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Scaramouche by Rafael Sabatini
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Scaramouche (1921)

by Rafael Sabatini

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English (36)  French (1)  All languages (37)
Showing 1-5 of 36 (next | show all)
I read Sabatini's wonderful Captain Blood some time ago and have been meaning to return to his work. After my 13-year old daughter finished Scaramouche for the second time, and highly recommended it, I started reading her paperback copy, then switched to a Kindle version downloaded from Amazon. This made it much easier to look up some of the odd words or French passages the author frequently uses.

Scaramouche is a story that takes its time getting to where it is going. I was expecting a real thriller like Captain Blood, but this isn't that type of book. The characterization, at least of the title character, the adopted son of a minor nobleman, is much deeper and this is truly a piece of historical fiction rather than an adventure novel. We see France during the inception of the French Revolution as the protagonist, seeking to avenge the death of a friend, becomes a spokesman for the third estate--the ordinary people who are trying to put an end to the unquestioned power of the nobles and the clergy. All this is very educational and quite well done. We get to meet, in passing, some of the historical personages of the revolution such as Danton. But the fun in the story is how the hero (although he is a hero with some obvious flaws) has to reinvent himself as he is fleeing arrest. First, he joins an acting troupe and is quickly writing their scenarios and becoming their star--thus his assuming the identity of Scaramouche. Later, he becomes a fencing master, which certainly comes in handy. All the while, the story is moving toward its inevitable climax when he must confront the despicable nobleman who killed his friend at the beginning of the book. Except, nothing is quite that simple here. Sabatini has a more complex story to tell, and he tells it well. Although this isn't what I was expecting, the book is very well written and never fails to hold the attention.

There is a sequel, Scaramouche the Kingmaker, which continues the story.

Sabatini is a not-quite forgotten writer who deserves to be read and re-read. ( )
  datrappert | May 11, 2016 |
This is a swashbuckling romance/action story of a man named André-Louis Moreau who is outraged when a friend of his is coldly killed in a duel by a man named Marquis de La Tour D'Azyr, an aristocrat. André-Louis' words draw attention and he has to hide, joining a group of actors and taking the part of Scaramouche, a character known from the Punch and Judy puppet shows.Very soon he shows a great aptitude for acting and even shows promise as a writer bringing the troupe to prominence and drawing attention. He falls in love with the director's daughter and even asks her to marry him but is outraged when she draws the attention of de La Tour d'Azyr. After leaving the troupe he apprentices with a fencing master and now his plans to revenge his friend seem to show promise.

The end of the book is very exciting with the French Revolution in full swing and the need to flee Paris. Surprises are in store for the reader.

Great fun and Simon Vance is perfectly comfortable with the tongue twisting French names. ( )
  mamzel | May 10, 2016 |
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 [b:The Princess Bride|21787|The Princess Bride |William Goldman|http://photo.goodreads.com/books/1327903636s/21787.jpg|992628]'s Wesley--Aline is a much smarter version of Buttercup. [b:Scaramouche|938105|Scaramouche|Rafael Sabatini|http://photo.goodreads.com/books/1179630579s/938105.jpg|1370942] 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." ( )
  wealhtheowwylfing | Feb 29, 2016 |
Fathers and sons dueling their way to idealism. A romantic novel that I loved as a child. The French Revolution seemed so bizarre that it wasn't any wonder [to me at the time] that folks had to keep changing sides to stay alive. ( )
  dbsovereign | Jan 26, 2016 |
Silly, but entertaining as long as you have the right expectations. Though I tagged this as historical romance, the French Revolution is mostly the backdrop for the personal dramas endured by the main character, whose political opinions result in a good bit of turbulence both professionally and romantically. It's fun to read about his careers in the theater and the fencing academy, and interesting to see various historical characters in passing (though it's not clear how much resemblance they bear to the real people). All in all, a light palate-cleanser in between more heavyweight books. ( )
  bostonian71 | May 22, 2015 |
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Book description
Once he was André-Louis Moreau, a lawyer raised by nobility, unconcerned with the growing discontent among France’s lower class—until his best friend is mercilessly struck down by a member of the aristocracy.

Now, he is Scaramouche. Speaking out against the unjust French Government, he takes refuge with a nomadic band of acting improvisers where he assumes the role of Scaramouche The Clown—a comic figure with a very serious message...

Set during the French Revolution, this novel of swashbuckling romance is also a thought-provoking commentary on class, inequality, and the individual’s role in society—a story that has become Rafael Sabatini’s enduring legacy.
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Amazon.com Product Description (ISBN 0451527976, Mass Market Paperback)

Once he was André-Louis Moreau, a lawyer raised by nobility, unconcerned with the growing discontent among France’s lower class—until his best friend is mercilessly struck down by a member of the aristocracy.

Now, he is Scaramouche. Speaking out against the unjust French Government, he takes refuge with a nomadic band of acting improvisers where he assumes the role of Scaramouche The Clown—a comic figure with a very serious message...

Set during the French Revolution, this novel of swashbuckling romance is also a thought-provoking commentary on class, inequality, and the individual’s role in society—a story that has become Rafael Sabatini’s enduring legacy.

(retrieved from Amazon Thu, 12 Mar 2015 18:15:06 -0400)

(see all 6 descriptions)

Scaramouche , by Rafael Sabatini , is part of the Barnes & Noble Classics series, which offers quality editions at affordable prices to the student and the general reader, including new scholarship, thoughtful design, and pages of carefully crafted extras. Here are some of the remarkable features of Barnes & Noble Classics : New introductions commissioned from today's top writers and scholars Biographies of the authors Chronologies of contemporary historical, biographical, and cultural events Footnotes and endnotes Selective discussions of imitations, parodies, poems, books, plays, paintings, operas, statuary, and films inspired by the work Comments by other famous authors Study questions to challenge the reader's viewpoints and expectations Bibliographies for further reading Indices & Glossaries, when appropriate All editions are beautifully designed and are printed to superior specifications; some include illustrations of historical interest. Barnes & Noble Classics pulls together a constellation of influences biographical, historical, and literary to enrich each reader's understanding of these enduring works. Raised by a supposed godfather, Andre'-Louis Moreau knows nothing about his background or his real parents not even his real name. All he knows is that he wants vengeance against the vicious, arrogant aristocrat who brutally murdered his best friend. As France plummets into revolution at the end of the eighteenth century, Moreau's journey toward revenge takes him through several careers, from lawyer to fugitive to actor and playwright and eventually to member of the French National Assembly. Hiding with a troupe of itinerant actors, he gleefully plays the traditional Commedia Dell-Arte role of Scaramouche, the trouble-making trickster who, like Shakespeare's fools and jesters, speaks painful truths disguised as harmless comedy. Rafael Sabatini was a twentieth-century Alexandre Dumas: a masterful creator of swashbuckling historical romances. Mixing real people with fictional characters and actual events with invented ones, Sabatini drew vivid, accurately detailed pictures of revolution-addled France. In Scaramouche, he turns a sweeping adventure epic into a subtle psychological study, as Moreau's odyssey gradually becomes less about revenge than about self-discovery. Includes 8 pieces of original art. John D. Cloy, Ph.D. , is Bibliographer for the Humanities at the University of Mississippi Libraries. He is the author of Pensive Jester: The Literary Career of W.W. Jacobs (University Press of America, 1996) and Muscular Mirth: Barry Pain and the New Humor (University of Victoria Press, 2003), as well as various articles on turn-of-the-century English literature and humor, comparative literature, and British short fiction.… (more)

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