The Brethren (1977): Robert Merle

Fortunes of France: Book I

First published in 1977, The Brethren was followed by a whole series of novels which trace the fortunes of the de Siorac family in late 16th-century France. The French editions have been tremendously successful and Pushkin published this English translation of the first volume earlier this summer. I was delighted to be invited to review it, partly because it was compared to Dumas and Dunnett, but primarily because the blurb included the word ‘swashbuckling’ and that was too much to resist. There hasn’t been enough swashbuckling around here recently. This must be rectified.

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