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Scaramouche: French Revolution Through Historical Fiction

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Amazon Review; Scaramouche is not only Rafael Sabatini's crowning literary achievement, it is one of the most engaging, thought-provoking and exciting historical novels ever written. Andre-Louis Moreau, (or Scaramouche, as he later becomes known), is a fascinatingly complex protagonist. Courageous, intelligent, quick-witted and intensely moral, Moreau is a character whose pe Amazon Review; Scaramouche is not only Rafael Sabatini's crowning literary achievement, it is one of the most engaging, thought-provoking and exciting historical novels ever written. Andre-Louis Moreau, (or Scaramouche, as he later becomes known), is a fascinatingly complex protagonist. Courageous, intelligent, quick-witted and intensely moral, Moreau is a character whose personal quest for revenge against the villainous Marquis de La Tour d'Azyr is a masterfully-woven story of swashbuckling action, romance and social conflict during the turbulent years of the French Revolution. Well-born lawyer. Fugitive. Dramatic actor. Expert swordsman. Impassioned, mob-inciting orator. Revolutionary politician. Sabatini sets Moreau upon an intriguing path of fate, development and discovery, a fictionalized yet compelling account of a single man's ultimate test of human character as the world around him spirals into madness. Sabatini has often been compared to Alexandre Dumas (author of the Three Musketeers, the Count of Monte Cristo) as a master of historical fiction. Though I believe Dumas to be the finest action-adventure writer of all time, and though some of Sabatini's other works (which I have not yet read) have been criticized as overly melodramatic, Sabatini has created in Scaramouche an historical action-adventure novel that transcends Dumas (and all modern action-adventure writers, for that matter) in that Moreau, his protagonist, is a thoroughly multi-dimensional character. Though Moreau is driven by his hatred and his quest for revenge, the spirit of his character is not defined by them, and the conflict of these passions with his ideals brings depth and substance to his exploits on the Theatre Feydau, the fencing halls of Paris, the floor of the National Assembly and his pursuit of the beautiful Aline de Kercadiou. Duels. Intrigue. Romance. More duels. Moral and political introspection. Its all here. Enjoy! This edition includes free audio book for download.


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Amazon Review; Scaramouche is not only Rafael Sabatini's crowning literary achievement, it is one of the most engaging, thought-provoking and exciting historical novels ever written. Andre-Louis Moreau, (or Scaramouche, as he later becomes known), is a fascinatingly complex protagonist. Courageous, intelligent, quick-witted and intensely moral, Moreau is a character whose pe Amazon Review; Scaramouche is not only Rafael Sabatini's crowning literary achievement, it is one of the most engaging, thought-provoking and exciting historical novels ever written. Andre-Louis Moreau, (or Scaramouche, as he later becomes known), is a fascinatingly complex protagonist. Courageous, intelligent, quick-witted and intensely moral, Moreau is a character whose personal quest for revenge against the villainous Marquis de La Tour d'Azyr is a masterfully-woven story of swashbuckling action, romance and social conflict during the turbulent years of the French Revolution. Well-born lawyer. Fugitive. Dramatic actor. Expert swordsman. Impassioned, mob-inciting orator. Revolutionary politician. Sabatini sets Moreau upon an intriguing path of fate, development and discovery, a fictionalized yet compelling account of a single man's ultimate test of human character as the world around him spirals into madness. Sabatini has often been compared to Alexandre Dumas (author of the Three Musketeers, the Count of Monte Cristo) as a master of historical fiction. Though I believe Dumas to be the finest action-adventure writer of all time, and though some of Sabatini's other works (which I have not yet read) have been criticized as overly melodramatic, Sabatini has created in Scaramouche an historical action-adventure novel that transcends Dumas (and all modern action-adventure writers, for that matter) in that Moreau, his protagonist, is a thoroughly multi-dimensional character. Though Moreau is driven by his hatred and his quest for revenge, the spirit of his character is not defined by them, and the conflict of these passions with his ideals brings depth and substance to his exploits on the Theatre Feydau, the fencing halls of Paris, the floor of the National Assembly and his pursuit of the beautiful Aline de Kercadiou. Duels. Intrigue. Romance. More duels. Moral and political introspection. Its all here. Enjoy! This edition includes free audio book for download.

30 review for Scaramouche: French Revolution Through Historical Fiction

  1. 4 out of 5

    Tadiana ✩Night Owl☽

    4.5 stars for this swashbuckling historical novel, written in 1921 by Rafael Sabatini, set during French Revolution times in the late 1700s. Andre-Louis Moreau is a young lawyer of unknown parentage, but has a protective godfather, Quentin de Kercadiou, a local lord in Brittany, France. Andre-Louis is very fond of de Kercadiou’s niece Aline, so when he finds out she’s planning on accepting a proposal from the Marquis de la Tour d'Azyr for practical reasons, not love, he’s deeply disappointed. Th 4.5 stars for this swashbuckling historical novel, written in 1921 by Rafael Sabatini, set during French Revolution times in the late 1700s. Andre-Louis Moreau is a young lawyer of unknown parentage, but has a protective godfather, Quentin de Kercadiou, a local lord in Brittany, France. Andre-Louis is very fond of de Kercadiou’s niece Aline, so when he finds out she’s planning on accepting a proposal from the Marquis de la Tour d'Azyr for practical reasons, not love, he’s deeply disappointed. Things get worse when the Marquis, accosted by Andre-Louis’s best friend Philippe for having his gamekeeper shoot a poaching villager and leaving the villager’s family destitute, picks a fight with Philippe and ends up killing him in a duel with swords. One thing leads to another, and soon Andre-Louis is on the run from de la Tour d'Azyr’s vengeance, with revenge in his own heart. We follow his adventures through the next few years, including taking up with a group of traveling theater players and learning to be an excellent swordsman. As a player, his chief role is as Scaramouche, a clown character who’s also a schemer. It fits his actual character extremely well. The hand of fate keeps bringing Andre-Louis back into contact with de la Tour d'Azyr until the tension-filled finale. I enjoyed Scaramouche more than I expected: It’s a quick-paced story, and Sabatini manages to combine adventure and romance with some truly insightful writing. And as a bonus, I got Bohemian Rhapsody stuck in my brain for a few days! So this happened. This novel was first published in 1921, so it's free on Project Gutenberg. Mamma mia! Group read with the Retro Reads group.

  2. 4 out of 5

    Henry Avila

    At the dawn of the French Revolution, when Aristocrats are about to tumble down into the toxic precipice, there lived in the village of Gavrillac, Brittany, with his Godfather, Andre-Louis Moreau. A young lawyer of unknown origin, now, but earlier when the infant Andre-Louis was brought there, Quentin de Kercadiou, Lord of that settlement, announces that he is the "Godfather", the people are amused. Obviously the child is a product of an ill-fated romance, and Monsieur Kercadiou, is the father, At the dawn of the French Revolution, when Aristocrats are about to tumble down into the toxic precipice, there lived in the village of Gavrillac, Brittany, with his Godfather, Andre-Louis Moreau. A young lawyer of unknown origin, now, but earlier when the infant Andre-Louis was brought there, Quentin de Kercadiou, Lord of that settlement, announces that he is the "Godfather", the people are amused. Obviously the child is a product of an ill-fated romance, and Monsieur Kercadiou, is the father, which the boy also believes (the child is well educated , sent to Paris, after the village school). The Lord, gruff, but loving, wears unfashionable clothes, more like a member of the 3rd estate, is not talking, Aline an orphan, stays in the home of her uncle Quentin, too. The two "cousins," raised together become very close, M.Moreau best friend is Philippe de Vilmorin, a frequent visitor. Andre- Louis ( "he was born with a gift of laughter and a sense that the world was mad"), seeks revenge as the result of the arrogant Marquis de la Tour d' Azyr, killing Philippe in an uneven duel. His friend had gone to protest the slaying of a peasant Mabey, for stealing pheasants on the Marquis's land, ironically the victim, was studying for the priesthood ... M.Moreau was a sorrowful, indignant witness, promises revenge for this crime , against all reason, and advice, he travels to Rennes, to denounce the Marquis and is quickly dismissed by the unmoved, King's Lieutenant, makes an impassioned speech to an angry mob of discontented poor citizens, and flees for his life. The authorities want to hang him for sedition, not feeling the need for that, or the honor also, too drastic for his modest taste, he leaves town in an unceremonious way. Encounters Pierre Binet, the leader of a struggling acting troupe, joins the thespians and his pretty daughter Climene, the main reason, having seen her first. Falls madly in love with the lady, becomes engaged, she is quite ambitious, but still the gentleman, is infatuated with Aline, an impossible, ridiculous situation, a silly dream. And the cousin, is going to marry the hated rich Marquis, what to do ? The intelligent M. Moreau, writers the scripts, for the group, he "borrows " from famous plays and deceased authors, they don't mind anymore and becomes very successful. An unforeseen talented actor too , in the role of Scaramouche, a tremendous hit. Everyone enjoys the new actor, laughs commence steadily, his unexpected magic, on stage has customers very entertained , which is a pleasant surprise to Andre-Louis, maybe he has at last arrives at his true destiny. Then the rash young man causes another chaotic riot in the theater, one of the band's first indoor performances and last, the Marquis was in the audience. Runs away again and become a magnificent fencing master in Paris, an appropriate time for men to learn, later a member of the tumultuous Constituent National Assembly of seething France, and he a cynic, his fame has grown ... Lawyer, actor, swordsman and politician, but his main job is the ceaseless avenger, he can never rest or forget...The secrets will be revealed, complications arise but isn't life full of them ? A well told tale...very entertaining for everyone who still has love for adventure no matter their age or situation, by a terrific author of this genre..

  3. 4 out of 5

    Evgeny

    "He was born with a gift of laughter and a sense that the world was mad." Everybody and their brother quote the opening sentence of the book and no wonder: it really is very much quotable. In this case I do not want stand up in the crowd and there you have it. André-Louis Moreau was born from unknown parents and raised by a local lord Quentin de Kercadiou. Thanks to him André-Louis received a good education and became a lawyer. We are talking about France right before the revolution. Try as he co "He was born with a gift of laughter and a sense that the world was mad." Everybody and their brother quote the opening sentence of the book and no wonder: it really is very much quotable. In this case I do not want stand up in the crowd and there you have it. André-Louis Moreau was born from unknown parents and raised by a local lord Quentin de Kercadiou. Thanks to him André-Louis received a good education and became a lawyer. We are talking about France right before the revolution. Try as he could, André-Louis was not able to remain outside of politics as he originally intended. Driven by desire to avenge the killing of his friend he got mixed up in politics to the extend that it became dangerous to his health. Not to spoil much, but through the book he had to change his career several times each time getting into more and more unexpected occupation. His very robust sense or irony never left him; he used it as a shield to hide behind in both his darkest and happiest hours. Considering the goings-on at that time it was probably one of the ways to retain sanity. I have a confession to make. I think Captain Blood is much better; I award it the title of the second-best pirate tale ever told (Treasure Island is the best overall tale obviously). Captain Blood goes straight to the action practically from the first page. This book is more character based (André-Louis' that is) than action based. Please do not get me wrong, André-Louis is a great character with equally great development, but somehow almost all the turbulence of the French Revolution happened behind the scenes. I challenge anybody to call it peaceful and quiet. Révolution tranquille (Wikipedia is your friend) it was not. Still André-Louis' outlook on life and events is always great and while there was not much excitement until the last third of the book I was never bored - even at the times when plot was moving with the speed of a dying turtle. 4 solid stars is the rating: a very good book which somehow manages to remain relatively slow despite taking place at a very eventful time. P.S. To people that read and loved this book but managed to miss Captain Blood (you know who you are): drop everything and read it. You may thank me later. P.P.S. No, I will not use a picture of Queen performing Bohemian Rhapsody or a still from the movie Wayne's World showing character's reaction to the song. Yes, the song was in my head during the reading.

  4. 5 out of 5

    Joey Woolfardis

    This reviews can be found on Amaranthine Reads. "He was born with a gift of laughter and a sense that the world was mad." André-Louis Moreau, a country lawyer with no idea and no care for his birth-heritage, witnesses the murder of his eloquent friend by a swarthy aristocrat and swears vengeance, yet the laws of pre-Revolution France do not equate to justice for all and he is forced to flee for his life when he stirs up Revolutionary madness within the citizens of France. He finds safety with a tr This reviews can be found on Amaranthine Reads. "He was born with a gift of laughter and a sense that the world was mad." André-Louis Moreau, a country lawyer with no idea and no care for his birth-heritage, witnesses the murder of his eloquent friend by a swarthy aristocrat and swears vengeance, yet the laws of pre-Revolution France do not equate to justice for all and he is forced to flee for his life when he stirs up Revolutionary madness within the citizens of France. He finds safety with a travelling troupe of comedic actors and becomes the buffoonish character of Scaramouche, all the while being pursued by treachery, romance and that ever inevitable Revolution that he so carelessly sparked. This is the best book I've read all year. It is the best book I have read for many a good year, too. It is sublimely written with its almost Wildean turn-of-phrase and the protagonist, Scaramouche née André-Louis is one of the most captivating characters I have come across for some time. It has wit and personification of the most debase of human nature through its characters and yet there is an almost timid nature to their countenance. I became aware of this book through the Queen song-of course, how else?-and I don't think I can thank Freddie Mercury enough for everything else, as well as this. "Meanwhile he could drown his vexation in Burgundy. At least there was abundance of Burgundy. Never in his life had he found Burgundy so plentiful." Scaramouche, from the Italian comedy-theatre Commedia dell'arte, is a sly and conceited fellow and that is reflected in the character of André-Louis, who plays him so marvellously and convincingly. There is a deftness to anything André-Louis puts his mind to and it seems that he cares for little except the one thing he is concentrating on, whether it be vengeance or playing the fool in a travelling theatre. Now, let us speak of why I have not given this five stars. I will confess that it should be denoted as a 4.5, 4.6 or even a 4.9 star-rated book, but I cannot abide giving half stars as it smacks of laziness to me. First and foremost, although I adored learning more about the French Revolution, there were times when it felt almost like an info dump, though they were few and far between. These times jolted the flow of what is an adventure with quick speech and a flowing storyline that never seems to cease and though no life, not in the least André-Louis', is non-stop action, the disjointed feeling this gave to it was a bit too heavy. The beginning, I felt, was also a little slow: though the setting needed to be set, of course, it was not as it could have been. There were also times during the narrative when the author, Sabatini himself, would step back and speak to us, the reader, as if André-Louis was a real person and this was his biography, and the narration would shift from a third-person telling of this rogue's story in to a reeling off of facts which again disjointed my enjoyment. There is also to be taken in to consideration the fact that I was in doubt as to whether I should give it five stars. It is a five-star worthy book, but I am a harsh critic and if there is doubt it will not happen. Of the 872 books I have read, only 25 are five-star rated books and even then I could confidently downgrade half of those if I so choose. It is a beautiful book. So splendid, so meaningful and so harshly unknown to all. It is a Classic that deserves to be treated like one and I am so exuberantly happy to see that it is rated on average as a 4.05 on GoodReads. It's also extraordinary given how many books Sabatini has written (at least 30) that he is not more well-known and I mourn for him much I do the other fabulous authors we so disdainfully ignore. Blog | Instagram | Twitter | Pinterest | Shop | Etsy

  5. 4 out of 5

    Carol She's So Novel꧁꧂

    He was born with a gift of laughter and a sense that the world was mad.” One of the best opening lines I've ever read! I'm sure this will end up being one of my favourite (re)reads of the year. A fast paced read that seamlessly merges André-Louis story with real history and leaves you wanting to read more of both. The style is romantic, but the romance(s) are of the realistic sort. (view spoiler)[ I love that André-Louis is shown having more than one love (hide spoiler)] and that he is a very f He was born with a gift of laughter and a sense that the world was mad.” One of the best opening lines I've ever read! I'm sure this will end up being one of my favourite (re)reads of the year. A fast paced read that seamlessly merges André-Louis story with real history and leaves you wanting to read more of both. The style is romantic, but the romance(s) are of the realistic sort. (view spoiler)[ I love that André-Louis is shown having more than one love (hide spoiler)] and that he is a very flawed, self-aware hero. His story and adventures were totally fascinating. Since I remember loving Captain Blood even more, I am eager to get to a reread of that!

  6. 4 out of 5

    Terry

    I wavered between four and five stars on this one, but I totally have to go with the five. It’s just that awesome. I was actually a little surprised at how much I loved this book. I mean, I love swashbucklers and historical fiction…Dumas père is my man, but the only other Sabatini novel I’ve read, Venetian Masque, I found to be a little underwhelming so I did not expect this from Sabatini. Speaking of Dumas, I almost think that _Scaramouche_ can be placed in the same company as that master’s gre I wavered between four and five stars on this one, but I totally have to go with the five. It’s just that awesome. I was actually a little surprised at how much I loved this book. I mean, I love swashbucklers and historical fiction…Dumas père is my man, but the only other Sabatini novel I’ve read, Venetian Masque, I found to be a little underwhelming so I did not expect this from Sabatini. Speaking of Dumas, I almost think that _Scaramouche_ can be placed in the same company as that master’s great work _The Count of Monte Cristo_, no small praise from me. It doesn’t quite have the same level of intricate plotting as the latter, and I will never give pride of place to any but Monsieur le Comte, but it is still an awesome read filled with exciting ups and downs as we follow the trials and triumphs of the title character aka Andre-Louis Moreau. I actually noticed that Moreau shared some similarities with Dantès as a character, at least in the fact that both of them seemed to have a Batman-like ability to adopt nearly any skill they required to further their own ends. For Moreau this leads him to start out as a lawyer with exceptional reasoning and speaking skills, become a brilliant actor, stage writer and theatre impresario, then move on to master the art of the sword and become a maître d'armes, and finally to enter the realm of politics all within a span of two years. That’s ok, I don’t mind it if my heroes are super and Moreau pairs his ability with an acerbic wit and keen insight I found both refreshing and awesome. I have to add here that I ‘read’ this as an audiobook downloaded from Librivox. Now the narrators from Librivox, given that it is a free site, can be…how to put this delicately? Crappy. Not so this one. The narrator Gordon Mackenzie was fantastic. He had just the right pacing, didn’t stumble on his words (you’d think that would be a prerequisite for narrating an audio book, wouldn’t you?), and was able to voice each character differently without sounding completely ludicrous. He even managed the French phrases and Latin epigrams with no apparent effort. Excellent job Mr. Mackenzie! I really think his work on this added to my already superlative enjoyment of the text itself. Given that this is a classic I imagine that many already know the plot, at least in broad strokes: Andre-Louis Moreau is a bastard of no name, taken in as the “godson” of the local seigneur of the village of Gavrillac (amidst the knowing glances and whispers of the locals). He is a young man of intelligence and wit, known primarily for his acerbic tongue and incisive reasoning, who acts as the legal representative of his godfather, M. de Kercadiou. His best friend, Philippe de Vilmorin, is a young seminarian who also happens to have revolutionary political leanings. When a local peasant is summarily killed by a local noble, the Marquis de la Tour d'Azyr, Philippe tries to convince the nobleman to recompense the dead man’s family for the deed. Incensed, and sensing in the eloquent young man one who could stir the mounting discontent of the people that is beginning to raise its head in France, d’Azyr decides he must get rid of this possible thorn in the side of his class. An expert fencer, perhaps the best in France, d’Azyr forces the fledgling Philippe into challenging him to a duel and handily dispatches the young man, whose own abilities with the sword are non-existent. It is this act of bald-faced murder (and the subsequent inability of the young lawyer to gain any justice from the established powers) that sends young Bruce Wayne, er Andre-Louis, on his road of vengeance against the man, and the class, that killed his friend in cold blood. As we follow Andre-Louis in his quest we see him taking up the mantle left by his dead friend and using his own eloquence to stir up the crowds against their unjust masters. Forced into hiding when his name and actions become know, Moreau manages to join a travelling band of actors who mount plays based on the fading style of the Commedia dell'Arte and, after establishing himself as not only an excellent actor and writer, but even a company manager of some skill Moreau takes on the role of Scaramouche (one that is uniquely suited to his outlook and abilities) and proceeds to lead the troupe to the verge of fame and fortune. Along the way he falls in love and ultimately finds himself once again crossing paths with his avowed enemy, seemingly driven by the hand of fate. Moreau encounters numerous dangers and escapes in his years of hiding which I won’t recount here…read the book and enjoy them to the full yourself! Suffice it to say that the nascent revolution turns the tables and thrusts Andre-Louis into a position of power. It is a position that is not so easily taken advantage of, despite Andre-Louis’ apparent single-mindedness in regards to his quest, and the conclusion of the tale is satisfying and much more complex than one might be given to expect from a work in this genre. I thought Sabatini’s prose was great. His turns of phrase, especially in the mouth of Moreau, were sublime and the text is littered with an abundance of bon mots. His characters also shine and often manage to attain a level of complexity that goes beyond the one dimensional duality of good-guy/bad-guy one might expect. While I was always cheering for Moreau and loved his character, he is not always an eminently likeable guy and even the sneering and vain arch-rival the Marquis de la Tour d'Azyr manages to show himself to be something more complex than a mustachio-twirling villain. Bottom line: this book was great. I don’t know why I took so long to read it, but I’m very glad I finally did. I’ll be revisiting this one many times in the future. Highly recommended. Also posted at Shelf Inflicted

  7. 4 out of 5

    J.G. Keely

    Seminal novels have a curious tendency of being very much unlike the genres they inspire. It's something I've explored before, in The Lord of the Rings (fantasy), The Virginian (western), and The Moonstone (mystery), and Scaramouche definitely resembles the latter two in how they stray from what we might expect. Firstly, we have an unusually introspective, complex protagonist. Much less the dashing hero, we are shown a doubting cynic, a recluse who sees the cruel inequality of the wor Seminal novels have a curious tendency of being very much unlike the genres they inspire. It's something I've explored before, in The Lord of the Rings (fantasy), The Virginian (western), and The Moonstone (mystery), and Scaramouche definitely resembles the latter two in how they stray from what we might expect. Firstly, we have an unusually introspective, complex protagonist. Much less the dashing hero, we are shown a doubting cynic, a recluse who sees the cruel inequality of the world and does his best to avoid it. Yet it is a world he must live in, and so he finds himself thrust again and again into complications from which he strives to extricate himself. The second similarity with those other formative works is the quirky, meandering plot. It is certainly not what we would expect; we bear witness to only two swordfights in the book, one at the beginning, and one near the end (though a few others are mentioned). The very beginning of the book is concerned mainly with the political philosophies which lead to the French Revolution. But we dispense with that rather quickly, and spend the following two thirds of the book exploring the forms and history of the Commedia Dell'Arte. But, of course, I don't have to explain about that vital and influential form to you. Like me, you probably grew up around Commedia actors, and over a hundred or so scattered performances, witnessing the infinite variations on the theme and marveling at the extemporaneous wit of its sprightly practitioners. Perhaps you, like me, had a little stuffed bear named for the old miser, Pantalone. But even a cave-dweller who had never heard of the Commedia, and did not recognize it in Pagliacci, Punch, and Pantos could derive amusement from the ways Sabitini explores it. His is not precisely a scholarly analysis, but more of a playful jaunt through the style, relating its plots and characters to the overblown melodramas which politics and social status inevitably produce. At length he leaves the Commedia behind, and we are treated to an amusing view of the different forms and schools of fencing, and of its vital place in a culture of duelists--the ideal culture for a swashbuckling tale. Like most young men, I spent my time as both student and tutor of swordsmanship, so this was another delightful moment of youthful nostalgia--though again, Sabitini merely plays on the surface of the art of fencing. I could have done with a more in-depth discussion of line, distance, and form, perhaps with some diagrams, but it was amusing, nonetheless. I was able to quickly guess the two-part 'twist' ending, but that was hardly bothersome, since it was only a small part of the book. It did nothing to lessen the delightful verve with which it was written, the complexity of the characters (including a very sympathetic villain), the many and varied inspirations, and the concise structure of the plot. Scaramouche is lively, intelligent, and like most pulps, devoid of pretension, showing once again that the best way to promote skill and wit is simply to demonstrate them.

  8. 4 out of 5

    Jaya

    "From the Robe to the Buskin, and now from the buskin to the Sword! What will be the end of you I wonder" It is always a gamble to re-read your childhood favourites. Lately I'v had a couple of bad hits while trying to revoke the passion towards a few books that I worshipped as a child. Scaramouche, is one of those titles. Without going into the details of the book, I am happy to conclude that after more than a decade I have a better understanding of this book. This is a story of swashbucklin "From the Robe to the Buskin, and now from the buskin to the Sword! What will be the end of you I wonder" It is always a gamble to re-read your childhood favourites. Lately I'v had a couple of bad hits while trying to revoke the passion towards a few books that I worshipped as a child. Scaramouche, is one of those titles. Without going into the details of the book, I am happy to conclude that after more than a decade I have a better understanding of this book. This is a story of swashbuckling adventure, revenge, passion, betrayal, resolution and realisation of Andre-Louis Moreau, set in the background of the French countryside (and the cities alike) on the brink dismantling the centuries old seigneurial system with tenets of liberty, equality and fraternity. The last time I read the book the audacity acts of valour of our Hero, appeared fascinating and even memorable. However, now I clearly see that our Hero is not without faults. I did hate him at times, with his supercilious attitude directed towards those who rescued him at times of need like Binet and sometimes his peers, even M des Amis. It almost appeared that Andre-Louis felt that he was entitled to be more intelligent and be better at things than others. This time around, the book felt more realistic with my some level of cognizance of nuances of human nature. There were no heroes or villains. Just people, acting according to societal norms and behaviour expected from them. I will give a solid 4 stars to the book, it was an extremely satisfying read. P.S: This was the book which aroused my undying curiosity and fascination with Fencing. Alas, am doomed to ever learn it myself. P.P.S: I read the book alternating between the audiobook and the ebook. Simon Vance is one of the best narrators. He takes the pleasure of listening to a book, to another level, IMHO i.e.

  9. 4 out of 5

    Kelly

    Andre-Louis Moreau is the Scaramouche of fame. I am delighted with this knowledge, as it finally helps me to solve one of the many mysteries of Queen. But more than that, I am absolutely delighted with the work in general. Sabatini's evocation of the heady, tense, uncertain, firecracker days before the beginning of the French Revolution of 1789 is beautifully done. I classified this as fantasy because I believe that it is painted brightly enough to sear into my imagination as much as any Middle Andre-Louis Moreau is the Scaramouche of fame. I am delighted with this knowledge, as it finally helps me to solve one of the many mysteries of Queen. But more than that, I am absolutely delighted with the work in general. Sabatini's evocation of the heady, tense, uncertain, firecracker days before the beginning of the French Revolution of 1789 is beautifully done. I classified this as fantasy because I believe that it is painted brightly enough to sear into my imagination as much as any Middle Earth would do. This is a swashbuckling adventure novel, make absolutely no mistake about that. (There's a lot more swashing than there is actual buckling, but it is very entertaining swashing about, so I don't take issue with it.) However, the sweeping, majestically romantic story conceals a wonderfully interesting historical document of the events that lead up to the storming of the Bastille, the dissolving of the Estates General, the bread riots, and the march to Versailles. To be sure, it is no mere recitation of events, but for our hero to get from one adventure to the next is dependent upon the historical events of the time. It gives the novel a depth that I was not expecting. The hero and various other characters spend a good chunk of their time reciting the beliefs of the period from all sides and having debates on philosophy. You find yourself getting very involved with their viewpoints, not merely the awesomely over the top insults and duels that follow. The novel follows Andre-Louis Moreau from his start at comfortable home as the godson of a small-time, hardworking aristocrat and a country lawyer. After the murder of his best friend, a firebrand revolutionary priest, Andre-Louis swears vengeance upon the proud, ridiculously vile Marquis who committed this act. Unfortunately, he ends up with a warrant for his arrest fairly soon on in the novel, and is forced to go into hiding in a number of guises. The most entertaining of these disguises is Scaramouche, the Shakespearean fool character of the commedia dell'arte, a role which he is more or less forced into, but ends up suiting him quite perfectly. There are several very nice 'All the world's a stage' parallels drawn, as people tie on and shed masks of all kinds throughout the novel, sometimes confusing their own identities with the characters they play, sometimes being perceived as those identities by others when really they are absolutely no such thing inside. It is simply much easier and more comfortable to sit in those roles, and so they do. But the revolution will not let Andre-Louis sit still hiding from himself, and he's drawn along through a series of alternately hilarious and gothically awful scenes towards the dizzying end. SPOILERS FROM HERE ON OUT: **** I was inclined to give this novel five stars about halfway through. There are several reasons that I did not: 1) Andre-Louis, our hero, is a Mary Sue. He is brilliant at everything he turns his hand to, succeeding first as a brilliant political orator, a playwright, an actor, a fencing master... the list goes on. There is nothing that he is not equal to, and more than that, that he will not be better at than anyone else within a remarkably short amount of time. It didn't bother me for the first 200 pages or so, but then I started really wearying with how in love Sabatini was with his hero the he absolutely /had/ to have every character marvel endlessly at his talent, and moon over his perfection. Sure, they call him heartless, some people are afraid of him, but it is only because he is such a God, you see! They are merely intimidated by his lack of weakness! Yes, I get that this is a gothic adventure novel and characters are projections and fantasies and meant to represent things and not be entirely realistic, but it is hard to really get into the suspenseful, *gasp, shock, awe!* aspect of the book if you never feel the slightest anxiety for the hero's safety. You never even feel the slightest anxiety for a slight embarrassment, because you just /know/ that he'll have the perfect one-liner to get himself out of the situation. The character tries to excuse this Mary Sue-ism in the last ten pages of the book, by saying that he's not really perfect because he's ended up running away from every good situation he's made for himself. But you see, it only makes him even more perfect, because he is troubled! And won't let his honor be compromised enough to stay! 2) The book is just too long for what its trying to be. And if its trying to be something else, then I have problems with it. 3) I felt like the end reveal was really cheap, and undermined one of the great points of the book. Sabatini takes up classism, and the nature v. nurture arguments. One of the cool things about Andre-Louis is that he's largely a self made man (if to an annoying degree), and from the lower classes, and a great example of why Liberte, Egalite, Fraternite should flourish. And then I felt like they took that all away when the big reveal at the end is that he's actually the son of two nobles, and they both make a point of telling him that whatever is good in him comes from them. The main character rejects it verbally, but belies this by his actions when he saves them both, succumbing to that "animal" sentimentality that he worked so hard to stay away from the whole book. Its both touching and kind of irritating. I hope that the point was that his self-made manhood and opinions were what mattered most, but I'm just not sure. Maybe I'm reading too much into it, but Sabatini spent far too much time talking about class and the nature of the upper and lower classes for me to not think that he meant something by it. ... anyway, though. Otherwise a greatly enjoyable bit of escapism that I would highly recommend... if you don't over analyze like me.

  10. 4 out of 5

    Sebastien Castell

    Scaramouche was a marvellous surprise. I'd never read Sabatini before as I harboured the prejudice that an adventure novel written in 1922 would feel cliché, out-of-date, and ultimately disposable. Instead, Scaramouche surprised me at every turn. The character of André-Louis Moreau has qualities both admirable and execrable. We admire his daring, eloquence, and instinctive sense of justice that transforms his outrage over the killing of his friend by a nobleman into a life of danger, even as we c Scaramouche was a marvellous surprise. I'd never read Sabatini before as I harboured the prejudice that an adventure novel written in 1922 would feel cliché, out-of-date, and ultimately disposable. Instead, Scaramouche surprised me at every turn. The character of André-Louis Moreau has qualities both admirable and execrable. We admire his daring, eloquence, and instinctive sense of justice that transforms his outrage over the killing of his friend by a nobleman into a life of danger, even as we can recognize that he fails to truly believe the ideals he espouses on behalf of that same dead friend. André-Louis also has a cruel streak that allows him to ignore the suffering of those who he believes have wronged him. Interestingly, this is where one of the aspects of classic novels that modern audiences generally dislike (myself in particular) – the omniscient narrator – plays an important role. The unnamed narrator, who uses the device of compiling the story through many of André-Louis' own writings, sometimes interposes himself to show the prejudices plaguing the hero as well as to undercut the protagonist's claims of indifference. A second bias I had against the novel at the start was the belief that, being an old swashbuckling novel, it would be light on theme. Nothing could be farther from the truth. Set during the French Revolution – and shining a light on much of what was taking place outside of Paris during that time – Scaramouche is a meditation on class, on the unfairness of privilege, the venality of those who have it and even those who rail against it, and the struggle to find a side worth supporting during times when the two clash. The protagonist's unspoken desire for some kind of purity of philosophy or political argument mirrors our own. There are troubling aspects of the novel to contend with, of course. Sabatini, writing from a place of privilege in the early twentieth century, portrays women as being creatures driven either by love or by ambition, without ever really acknowledging the social constraints that often forced them into one of those two positions. In this, Scaramouche is no worse than many or most novels, but given the work's sensitivity to notions of class, a modern reader almost can't help but wish Sabatini had turned his nuanced gaze to issues of gender. Ultimately, though, the story, with its rich sense of drama, endeared the book to me. So many times a turn would come about that I didn't expect – something that rarely happens for me with modern fiction. Given the book is almost a hundred years old and has had elements lifted from it countless times before, this surprised and delighted me. In terms of the prose, the language can be dense at times, especially for those of us accustomed to the more economical style of contemporary genre fiction, but it's worth the effort. Right from the first line Sabatini shows us the worth of his prose: "He was born with a gift of laughter and a sense that the world was mad." That line singularly captures the spirit of Scaramouche, and carries the reader through every page. * One last note: the edition I read came from the wonderful StandardEbooks.org, which takes public domain works and turns them into beautifully prepared and typeset ebooks for all platforms.

  11. 4 out of 5

    Patrick

    I have enjoyed many classics this year and Scaramouche is one of those gold nuggets not a lot of people know about. If there is another classic I can compare it to—it would be the Count of Monte Cristo. Seriously? YUP!! Granted, the Count is much longer since Scaramouche is about a third of the size, but both books follow the revenge plot with elements of friendship, swashbuckling sword fights, and of course—love. To be brief, Scaramouche is about a Frenchman, Andre-Louis Moreau, who plans to av I have enjoyed many classics this year and Scaramouche is one of those gold nuggets not a lot of people know about. If there is another classic I can compare it to—it would be the Count of Monte Cristo. Seriously? YUP!! Granted, the Count is much longer since Scaramouche is about a third of the size, but both books follow the revenge plot with elements of friendship, swashbuckling sword fights, and of course—love. To be brief, Scaramouche is about a Frenchman, Andre-Louis Moreau, who plans to avenge the death of his friend, Vilmorin. Set during the French Revolution, Andre Louis, is set to find and kill his best friend’s murderer. He encourages riot in the streets with his silver tongue alluding to the oppression the French people suffer every day and how rich people get away with...murder (talking about his friend's murderer). In order to hide from authorities he joins a troupe of actors and becomes Scaramouche. He trains to become a swordsman and once he learns all he can from them sets off to avenge his friend. There are so many twists, turns and surprises I never saw coming. Once you think you know what will happen the story takes another route! Honestly, I'm surprised not a lot of people know of this book. Sabatini has been dubbed the twentieth-century Alexandre Dumas and rightly so. Scaramouche was definitely a great find and I’m so glad I read it!

  12. 4 out of 5

    Cphe

    Really sorry that it's taken me so long to read this engaging historical romance played out against the background of the French Revolution. Filled with engaging characters it's a swashbuckling tale delivered with wonderful atmosphere. Many reviews already on offer. For a "free ebook" I had no issues at all with the quality of this edition. Time well spent.

  13. 4 out of 5

    Perry

    Thunderbolt of Lightning, Very, Very Frightening Scaramouche, Scaramouche, Will You Do the Fandango? This a rollicking romantic adventure, circa 1921, following the life, loves and transformation of Andre-Louis Moreau in the years leading up to the late 18th Century French Revolution, from cynical lawyer to comic actor (playing clownish Italian character Scaramouche) and, ultimately, into a swashbuckling romantic. It's no literary treasure though. If you enjoyed Alexandre Dumas' The Three Musketeer Thunderbolt of Lightning, Very, Very Frightening Scaramouche, Scaramouche, Will You Do the Fandango? This a rollicking romantic adventure, circa 1921, following the life, loves and transformation of Andre-Louis Moreau in the years leading up to the late 18th Century French Revolution, from cynical lawyer to comic actor (playing clownish Italian character Scaramouche) and, ultimately, into a swashbuckling romantic. It's no literary treasure though. If you enjoyed Alexandre Dumas' The Three Musketeers and The Count of Monte Cristo, you will probably like this novel, even though it's not quite on the same adventure level as the works of Dumas. Not great or particularly memorable, but a good, energetic getaway nonetheless.

  14. 4 out of 5

    Chrissie

    This is a book about a fictional character who lived in Brittany, France, at the time of the French Revolution. It is a plot oriented tale. The central character, André-Louis Moreau, is educated as a lawyer. He is of the aristocracy. A close friend is killed and Moreau wants retribution. He has a gift for words, which gets him into trouble and then he must hide. We watch his path as buffoon in a troupe of traveling actors to becoming a fencing-master, a politician and a revolutionary. We watch h This is a book about a fictional character who lived in Brittany, France, at the time of the French Revolution. It is a plot oriented tale. The central character, André-Louis Moreau, is educated as a lawyer. He is of the aristocracy. A close friend is killed and Moreau wants retribution. He has a gift for words, which gets him into trouble and then he must hide. We watch his path as buffoon in a troupe of traveling actors to becoming a fencing-master, a politician and a revolutionary. We watch his path from cynicism to idealism. What is delivered is an adventure story with a dash of love thrown in. There is a mystery to be solved - who are his parents? I guessed this right from the start. You shouldn't expect to learn about the French Revolution from this book even if Danton, Robespierre and Mirabeau do figure in the story. You learn perhaps a bit of the conflict between the aristocracy and the bourgeoisie in Brittany at the end of the 1700s. You watch. The characters are as if in a play. The story is told. A little humor is thrown in. I have to acknowledge that even if I didn't give a hoot what happened to Moreau he is articulate. The writing is wordy. The audiobook is narrated by Robert Whitfield / Simon Vance. He is easy to follow and the speed is fine, but I don't like the shrill intonations used for women. In one word - the book was boring.

  15. 5 out of 5

    Jean

    I read Scaramouche in the 1950s. Scaramouche was originally published in 1921. I was unaware there were a number of books published as a series. This book “Scaramouche: A Romance of the French Revolution” was originally published in 1947. I remember I enjoyed the story but cannot remember much about the storyline; so, I decided to read this book instead of Scaramouche. Our protagonist is André-Louis Moreau, a lawyer raised by nobility. The story is set in the French Revolution. Moreau is accused I read Scaramouche in the 1950s. Scaramouche was originally published in 1921. I was unaware there were a number of books published as a series. This book “Scaramouche: A Romance of the French Revolution” was originally published in 1947. I remember I enjoyed the story but cannot remember much about the storyline; so, I decided to read this book instead of Scaramouche. Our protagonist is André-Louis Moreau, a lawyer raised by nobility. The story is set in the French Revolution. Moreau is accused of sedition. He joins a troupe of traveling players as a clown to hide from authorities. This is a famous swashbuckling novel full of sword fighting, humor and romance. This will soon be one hundred years old and it is as good today as then. Rafael Sabatini (1875-1950) was an Italian-English writer. He is famous for his adventure stories. He is best known for his worldwide best sellers such as Scaramouche, Captain Blood and Sea Hawk to name a few. I read this as an audiobook downloaded from Audible. The book is eleven hours and fifty-two minutes. Simon Vance does an excellent job narrating the story even though he could do better, in my opinion, with the pronunciation of French words. Vance is one of my favorite narrators and is a multi-award-winning narrator.

  16. 4 out of 5

    Mike (the Paladin)

    I couldn't actually find the edition I read...but I loved this book. Find it read it you won't regret it. High adventure, romance, intrigue, betrayal.... So buckle on you swash and sally forth. Set in the midst of the French revolution this is a very satisfying "high adventure" of swordplay and romance... (of course it's by Sabatini, what else should we expect?) Enjoy. ***UPDATE**** I just reread this...again. I've read it several times and like it immensely, it rates among my favorite novels. I'm a I couldn't actually find the edition I read...but I loved this book. Find it read it you won't regret it. High adventure, romance, intrigue, betrayal.... So buckle on you swash and sally forth. Set in the midst of the French revolution this is a very satisfying "high adventure" of swordplay and romance... (of course it's by Sabatini, what else should we expect?) Enjoy. ***UPDATE**** I just reread this...again. I've read it several times and like it immensely, it rates among my favorite novels. I'm also a fan of Rafael Sabatini. He was an incredibly prolific writer who for most of his life wrote at the rate of a book a year. He's probably best know today for this books, Captain Blood, The Sea-Hawk and to a slightly lesser extent The Black Swan because of the movies based on or by the same titles as these books. It can be difficult to track down other of his titles but on the whole he is a reliable writer. I like this book especially (of course I haven't read all his books but I live in hope). There is a movie based on this novel, and it's a good movie. It's not really the same story as the novel though it is loosely based on it. Here is a story that has a nice intricate plot line, it's got depth, humor and a action. Set in (during) the French Revolution we follow Andre-Louis Moreau who has been cared for raised and schooled by his godfather. Everyone assumes he's the "by-blow" of some member of the gentry (the assumption is it's probably his godfather M. de Kercadiou though not by Moreau). His life follows a path he himself never would have planed or expected. After his best friend is slain in a set up duel (his friend has no knowledge of the sword while the man who kills him is a master) Andre is drawn from his more or less shallow life into the political life that had cost his friend his life. Holding his best friend's body he swears vengeance. From there the lives of Andre and the man who slew his friend are strangely entwined. Constantly crossing and recrossing one another's path they are each like the Nemesis of the other. As noted I've read this many times and the twists are no longer surprises to me but the storytelling, the sardonic humor and the depth of the story still keep it fresh for me. My highest recommendation.

  17. 4 out of 5

    El

    You know you want to. So most people recognize "Scaramouche" from Queen's Bohemian Rhapsody, but the original story started in the 17th century in the Italian theater. You probably recognize him when you see him: In Sabatini's story Andre-Louis Moreau witnesses the death of his best friend at the hands of a nasty aristocrat, and thus dedicates his life to taking down the mean ol bastard. Andre-Louis goes into hiding as - surprise! - Scaramouche in a traveling troupe. Then there's plenty of swashbu You know you want to. So most people recognize "Scaramouche" from Queen's Bohemian Rhapsody, but the original story started in the 17th century in the Italian theater. You probably recognize him when you see him: In Sabatini's story Andre-Louis Moreau witnesses the death of his best friend at the hands of a nasty aristocrat, and thus dedicates his life to taking down the mean ol bastard. Andre-Louis goes into hiding as - surprise! - Scaramouche in a traveling troupe. Then there's plenty of swashbuckling and excitement which all is quite swoon-worthy. There's also a lot of French politics which started out to be interesting but eventually I just wanted more bloodshed because I'm wicked like that. I want my swashbuckling to be full of blood and Errol Flynn-types, not a diatribe against the aristocrats; it's like trying to watch a porn where there's too much dialogue. Who signed up for that? Also Sabatini used the phrase "Name of a name!" more often than I felt was necessary. I'm not sure if it was the French equivalent to something like "Son of a beyotch!", but it was distracting and annoying after a while. I would have preferred the Shakespearean thumb-biting to that since Sabatini's really came across as a pansy-ass sort of insult. Then again, it's a work-friendly phrase, so maybe I'll start using that in the office since no one will think it actually could be anything bad. Still, it's a fun read, and I hope to get my hands on a copy of some of Sabatini's other works. I've heard that Captain Blood is pretty good, and there's that word "blood" right in the title so you know it's got to be downright awesome and dirty. (And if it's not, please just let me dwell under the illusion that it is. I'll disappoint myself later, thanks.)

  18. 5 out of 5

    Wealhtheow

    Written in the 1920s but set directly before the French Revolution, this is the story of a young lawyer from the provinces, Andre-Louis. Raised and educated among the nobility, he has not the wealth, parentage, or hypocrisy needed to remain in their midst. When the Marquis de La Tour d'Azyr viciously and cold-bloodedly kills Andre-Louis's best friend, a naive priest, Andre swears vengeance. The corrupt system of laws is no help, and Andre is turned from his home and profession for his trouble-ma Written in the 1920s but set directly before the French Revolution, this is the story of a young lawyer from the provinces, Andre-Louis. Raised and educated among the nobility, he has not the wealth, parentage, or hypocrisy needed to remain in their midst. When the Marquis de La Tour d'Azyr viciously and cold-bloodedly kills Andre-Louis's best friend, a naive priest, Andre swears vengeance. The corrupt system of laws is no help, and Andre is turned from his home and profession for his trouble-making. In extremity, he becomes in turn a rabble-rouser, an actor, a fencing-master, and finally, a politician. In each guise, he heaps another humiliation upon the Marquis, until finally 1792 is upon them, and blood must be spilt. This is a book filled with duels, rhetoric, mob violence and lots and lots of clever dialog*. Andre is a rather more sarcastic twist on The Princess Bride's Wesley--Aline is a much smarter version of Buttercup. Scaramouche would be a fantastic movie. *example: "From M. le Marquis there was a slight play of eyebrows, a vague, indulgent smile. His dark, liquid eyes looked squarely into the face of M. de Vilmorin. "You have been deceived in that, I fear." "Deceived?" "Your sentiments betray the indiscretion of which madame your mother must have been guilty." The brutally affronting words were sped beyond recall, and the lips that had uttered them, coldly, as if they had been the merest commonplace, remained calm and faintly sneering. A dead silence followed."

  19. 5 out of 5

    Marquise

    A stupendous adventure novel! It's been a while since I've enjoyed a swashbuckler, mostly because the adventures often are overly melodramatic in the classics, but this one has just the exact amount to be enjoyable and not off-putting, and since the character at one point becomes an actual Comédie actor playing the role of the buffoon, whatever histrionics there are in the plot doesn't feel out of place and goes well with the main lead's personality. And Sabatini does establish the personality o A stupendous adventure novel! It's been a while since I've enjoyed a swashbuckler, mostly because the adventures often are overly melodramatic in the classics, but this one has just the exact amount to be enjoyable and not off-putting, and since the character at one point becomes an actual Comédie actor playing the role of the buffoon, whatever histrionics there are in the plot doesn't feel out of place and goes well with the main lead's personality. And Sabatini does establish the personality of his hero, André-Louis Moreau, right from the opening line: He was born with a gift of laughter and a sense that the world was mad. The adventures of the character are divided in three parts that correspond deftly with each of the three different roles André-Louis has to play over the course of two years, when he has to flee his birthplace in Brittany as a result of his best friend´s death in an unjust duel at the hands of Gervais, Marquis de La Tour d'Azyr, which compels him to become a rabble-rousing political orator to antagonise the populace against the region's nobility, the most powerful of which is M. le Marquis, events that are covered in Part I. The second part, which lends its name to the book, tells his adventures as an errant comedian/playwright in a travelling theatre troupe, and was by far my favourite part of the book, and the one I'd have wanted to be longer. I also consider that was the time when André-Louis was happier, even falling in love (. . . so he thinks). But of course that couldn't last for long, and he has to flee again, become a fencing legend and retake his original work as a political representative during the months before and during the French Revolution. What I appreciated the most was the excellent storytelling and the pace, which is generally fast save in some places where the political situation is discussed in somewhat lengthy dialogue. I also liked the hero's characterisation as a fool on the outside whilst being well-rounded and smart on the inside, and that he is opposed to an antagonist that, for once, isn't black-and-white but rather surprisingly nuanced for the usual type of villains that populate these types of stories, and the rivalry between Moureau and La Tour d'Azyr never loses momentum, ending in a surprise twist by the end. This is, as I've stressed on, an adventure story, but there's serious topics included in it as well relating to the ongoing social upheaval in France, which was also a point in its favour.

  20. 4 out of 5

    Laura

    First line: "He was born with a gift of laughter and a sense that the world was mad." According to Wiki, "Scaramouche" also called Scaramuccia, means a roguish buffoon character in the commedia dell'arte. A great novel, it reminds me Dumas pere books, with a lot of twisting plots, duels and plenty of historical figures, like Marat, Danton , Marie Antoinette and so on. A decade later after Scaramouche publication, Sabatini wrote a sequel, Scaramouche the Kingmaker text , which was not as well rece First line: "He was born with a gift of laughter and a sense that the world was mad." According to Wiki, "Scaramouche" also called Scaramuccia, means a roguish buffoon character in the commedia dell'arte. A great novel, it reminds me Dumas pere books, with a lot of twisting plots, duels and plenty of historical figures, like Marat, Danton , Marie Antoinette and so on. A decade later after Scaramouche publication, Sabatini wrote a sequel, Scaramouche the Kingmaker text , which was not as well received. I wonder why. Available at Gutenberg project Available at LibriVox as an audio book. The movie based on this book is available at You Tube Stars: Stewart Granger, Janet Leigh, Eleanor Parker, Mel Ferrer and Nina Foch.

  21. 5 out of 5

    Hana

    I just finished and loved to distraction The Beloved Vagabond by William J. Locke. Paragot, the main character, reminded me of the first line in Scaramouche "He was born with a gift of laughter and a sense that the world was mad." I just finished and loved to distraction The Beloved Vagabond by William J. Locke. Paragot, the main character, reminded me of the first line in Scaramouche "He was born with a gift of laughter and a sense that the world was mad."

  22. 4 out of 5

    Leslie

    July 2018 reread via audiobook narrated by Simon Vance: 4.5* Vance does an excellent job narrating this classic but the way I listened to it (mostly in the car) prevented me from being as caught up in the story as I have reading the paperback. Still a rollicking good tale about the last few years leading up to the French Revolution! ------ I loved the 1952 movie with Stewart Granger so much I decided to go to the source & read the book... The book is amazing! It had so much more depth than the mov July 2018 reread via audiobook narrated by Simon Vance: 4.5* Vance does an excellent job narrating this classic but the way I listened to it (mostly in the car) prevented me from being as caught up in the story as I have reading the paperback. Still a rollicking good tale about the last few years leading up to the French Revolution! ------ I loved the 1952 movie with Stewart Granger so much I decided to go to the source & read the book... The book is amazing! It had so much more depth than the movie, but retained the fun, swashbuckling adventure too. If you like Dumas's The Three Musketeers or Dickens' Tale of Two Cities, you should read this book.

  23. 5 out of 5

    Krystal

    I was prompted to read this by its similarities with my favourite book of all time - Alexandre Dumas' The Three Musketeers. While Sabatini is no Dumas, I still found this incredibly enjoyable and exactly what I've been looking for since I ran out of Musketeers novels to read. I find the French history fascinating, though I feel this would have been more enjoyable if I did know the names and bullet points regarding the French Revolution. The focus here, though, is on how this history affected the I was prompted to read this by its similarities with my favourite book of all time - Alexandre Dumas' The Three Musketeers. While Sabatini is no Dumas, I still found this incredibly enjoyable and exactly what I've been looking for since I ran out of Musketeers novels to read. I find the French history fascinating, though I feel this would have been more enjoyable if I did know the names and bullet points regarding the French Revolution. The focus here, though, is on how this history affected the story of Andre-Louis - the man who became Scaramouche - and I was completely drawn in to that story. The study of this character is intriguing. He's a man easy to hate yet you somehow feel sympathy for him. Modern day readers will easily understand a man who hides his emotions and presents a tough exterior, but in the context of this novel it seems so irrational and causes so much trouble for him that you can't help but feel sorry for him and wonder why he persists. That he's being constantly asked if he has a heart, when this entire adventure was prompted by his witnessing the death of a friend, just seems so unfair, and I couldn't help but admire the way he spoke, always holding his head high. I loved reading about his time with the Binet troupe, and I felt my lip curling in disgust when I read about Andre's own. I became so invested in this character that his feelings became mine. This is one of my greatest pleasures in reading. At the same time, I loved the character of La Tour d'Azyr. He was a truly multifaceted character that had me undecided as to whether I wanted him dead or alive. I really admire courage and honour, and as Dumas wrote, 'Bravery is always respected, even in an enemy.' I was repulsed by him as Andre-Louis was, but I had the advantage of looking from the outside and perceiving an admirable man in the way he conducted himself. Again, the beauty of literature is evident in its power to allow me to feel such conflicting emotions, all in regard to a man who is completely fictional. Nothing beats the classics for this depth of emotional involvement, in my humble opinion. Thematically, there's a lot here to process. A lot of the political talk went over my head, but the writing enabled me to still understand consequences in relation to our protagonist, so that was enough. I really enjoyed this novel and its memorable characters. Sabatini is no Dumas, but he certainly has a good crack at it, and I'll be looking at filling my 'Classics' shelf with more of his work.

  24. 4 out of 5

    Susan in NC

    4.5 stars. Wow! What an exciting ride...I really enjoyed this fast-paced, exciting adventure set during the French Revolution. If I hadn’t read this along with the Goodreads Retro Reads group for our January group read, I doubt if I would’ve picked it up on my own - and that would’ve been a shame. I want to try new (to me) authors and books in 2018, and this is a delightful group to do that with. I can also use this book for the Book For All Seasons challenge, reading a book set during a revoluti 4.5 stars. Wow! What an exciting ride...I really enjoyed this fast-paced, exciting adventure set during the French Revolution. If I hadn’t read this along with the Goodreads Retro Reads group for our January group read, I doubt if I would’ve picked it up on my own - and that would’ve been a shame. I want to try new (to me) authors and books in 2018, and this is a delightful group to do that with. I can also use this book for the Book For All Seasons challenge, reading a book set during a revolution! I didn’t know what to expect, but thought it might be very swashbuckling, which would have been a turn-off; and as one of our group pointed out, the title “Scaramouche” brought the Queen song Bohemian Rhapsody to mind, and now I know who Scaramouche was at least! I listened to the audiobook and read along on the kindle edition, which was very satisfying. Simon Vance was the narrator, and his beautiful voice, flawless French pronunciation and wonderful characterizations of both male and female characters added so much to my enjoyment, and made the book really fly by. Sabatini’s excellent writing helped; it wasn’t cheesy or melodramatic, as I feared, and he gave us an unusual and amazing hero in Andre Louis Moreau. The dialogue was very well done and moved the action forward, even though the beginning, with the necessity of laying the groundwork of politics and philosophy that would spark and fuel the revolution and hence, the driving conflict between Andre Louis and his nemesis, the Marquis de la Tour d’Azyr, dragged a bit. It took a while to draw me in, but once the conflict was established and our hero, a self-deprecating but witty country lawyer was on his way trying to make his way in the world, first as an actor in a traveling theater troupe and then as a fencing master, before being drawn back into the world of revolutionary politics, I was hooked! The ending was romantic and exciting and not wholly unexpected, but satisfying. I can see why it’s considered Sabatini’s masterpiece!

  25. 4 out of 5

    Julie Davis

    I'm listening to B.J. Harrison's reading via his wonderful The Classic Tales podcast. It's been a while and I'm greatly enjoying this third time through the story. ========= I reread this in preparation for an SFFaudio discussion in a few weeks. It's about time they tried some Rafael Sabatini and I'm proud to have pushed it upon them. The only thing better than my initial reading was listening to Robert Whitfield's (a.k.a. Simon Vance) excellent narration, thanks to my library. ========= Extremely I'm listening to B.J. Harrison's reading via his wonderful The Classic Tales podcast. It's been a while and I'm greatly enjoying this third time through the story. ========= I reread this in preparation for an SFFaudio discussion in a few weeks. It's about time they tried some Rafael Sabatini and I'm proud to have pushed it upon them. The only thing better than my initial reading was listening to Robert Whitfield's (a.k.a. Simon Vance) excellent narration, thanks to my library. ========= Extremely enjoyable swashbuckling on the eve of the French Revolution. This might be the perfect companion volume to A Tale of Two Cities, though it also had strong echoes of Nicholas Nickleby. Lawyer Andre-Louis Moreau has never believed strongly in any philosophical point of view. When his best friend (a champion of the people) goes to face the arrogant Marquis de la Tour d' Azyr for slaying a poacher, everything goes wrong. Andre-Louis finds himself on the run, eventually joining an acting company, but with a sense that he must speak up for his friend's beliefs, even if he doesn't really believe them. Andre-Louis's natural gift for rhetoric and logical argument prove themselves abilities which enrich almost any situation or occupation. Sabatini uses them for both humorous and dramatic effect. This book pulls us into the arguments for and against revolution, while enjoying romance, revenge, betrayal, treason, and, of course, sword fighting.

  26. 5 out of 5

    Szplug

    Before the reader has had time to settle in, the beloved friend of Monsieur Moreau (soon to be known as Scaramouche) - the pair being young petites bourgeoises with noble dreams of a France committed to liberté, égalité, fraternité - is slain by the haughty and unyielding aristocrat the Marquis de la Tour d'Azyr (one of literature's great antagonists), husband-to-be of Scaramouche's cousin Aline. Our hero - less one dear friend - will be forced to flee the long arm of justice after being condemn Before the reader has had time to settle in, the beloved friend of Monsieur Moreau (soon to be known as Scaramouche) - the pair being young petites bourgeoises with noble dreams of a France committed to liberté, égalité, fraternité - is slain by the haughty and unyielding aristocrat the Marquis de la Tour d'Azyr (one of literature's great antagonists), husband-to-be of Scaramouche's cousin Aline. Our hero - less one dear friend - will be forced to flee the long arm of justice after being condemned as a rabble rouser. His subsequent journeys - fueled by the gross injustice of Tour d'Azyr and a burning desire for revenge - will lead him from itinerant performer to master swordsman in the turbulent Paris of the dawn of the Revolution. Will there be wicked swordplay? Oh yes, indeedy! Will there be lusty romance? Bet on it, Stu! Will there be wonderful characters galore? Bien sur, mes amis! Will there be a final showdown between Scaramouche and Tour d'Azyr on a stage replete with a tear-shedding mother and the flickering shadows of several loosely dangling ends about to be tied up? Take it to the bank, dear reader! The bottom line? Romantic fiction featuring swashbuckling and cunning gallants with the French Revolution as a glorious backdrop simply doesn't get any better than Sabatini's fantastic page-turner.

  27. 4 out of 5

    Cheryl

    This book just wasn't for me. I really didn't like the author's writing style. I thought the pace was uneven. Too many long political discussions, with some action sequences in between. An OK read.

  28. 4 out of 5

    Jamy

    André-Louis Moreau is a young lawyer in the small village of Gavrillac who knows much of the human world. Therefore he doesn't much care for it. Also, he being of the Grumbling Cynics, he is often heard muttering a variation of a miserable little chant about seeing little hope for humanity and all that. Anyways, his best friend on the other hand, still believes in the existence of such silly heroes of the old myths as Equality and Justice. So when one day he stumbles upon a dead man in the woods André-Louis Moreau is a young lawyer in the small village of Gavrillac who knows much of the human world. Therefore he doesn't much care for it. Also, he being of the Grumbling Cynics, he is often heard muttering a variation of a miserable little chant about seeing little hope for humanity and all that. Anyways, his best friend on the other hand, still believes in the existence of such silly heroes of the old myths as Equality and Justice. So when one day he stumbles upon a dead man in the woods and hears him proclaim, "Vilmorin of the Idealistics, the world is in grave danger. An evil of old, the PrivilegedNoble wakes from its long slumber. Already its thralls spread among men to do its bidding. Call upon the powers of Equality and Justice to vanquish them all", he nearly shits his pants. Nevertheless, moments later, after having mastered his senses, Vilmorin of the Idealistics takes off with the determination to confront a local evil of the PrivilegedNoble there in Gravillac and on arrival promptly gets himself impaled on a sword. Thus André-Louis of the Grumbling Cynics vows a change of his ways to exact revenge and the tale of Scaramouche begins. That fanciful indulgence aside, my very first thought upon finishing the book was that Scaramouche is a brilliantly plotted novel. It has quite a number of subplots, so at times it feels like the author is being a little too elaborate, but nonetheless, all of them are so intelligently, so eloquently woven together that it all flows seamlessly. It also helps that the skeleton plot is fleshed out so amply, intricately and with one very charming protagonist thrown into the bargain that there rarely is any dull moment, which under the pen of a lesser writer, I am sure, would have felt like one endless indulgent dreary drag where the hero excels at pretty much everything and you are left rolling your eyes. Everything works flawlessly, but I especially enjoyed the enmity between André-Louis and his sworn enemy, M. de La Tour d’Azyr, who murders Vilmorin very early on as I wrote above. Initially, La Tour d’Azyr comes off as a typical remorseless, unscrupulous nobleman who will stop at nothing to get what he wants. But gradually we are stripped off that prejudice so that what we are left with is a villain who actually has a depth of character. The only misgiving I have of the book has to do with the twist at the end which I felt was a little tacky and clichéd. All in all, a great novel I had a blast reading. I will only say that I must have been born mad and now I will have to laugh at myself for not having read this sooner.

  29. 5 out of 5

    K.

    Interesting book. Went well with Les Mis as it deals with the beginnings of the French Revolution. Nicely fleshed out some historical names Hugo mentions but doesn't define. Things I liked: *Sabatini must have had an enormous personal vocabulary. There were so many words that I've never even seen before, and I've seen quite a few words. That's always fun, although I didn't take the time to look them up. *High moral tone. Hero is the epitome of self-made man who pulls himself up by his own bootstr Interesting book. Went well with Les Mis as it deals with the beginnings of the French Revolution. Nicely fleshed out some historical names Hugo mentions but doesn't define. Things I liked: *Sabatini must have had an enormous personal vocabulary. There were so many words that I've never even seen before, and I've seen quite a few words. That's always fun, although I didn't take the time to look them up. *High moral tone. Hero is the epitome of self-made man who pulls himself up by his own bootstraps, so to speak. He loves to learn and perfect new skills. *Historical setting Things I didn't like so much: *No humor *Was a pretty set-to-standard adventure story. Not very original, fairly predictable. Ending was a let-down. *Although the hero was a go-getter, he was a bit too much of the actor (and that was the point of the name scaramouche, but still, he didn't show a lot of emotion. He had almost too much self-control.) Not for a young boy, as it has themes of adultery and debauchery and lots of bloodshed. No details, but it's in the workings. An older boy may benefit from the example of making your own destiny. And also from the historical perspective surrounding the revolution. My book is full of stickies, because it did have some really good lines. That said, I probably won't ever read it again. I find the lack of humor discouraging. That was the thing I didn't like about Sabatini's "Captain Blood" also. I have another book by him, but it will be a long time before I get to it. -- Great lines: "Truth is so often disconcerting." (8) "Acquisitiveness is the curse of mankind." (10) "The Marquis sighed wearily. 'What have I to do with the laws of humanity?'" (perfectly showing what the FR was all about) "Regret of neglected opportunity is the worst hell that a living soul can inhabit..." (221) "From the earnest and thoughtful study of the theories of others, it followed now--as not uncommonly happens--that Andre Louis came to develop theories of his own." (231) "'To understand is to forgive.' That is a great saying of Montaigne's." (260) "What a man dares to do, he should dare to confess--unless he is a coward." (260) "Can it ever be wise, Madame, to be insincere?" (276)

  30. 5 out of 5

    Gavin

    If you've never read any Rafael Sabatini, then I urge you to do so. He writes historical novels that are at least as good as Sir Walter Scott's, if not slightly better. This particular one concerns Andre-Louis's adventures as a part of the french Revolution, its build-up and subsequent events. Scaramouche is a character from the Comedia dell' Arte whose characteristics fit the protagonist to a T. Sabatini has an easy style and keeps the interest up throughout the novel. There's a second one with If you've never read any Rafael Sabatini, then I urge you to do so. He writes historical novels that are at least as good as Sir Walter Scott's, if not slightly better. This particular one concerns Andre-Louis's adventures as a part of the french Revolution, its build-up and subsequent events. Scaramouche is a character from the Comedia dell' Arte whose characteristics fit the protagonist to a T. Sabatini has an easy style and keeps the interest up throughout the novel. There's a second one with Scaramouche in the title, which I will be hunting down shortly. I just wish his works were easier to find.

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