➩ Scaramouche Ebook ➯ Author Rafael Sabatini – 1sm.info
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I d never read Sabatini before as I harboured the prejudice that an adventure novel written in 1922 would feel clich , out of date, and ultimately disposable Instead, Scaramouche surprised me at every turn.The character of Andr Louis Moreau has qualities both admirable and execrable We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 Andr 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 Andr 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 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. He was born with a gift of laughter and a sense that the world was madOne 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 Andr Louis story with real history and leaves you wanting to read of both The style is romantic, but the romance s are of the realistic sort view spoiler I love that Andr Louis is shown having than one love hide spoiler Last Wednesday He Had Been Engaged In Moving An Audience Of Rennes To Anger On This Wednesday He Was To Move An Audience Of Guichen To Mirth Once He Was Andr Louis Moreau, A Lawyer Raised By Nobility, Unconcerned With The Growing Discontent Among France S Lower Class Until His Friend Was 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 Actors And Assumes The Role Of The Clown Scaramouche A Comic Figure With A Very Serious MessageSet 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.With An Introduction By Gary Hoppenstand This reviews can be found on Amaranthine Reads He was born with a gift of laughter and a sense that the world was mad Andr 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 n e Andr 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 Andr Louis, who plays him so marvellously and convincingly There is a deftness to anything Andr 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 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 Andr 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 Andr 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 well known and I mourn for him much I do the other fabulous authors we so disdainfully ignore.Blog Instagram Twitter Pinterest Shop Etsy Seminal novels have a curious tendency of being very much unlike the genres they inspire It s something I ve explored before, inThe Lord of the Ringsfantasy ,The Virginianwestern , andThe Moonstonemystery , 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 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 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. 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 p re 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 Dant s 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 ma tre 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 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 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 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 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 likeBinet and sometimes his peers, evenM des Amis It almost appeared that Andre Louis felt that he was entitled to be intelligent and be better at things than others This time around, the book felt 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 withFencing Alas, am doomed to ever learn it myself.P.P.S I read the book alternating between the audiobook and the ebookSimon Vance is one of the best narrators He takes the pleasure of listening to a book, to another level, IMHO i.e. 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 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 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 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 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 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 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. 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, 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 any 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 forgetThe secrets will be revealed, complications arise but isn t life full of them A well told talevery entertaining for everyone who still has love for adventure no matter their age or situation, by a terrific author of this genre.. 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 Andr Louis Moreau was born from unknown parents and raised by a local lord Quentin de Kercadiou Thanks to him Andr Louis received a good education and became a lawyer We are talking about France right before the revolution Try as he could, Andr 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 and 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 character based Andr Louis that is than action based Please do not get me wrong, Andr 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 R volution tranquille Wikipedia is your friend it was not Still Andr 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.