Like Angelique, Quesnel is blond with violet eyes. As a child, he dresses simply, to allow for the ease of movement while tinkering with technology. Alexia once described him as looking like a newspaper boy, complete with a paperboy's cap. His clothes are often covered in machinery oil. He is ten years old in Heartless.
As an adult, at the time of Prudence, Quesnel is of medium build and height, with a round, boyish face. He is very coordinated and is described as moving like a dancer. He has an easy smile and loves to flirt.
Like his mothers, he is French, and is seen conversing with Madame Lefoux and Formerly Lefoux in French.
Quesnel is a bright and curious child. He is rather optimistic, and quite passionate about machinery, particularly with explosions he causes, however accidental they may be. He seems to trust humans much more readily than the supernatural, and may have a large amount of distrust in vampires, as in his eyes, they kidnapped him from his mother. It is unknown if he ever knew Angelique.
As an adult, Quesnel is smooth and confident, with the manners of an academic and an inflated opinion of himself. He is charming, very flirtatious and smells of engine oil, hot coal, and fresh lime.
Likely born in 1863, his actual age and birth date are never given in the books. He is around 10 during events of the Parasol Protectorate and in his early 30s during the Custard Protocol. He considers Madame Lefoux his mother, often calling her "Maman" (French for "mother" or "mom"). Formerly Lefoux provided him with an education until age ten, when he was sent to a boarding school. For the rest of his formative years, he was raised by the Woolsey Hive.
He became an accomplished engineer, designing most of the boilers and steam engine controls of The Spotted Custard, and taking up the post of chief engineer aboard the ship.
In the BooksEdit
Quesnel is introduced when he causes an explosion in Madame Lefoux's underground laboratory, shutting off all the lights in her shop and causing Ivy Hisselpenny to faint. He is described by Alexia as looking about 10 years old. Alexia sneaks down after Madame Lefoux and happens upon her, Quesnel, and Formerly Lefoux having a conversation in French. As a punishment for experimenting without consulting his aunt or mother, Quesnel is ordered to perform extensive cleaning tasks.
It is revealed that Angelique left Quesnel to Countess Nadasdy and the Westminster hive in her will. He is consequently "kidnapped" by the hive on his way home from boarding school. When Madame Lefoux learns of this, she builds an octomaton to get the boy back. Despite having kept the boy against his will, the hive does not mistreat Quesnel, and even gives him sweets.
In her quest to get her son back, Madame Lefoux uses her octomaton to destroy the home of the Westminster hive, thus forcing them to move elsewhere. The hive swarms and is invited to Woolsey Castle by Alexia, then claims the territory as their own. As Quesnel was legally left to them, the boy has to remain with the hive until age sixteen, when he can choose his future for himself. On Alexia's "suggestion" as muhjah, Madame Lefoux becomes a drone to stay close to Quesnel and partially repay the damage she caused to the hive, which now has control over her patents and the money earned from her inventions.
Quesnel does not appear in Timeless, but he is mentioned by Madame Lefoux and Alexia Maccon. He is around age twelve in this book. The hive appears to be raising him well, able to give the boy any attention he needs or desires, expanding his education further, and being overall beneficiary to Quesnel, though they have no impact on his choice of dress.
Taking place in 1878, Quesnel, now age 16, has recently left to attend university in Paris, Ecole des Arts et Métiers. He would likely be out of school in 1882 or so, unless he took an advanced degree.
At some point he returns to Woolsey and continues working with his mother, Genevieve Lefoux, on various inventions at the vampire hive.
At Rue's request, Quesnel becomes the chief engineer of The Spotted Custard and travels to India with Rue and company. Quesnel shows a protectiveness over Rue that annoys her. The two have an antagonistic relationship fueled by mutual attraction, and end up becoming lovers.
At the beginning of Imprudence, Rue reveals that Quesnel had disappeared after the events of Prudence. He claims that friendship and duty had taken him away, but he returns to have very public row with Percy aboard the Spotted Custard. Quesnel had published a story in the Royal Society with Mrs. Featherstonehaugh about the weremonkeys before Percy, which is why Percy was so upset. Quesnel also has a preservation tank installed in the engine room at Lord Akeldama's request and without Rue's knowledge. He continues his "French" lessons with Rue, keep from her the true nature of his feelings. In Egypt, he brings aboard the friends he'd met with after their adventure in Prudence: Anitra and her "grandfather" Floote. Quesnel is then injured by a gunshot, leading to Rue's confession and realization of her true feelings for the Frenchman.
- Quesnel goes by the name "Mr. Pinpod" and acts as Rue's curator during a ruse she devises to sneak into the regimental barracks in Bombay.
- Quesnel is pronounced "Jah-NELL" and Lefoux is pronounced "Leh-FOO".
- Quesnel knows how to crochet, however he is terrible at cards. (Imprudence).
- "Quesnel appeared above deck mere moments later. The ubiquitous smudges gave him a rakish look which Rue wished didn't suit him quite so much. It was horribly annoying of him to look dashing." (Prudence, Chapter Five)
- "Quesnel admitted shamefully that he did not very much like sweets. Dangerous character flaw, that." (Prudence, Chapter Five)
- "Quesnel, with disturbing calm, stripped off his jacket and rolled up one shirtsleeve to expose an emission device strapped to his wrist. It looked like it might shoot long bullets or possibly darts." (Prudence, Chapter Six)
- "Lord save us from beautiful young women too accustomed to the supernatural for good sense. You are pigeons in front of a hawk." (Prudence, Chapter Nine)
- "Quesnel didn't wear serious very well. It looked ill-fitting on him-his mercurial face was pinched and his eyes sombre." (Prudence, Chapter Nine)
- “Quesnel had a well-earned reputation with the ladies and a certain casual breeziness of manner he was only permitted because he was French and a commoner.” (Imprudence, Chapter Three)
- “For a smart man, Mr. Lefoux, you can be an insensitive blighter.” (Imprudence, Chapter Three)
- "Rue knew from intimate experience that Quesnel was left-handed." (Imprudence)
- “Besides, I don’t think Mr. Lefoux takes anything seriously except maybe inventions and boilers. He’s charming, undoubtedly, but not a lot more than charming.” (Imprudence, Chapter Four)
- “Quesnel was not afraid of Rue’s mother. Which was an incredibly attractive trait, Rue had to admit.” (Imprudence, Chapter Five)
- “It would nice if I could trust something charming you said to also be honest.” (Imprudence, Chapter Eight)
- “Cherie, I am not so much the rake as I have been painted. Every experience of mine has been my sole focus at the time, to the exclusion of all others.” (Imprudence, Chapter Eight)
- “First lesson, cherie - nothing mixes better than food and French.” (Imprudence, Chapter Eight)
- “To the bed!” (Imprudence, Chapter Nine)
- “That you are very well shaped in all places.’ ‘Including…’ Quesnel gestured to his trousers. ‘Especially there.” (Imprudence, Chapter Nine)
- “Really, Quesnel flirted with everyone, except maybe Percy. He’d probably flirt with Percy if they hadn’t been perennially at odds over the finer points of academic publication theory.” (Imprudence, Chapter Fifteen)