Sunday, December 8, 2013

Allons! Vive le republic!

I heard about Rafael Sabatini's Scaramouche from Heidenkind when she read it and reviewed it on the Project Gutenberg Project blog.  It sounded like such a swashbuckling and fantastic story!  Plus, it takes place during the French Revolution, which is one of my favorite historical periods to read about (not one that I would ever choose to live through, however).

Scaramouche is the stage name of Andre-Louis Moreau.  Andre-Louis does not know who his parents are but was raised by a man in the French gentility.  After his best friend is killed in a duel by a marquis, Andre-Louis vows revenge and joins the revolution, giving stirring speeches that really get the people going and rioting and mobbing.  Then he becomes an actor and OWNS the stage.  And then he becomes a fencing master and is AMAZING at that.

Basically, Andre-Louis is good at everything he does.  While this generally annoys me in a character, in this situation it did not because, hey, he's a swashbuckling hero who saves France from the aristos, and he does it in style.

This is the sort of story that works best if you devote a weekend to reading it.  I, unfortunately, did not do this, but instead read it in fits and bursts over the course of several weeks.  This often caused me to forget people's names and their relationships to one another and that was to my detriment.  Finally, I powered through half the book in one evening, and then I got completely absorbed and wrapped up in the story.  It was fantastic.

In many ways, Scaramouche is the stereotypical adventure story of a man who rises through society by his wits and his skill and his ability to keep a cool head in a crisis.  But just because a story's arc is fairly predictable, that doesn't mean that it can't also be REALLY fun, and this book is just a LOT of fun.  There are dastardly villains, beautiful heroines, greedy friends, and a tale of pure vengeance.

It's a great read for this time of year, and I highly recommend it if you want a fun and exciting story that will take you back to days of powdered wigs and swords.

Also, there's a movie version.  I must find it!


  1. I think I would enjoy the movie more ;)

  2. I have wanted to read this for a while. One day. I will have to wait until I can devote some time to it apparently.

  3. Definitely sounds very fun and swashbuckley. :) Added to my to-read list.

  4. Yay! Rafael Sabatini has been my guy for adventure novels for years. The other book of his that's as good as Scaramouche (in my opinion) is Captain Blood, with The Seahawk as a close third. Sabatini and H. Rider Haggard and Baroness Orczy and P.C. Wren, oh God and Anthony Hope, my life would be a wasteland without those folks.

  5. Fun! I think Tasha recommended this one for our Estella Project over the summer as well. I need to give it a go.

  6. I loved this book too and Andre-Louis being so good at everything wasn't a problem for me either! I've also read Captain Blood and enjoyed it almost as much as this one.

  7. Wow, this sounds fun! You certainly sold me on it. I'm going to go look it up right now. I need some swashbuckling in my life. Vive le France!


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