Thursday, December 5, 2013

CBR V Review #44: Scaramouche by Rafael Sabatini

“He was born with a gift of laughter and a sense that the world was mad. And that was all his patrimony.” 

Scaramouche is an old, fabulous text. It tells the story of Andre-Louis Moreau, a lawyer raised in nobility who ends up influencing the French Revolution.  After the murder of his friend in an incredibly one sided duel, Andre finds new purpose in life, taking up his friend's political mantel.  Andre finds himself shifting personas to accommodate his new influence, but he is forever driven by fury at the noble who murdered his friend, and the inequality of the system.

I picked this book up for one reason only - the fights.  I'm big on stage combat, and studying combat in general, and this was highly recommended to me by my fight family.  Andre, later in his story, becomes an incredible fencing master.  As such, it's an interesting text to read from the perspective of someone who studies swordplay. Sabatini knows his stuff, including the rules of the duel.

The book itself drags a bit at times, but much of that has to do with the style of writing, which is a product of the period.  However, the story is a good one, with an interesting narrative and a cast of solid characters.  The twist at the end is not entirely a surprise, at least parts of it are not, but it makes sense to go where it does.  There's a *lot* of political discussion here, as is necessary when your book is set in a revolution.  Some of it was lost on me, but that doesn't mean it wouldn't interest someone else.

This is a hard one to recommend because it's not something everyone will be into.  But I enjoyed it.

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