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The Trampling of the Lilies by Rafael Sabatini, Historical Fiction

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The events that fateful spring morning sealed M. la Boulaye's fate. It started with an idyll in the garden with the object of his heart's desire; it ended when the Marquis found them in the garden. The Marquis came slowly forward, his angrily inquiring glance wandering from his daughter to M. la Boulaye. At last he said -- "Well?" he demanded. "What is the matter?" "It is The events that fateful spring morning sealed M. la Boulaye's fate. It started with an idyll in the garden with the object of his heart's desire; it ended when the Marquis found them in the garden. The Marquis came slowly forward, his angrily inquiring glance wandering from his daughter to M. la Boulaye. At last he said -- "Well?" he demanded. "What is the matter?" "It is nothing," his daughter answered him. "A trifling affair 'twixt M. la Boulaye and me, with which I will not trouble you." "It is not nothing, my lord," cried La Boulaye, his voice vibrating oddly. "It is that I love your daughter and that I have told her of it." He was in a very daring mood that morning. The Marquis glanced at him in dull amazement. Then a flush crept into his sallow cheeks and mounted to his brow. An inarticulate grunt came from his thick lips. "Canaille!" he exclaimed, through set teeth. "Can you have presumed so far?" He carried a riding-switch, and he seemed to grasp it now in a manner peculiarly menacing. But La Boulaye was nothing daunted.


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The events that fateful spring morning sealed M. la Boulaye's fate. It started with an idyll in the garden with the object of his heart's desire; it ended when the Marquis found them in the garden. The Marquis came slowly forward, his angrily inquiring glance wandering from his daughter to M. la Boulaye. At last he said -- "Well?" he demanded. "What is the matter?" "It is The events that fateful spring morning sealed M. la Boulaye's fate. It started with an idyll in the garden with the object of his heart's desire; it ended when the Marquis found them in the garden. The Marquis came slowly forward, his angrily inquiring glance wandering from his daughter to M. la Boulaye. At last he said -- "Well?" he demanded. "What is the matter?" "It is nothing," his daughter answered him. "A trifling affair 'twixt M. la Boulaye and me, with which I will not trouble you." "It is not nothing, my lord," cried La Boulaye, his voice vibrating oddly. "It is that I love your daughter and that I have told her of it." He was in a very daring mood that morning. The Marquis glanced at him in dull amazement. Then a flush crept into his sallow cheeks and mounted to his brow. An inarticulate grunt came from his thick lips. "Canaille!" he exclaimed, through set teeth. "Can you have presumed so far?" He carried a riding-switch, and he seemed to grasp it now in a manner peculiarly menacing. But La Boulaye was nothing daunted.

30 review for The Trampling of the Lilies by Rafael Sabatini, Historical Fiction

  1. 4 out of 5

    Dfordoom

    Rafael Sabatini (1875-1950) was one of the grand masters of the swashbuckling adventure tale. He was born in Italy but lived in England from the age of seventeen onwards and wrote all of his many books in English. The Trampling of the Lilies, published in 1906, is one of his early efforts. Shortly before the outbreak of the French Revolution a man named La Boulaye is the secretary to the Marquis de Bellecour. La Boulaye has imbibed deeply of the poisonous philosophy of Jean Jacques Rousseau and i Rafael Sabatini (1875-1950) was one of the grand masters of the swashbuckling adventure tale. He was born in Italy but lived in England from the age of seventeen onwards and wrote all of his many books in English. The Trampling of the Lilies, published in 1906, is one of his early efforts. Shortly before the outbreak of the French Revolution a man named La Boulaye is the secretary to the Marquis de Bellecour. La Boulaye has imbibed deeply of the poisonous philosophy of Jean Jacques Rousseau and is a revolutionary in the making. La Boulaye is unfortunate enough to be in love with the marquis’ daughter Suzanne. Unfortunate, because such a love was impossible. Although he is an educated man La Boulaye’s birth was humble and the social gulf between such a man and the nobility was very wide indeed. La Boulaye is unwise enough to declare his love. His reward is to be spurned by Suzanne and horsewhipped by her father. Later that day La Boulaye comes across a peasant wedding, and witnesses a scene that will have a momentous effect on both his own destiny and that of the family of de Bellecour. The marquis asserts his ancient right, the droit de seigneur, to take the virginity of the young bride. La Boulaye’s blood boils and he shoots one of the marquis’ servants and attempts to shoot the marquis himself. As a result the marquis orders that he be flogged to death. He is flogged until he appears to be dead, and them Suzanne de Bellecour intervenes and stops the punishment. La Boulaye proves to be still alive and thanks to Suzanne he is able to flee. Suzanne’s feelings towards him are confused to say the least. She cannot possibly admit to herself that she might be in love with him. He is little better than a peasant and as such scarcely human. It is an unthinkable idea. She has all the prejudices of her class. The action them jumps forward four years. It is 1793 and La Boulaye is a powerful man indeed. He is not only a Deputy, but also an intimate friend of Robespierre. His path will again cross with that of Suzanne de Bellecour, with momentous consequences. Despite their own best efforts their destinies are inextricably linked. Suzanne saved La Boulaye’s life once and he will have an opportunity to repay the debt, but at a frightful cost to himself. Compared to his later books many of the characterisations in The Trampling of the Lilies are somewhat lacking in subtlety. With one notable exception the aristocrats are cruel and arrogant, little more than cardboard villains. To be fair to Sabatini, the revolutionaries are not much better. Surprisingly enough he seems rather sympathetic to Robespierre. How one can paint a sympathetic portrait of such a monster passes all human understanding, but there you have it. Sabatini seems uncertain as to his feelings about the Revolution. He is torn between his natural sympathy for the underdog and his horror at the way events turned out as France was turned into a butcher’s yard. La Boulaye’s transformation from bloodthirsty revolutionary to romantic hero is not entirely convincing, unless you can accept the idea that love really does conquer all. The evidence for the actual existence of the droit de seigneur is slight, but it became part of the popular imagination both in the 18th century and today. It was first publicised by Voltaire, who may well have invented the idea. It was a useful stick with which to beat the aristocracy. Sabatini’s sympathies are clearly not with the aristocracy so it’s perhaps not surprising that he makes use of this myth. There’s not quite as much action as you’d expect in a Sabatini novel, but there is plenty of tension as La Boulaye struggles to find a way to save Suzanne from the guillotine. Sabatini, even in this early novel, demonstrates his skills as a story-teller. Any adventure novel by this author is worth reading, and this is no exception.

  2. 5 out of 5

    Donna

    Shortly after Caron La Boulaye shocks a young aristocratic woman with a profession of love, her father almost succeeds in having Caron killed. Four years later, France is in the middle of the revolution, Caron is a highly-placed politician, and the woman, Suzanne, needs the help of the man she once rejected. My favorite aspect of this one is the French Revolution setting, it really added some great tension to the story. The plot has more intrigue than action, though. Things are a little too strai Shortly after Caron La Boulaye shocks a young aristocratic woman with a profession of love, her father almost succeeds in having Caron killed. Four years later, France is in the middle of the revolution, Caron is a highly-placed politician, and the woman, Suzanne, needs the help of the man she once rejected. My favorite aspect of this one is the French Revolution setting, it really added some great tension to the story. The plot has more intrigue than action, though. Things are a little too straightforward, and it was difficult for me to connect with the hero or buy into the romance. While it may not live up to Sabatini's later books, it was still worth reading.

  3. 4 out of 5

    Hannah

    This is one of Sabatini's weaker novels, and it didn't quite grab my heart and make me forget that quite like some others, such as Gates of Doom and Mistress Wilding, which are also weaker but gained five fully sentimental stars from me. Still an excellent historical fiction read, though. Nothing can quite top Scaramouche in his works set in the French Revolution. This is one of Sabatini's weaker novels, and it didn't quite grab my heart and make me forget that quite like some others, such as Gates of Doom and Mistress Wilding, which are also weaker but gained five fully sentimental stars from me. Still an excellent historical fiction read, though. Nothing can quite top Scaramouche in his works set in the French Revolution.

  4. 5 out of 5

    Melinda

    Another good Sabatini. This one starts four years prior to the French Revolution and moves quickly to the Revolution itself. It follows a young revolutionary named La Boulaye. After almost dying at the hands of aristocrats, he teams with Robbespierre and heads off to Paris. This book is La Boulaye's story. As wi5h all Sabatini, it is a rousing ride through history where honor and love change the lives of our characters. The only only difference that I found in this once is that our hero, at time Another good Sabatini. This one starts four years prior to the French Revolution and moves quickly to the Revolution itself. It follows a young revolutionary named La Boulaye. After almost dying at the hands of aristocrats, he teams with Robbespierre and heads off to Paris. This book is La Boulaye's story. As wi5h all Sabatini, it is a rousing ride through history where honor and love change the lives of our characters. The only only difference that I found in this once is that our hero, at times, La Boulaye is too good for his lady and I wanted him to dump her and go forward to lead a fabulous life in the Revolution. He could find another lady love. This, of course, does not happen. This is the least bloodiest book about the French. Revolution that I have read, and I really enjoyed it. La Boulaye is one of the most human and unconflicted revolutionaries in literature and as such is a joy to read. It is not a typical swashbuckling book, but our hero is no less manly, heroic, or honorable than those swashbuckling types. I would recommend this novel to those who love history as well as adventure. The twisty turny plot is of never ending interest. It is truly a thumping good read! I recommend it highly. Whether it's the romance, the honor, the chivalry, the fighting, the war, the revolution, the violence, the politics, the dishonesty, the cunning, the desperation, the master plans, the rhetoric, or the propaganda - it all seems to make the characters come alive, and the story hold together like the history that it was. Without the question of him dumping his love, this would have been a five star book. You can get this book for free from any major book store in e-book format, with an e-reader to match. It definitely worth it.

  5. 4 out of 5

    Redsteve

    Set in the early years of the French Revolution (from 1789-1793), this novel is a pretty standard Sabatini story. Honorable but snarky and misunderstood hero. CHECK A brave and beautiful heroine who spends at least half of the novel convinced he’s a the bad guy. CHECK Bonus: her father is a monster who tries to kill the hero. Handsome but treacherous and cowardly rival for her affections. CHECK Hairsbreadth escapes. CHECK. Prison break. CHECK. Swordfight. Check. Surprisingly, only one. Witty banter CHE Set in the early years of the French Revolution (from 1789-1793), this novel is a pretty standard Sabatini story. Honorable but snarky and misunderstood hero. CHECK A brave and beautiful heroine who spends at least half of the novel convinced he’s a the bad guy. CHECK Bonus: her father is a monster who tries to kill the hero. Handsome but treacherous and cowardly rival for her affections. CHECK Hairsbreadth escapes. CHECK. Prison break. CHECK. Swordfight. Check. Surprisingly, only one. Witty banter CHECKITY CHECK. Crafty disguises. CHECK Character mistaken for dead. CHECK. Hero has to chose between honor and happiness. CHECK. Quite readable but nothing special for those of you familiar with this author. 3 stars.

  6. 4 out of 5

    Pandora

    Just finished The Trampling of the Lilies. This is another Sabatini look at the French Revolution. His focus in this story is the Frech aristocracy brough on their own downfall with they refusual to recognize the humanity of their fellow poorer coutrymen. A unique feature of the book is that it has a sympathic protrayal of Robespierre. Which was something new for me. Suzanne, the heroine, so far is the most annoying heroine I have came across in reading Sabatini but, that is due to the nature of Just finished The Trampling of the Lilies. This is another Sabatini look at the French Revolution. His focus in this story is the Frech aristocracy brough on their own downfall with they refusual to recognize the humanity of their fellow poorer coutrymen. A unique feature of the book is that it has a sympathic protrayal of Robespierre. Which was something new for me. Suzanne, the heroine, so far is the most annoying heroine I have came across in reading Sabatini but, that is due to the nature of the story in showing how great was the snobbery of the french upper classes.

  7. 5 out of 5

    Lynn Smith

    It is my 4th favourite after Captain Blood, Scaramouche and the Sea Hawk. I enjoyed the novel and the lead character caught up on a personal level as a bourgeoisie unacceptable as a suiter to his employer daughter, who becomes involved in the French Revolution and rises himself in the political class of post-revolutionary France. I found this in my local library in the early 1980s and liked the story very much at the time.

  8. 4 out of 5

    Carole

    This is the fourth time I have read this book. I would start at the beginning tomorrow, but I prefer to delay my delight!! I have never read a book by Rafael Sabatini that I didn't love, but this book and Mistress Wilding are my two favorites. Read slowly and savor the dialogue. This is the fourth time I have read this book. I would start at the beginning tomorrow, but I prefer to delay my delight!! I have never read a book by Rafael Sabatini that I didn't love, but this book and Mistress Wilding are my two favorites. Read slowly and savor the dialogue.

  9. 4 out of 5

    Pushpa Rao

    Caron la Boulaye is an avid student of Rousseau’s Discourses who earns his living as a secretary for the Marquise de Bellecour. In this subservient position, he ill-advisedly falls in love with his master’s daughter, Mademoiselle Suzanne de Bellecour, who true to her class, spurns his love. Not content with that, her father, on learning of this presumption, attacks poor Caron with a horsewhip, the only acceptable way to deal with such an upstart. Within a day, Caron further witnesses the arrogan Caron la Boulaye is an avid student of Rousseau’s Discourses who earns his living as a secretary for the Marquise de Bellecour. In this subservient position, he ill-advisedly falls in love with his master’s daughter, Mademoiselle Suzanne de Bellecour, who true to her class, spurns his love. Not content with that, her father, on learning of this presumption, attacks poor Caron with a horsewhip, the only acceptable way to deal with such an upstart. Within a day, Caron further witnesses the arrogance and inhumanity of his erstwhile master as the Marquis demands his droit de seigneur of a young newlywed friend. La Boulaye rashly and unsuccessfully intervenes thus marking himself as one to be reckoned with. Set against the stirrings of the French Revolution, Sabatini spins his story giving us an unsparing look at aristocratic infamy as well as aristocratic honor. There are heroes and villains on both sides and both are presented as natural outcomes of their ancestry; sometimes trapped by it and other times released from it. Suzanne’s evolution provides the case in point. Citizen Robespierre plays a small but critical role. Delightful.

  10. 5 out of 5

    Roswitha

    I will read pretty much anything by Sabatini once. I admire his style and diction,which I find to be an almost perfect blend of artistry and functionality. (Pretty remarkable considering English was his sixth language.)His stories vary widely in quality, however, and this one is one of his poorer showings. A very basic romance without much scope or depth, and (especially if you are familiar with his style) very predictable.

  11. 4 out of 5

    Ed Patterson

    More adventure!

  12. 4 out of 5

    Rona Sharon

  13. 5 out of 5

    Terry Friesen

  14. 5 out of 5

    Marco den Ouden

  15. 5 out of 5

    Matt

  16. 4 out of 5

    Christian

  17. 4 out of 5

    Muحamed جaber

  18. 4 out of 5

    Vladimir

  19. 4 out of 5

    Zhivomira

  20. 5 out of 5

    Julie

  21. 5 out of 5

    Bill

  22. 4 out of 5

    Adam

  23. 5 out of 5

    Truls Ljungström

  24. 5 out of 5

    Erick

  25. 5 out of 5

    starjonea

  26. 4 out of 5

    Jojo

  27. 4 out of 5

    Robert Spake

  28. 5 out of 5

    Peter Peretti

  29. 4 out of 5

    Annea

  30. 4 out of 5

    Stephanie De Villiers

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