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Read online or download a free book: Beau Sabreur

Pages: 336

Language: English

Publisher: Benediction Books (14 Jan. 2009)

By: Christopher Percival Wren(Author)

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Customer reviews:

  • By Guest on 12 April 2017

    This is an old paperback and as such is in good condition. I'm very satisfied with the book and the service.

  • By Barty Literati on 1 April 2010

    A REVIEW OF 'BEAU GESTE' by P.C. WREN'Beau Geste' has the unenviable status of being a book that people know of, but which fewer and fewer have actually read. Mention its name, and the typical response is, "Oh, that's about the French Foreign Legion." And that's about it.All of which is a shame, because 'Beau Geste' is a stylish and clever novel which merits far more attention than its one-dimensional, pub-quiz-friendly reputation would suggest. Part tale of the supposed supernatural, part mystery, part 'whodunnit', part autobiography, part romance and part war/adventure novel, 'Beau Geste' certainly ticks all of the boxes. Perhaps the book's growing obscurity is due to the fact that it is not old enough to fall under the title of a 'classic', but not new or fashionable enough to remain prominently in print.However, those who do hunt down a copy of 'Beau Geste' will not be disappointed. Opening with the eerie discovery of a French Foreign Legion fort being 'defended' by strategically-positioned dead soldiers, which then mysteriously and spontaneously combusts, the tale immediately takes us back to an English country home and the disappearance of a priceless sapphire. It's like jumping out of John Buchan's 'Prester John' straight into Agatha Christie's 'The Adventure of The Christmas Pudding'. Wren expertly interlinks the two opening sections so that the ending cleverly explains the beginning through the words of John Geste, one of three brothers who flee to North Africa, having claimed to have stolen the jewel.The opening chapters are excellent and genuinely engage the reader as we first encounter the 'haunted' fort from the perspective of its would-be liberators. Equally impressive is the description of the desert-warfare in the later passages which explains the high body count. However, it is as a first-person narrative of leaving England to join the French Foreign Legion that 'Beau Geste' arguably works best because of the writer's attention to detail which gives a real authenticity. P.C. Wren was a particularly private man, but his precise description of the customs and trappings of the legion leave the reader in little doubt that much of the story is based upon personal experience.However, not everything about 'Beau Geste' hits the spot. Following the theft of the sapphire and before the conflict at the fort, Wren rather overplays the dialogue scenes. Conversations seem to ramble onwards without developing the plot as the same points (about the possible thief and possible mutineers respectively) are repeated to an almost ponderous degree. Similarly, the final few chapters seem to take the story off in directions which distract the reader away from the key plot resolution. At times, the temptation to plump for one of the numerous abridged version of the novel might be felt strongly.Nevertheless, the actual finale is short, sharp and memorable, ensuring that the pages which follow the less-engaging extracts of the book compensate for the slowing of plot and pace. Talking of plot, this reviewer has deliberately avoided describing all but the skeleton of the story, a decision based upon respect for Wren's stylish unveiling of narrative and character.Thus, in 'Beau Geste' we have a very good book, indeed. Perhaps not a masterpiece, but a great read which rewards the reader's trust and patience, much like a thirst-quenching drink after a hard day's desert marching.Barty's Score: 8/10

  • By Barty Literati on 3 September 2010

    A REVIEW OF 'BEAU SABREUR' BY P.C. WRENHaving recently read (and thoroughly enjoyed) Percival Christopher Wren's most famous French Foreign Legion novel, 'Beau Geste' (1924), I urged a friend to read it. He, as did I, thought that it was a superb adventure/mystery story, but expressed disbelief belief when I informed him that it was part of a trilogy of novels. Indeed, so conclusive is the ending of 'Beau Geste', that the likelihood of a continuing story would seem as feasible as James Cameron announcing his intention to direct 'TITANIC II'.And yet, in 'Beau Sabreur' (1926), P.C. Wren achieved something most unusual - a surprisingly genuine sequel that offers both continuity and real change. Like 'Geste', 'Beau Sabreur' is divided into two distinct parts, entitled 'Failure' and 'Success'. Part One is essentially an exciting adventure story, plotting the exploits of Major Henri de Beaujolais (a key player in the original novel). The story chronicles de Beaujolais' early years in the Foreign Legion and paints a vivid portrait of a fighting force that is decidedly rough around the edges. In his descriptions of accommodation and facilities, Wren blends fact and humour to good effect. Likewise, the accounts of the fighting and bloodshed are at times quite brutally convincing.However, it is upon de Beaujolais' meeting the alluring Mary Vanbrugh and overseeing her rescue from an impending Jihad, that the plot truly unfolds. Having escaped from certain death, the major finds himself in a situation whereby he must choose between his duty and love of France and his growing attachment to Miss Vanbrugh. The story is told in the first person, and the dilemma is both credible and agonising. Fans of 'Beau Geste' will not be surprised to here that Part One of its sequel ends on a dramatic high.So far, Wren has treated us to a fast-paced, but arguably orthadox story of action and romance. Part Two is a very different animal, so much so, that it would be disrespectful of me to write much about it except to say that it greatly rewards the reader's perseverance and dovetails brilliantly with ' Beau Geste'.Perhaps the only minus that I can offer about 'Beau Sabreur' is that, given the scale of its revelations, it is not a book that would be easily read again when one knows what is coming. This might explain why it is now much harder to track down than the original which has remained in print.Nevertheless, for those approaching it afresh, 'Beau Sabreur' is a fabulous read, which offers a far more logical opening for another sequel. I have already highly recommended 'Beau Sabreur' to my afore-mentioned friend and have told him to expect a cracker. As for me, I'm busily on the hunt for a copy of the third book in the trilogy, 'Beau Ideal'... Ideal.Barty's Score: 9/10

  • By Guest on 11 May 2017

    Great trilogy with common thread

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