand Sigismund Bac in 1895, and several other artists have produced excellent illustrations, including Konstantin Rudakov, Bernard LaMotte, Jean-Denis Malcles, Henry Hutt and Albert Wenzell. None, however, has interpreted Duroy’s machinations in such a graphic erotic manner as has Berteloot, who manages to stay approximately true to some of Maupassant’s narrative along with a convincing background of 1880s Paris.

You can read an English translation of Bel Ami at Project Gutenberg here.