The last cavalier is Count de Sainte-Hermine, Hector, whose elder brothers and father have fought and died for the Royalist cause during the French Revolution. For three years Hector has been languishing in prison when, in 1804, on the eve of Napoleon's coronation as emperor of France, he learns what is to be his due. Stripped of his title, denied the honour of his family name as well as the hand of the woman he loves, he is freed by Napoleon on the condition that he serve in the imperial forces. So it is in profound despair that Hector embarks on a succession of daring escapades as he courts death fearlessly. Yet again and again he wins glory, against brigands, bandits, the British, boa constrictors, sharks, tigers and crocodiles. At the Battle of Trafalgar, it is Hector's bullet that fells Nelson. But however far his adventures take him, from Burma's jungles to the wilds of Ireland, his destiny lies always with his father's enemy, Napoleon.
(P)2009 Blackstone Audio, Inc.
It is rousing, big spirited, its action sweeping across oceans and continents, its hero gloriously indomitable. This newly discovered last novel of Alexandre Dumas, lost for 125 years in the archives of the National Library in Paris, completes the Dumas oeuvre.
"Absolutely wonderful....Alexandre Dumas remains, now as ever, the Napoleon of storytellers." - (Washington Post)
"James Bond, Indiana Jones, and many others owe a deep debt to Dumas, who stuffs his tales with thrilling exploits and exotic locales. No one with a pulse will be able to resist Dumas's lost classic." (Christian Science Monitor)
What is it about many 19th century novelists that they could write such gripping and well researched historical novels? The fascinating thing about this recently rediscovered novel of Alexandre Dumas set in the Napoleonic period, is its attention to historical detail and every chapter gives insights into the political and social tensions of that turbulent period. An excellent history lesson and a great story-line superbly narrated by Simon Prebble. And what a brilliant touch of Dumas to portray the hero as the french-man responsible for killing Nelson at the Battle of Trafalgar. Pity that Dumas died without completing the novel, but even without an end worth every one of the 35+ hours in the car spent listening. This audio-book has motivated me to now go back and listen to the other Dumas novels that I first encountered as a teenager nearly 60 years ago.
My warning is: This book begins with about a two hour and fifteen minute introduction in which the author justifies the historical accuracy of his writings and especially in defense of The Last Cavalier. During this portion many aspects of the story will be shared before hand and for those who want a surprise you may want to skip the introduction. They do attempt to warn you about the disclosure, but do not give you any indication of how long it takes to skip it. Also, due to the fact that in many instances the author is reading from letters dealing with the story, it is not always obvious when the introduction ends and the novel begin.
Additionally, this novel is not finished by Alexandre Dumas because he dies before it is completed. The ending of the novel is continued by another writer who, in my opinion, does an excellent job of wrapping up the story. The narrator is very good and the story line is an action packed Dumas tale, in character with his previous works.
While this audio book doesn't have the je ne sais quoi of Dumas's well known masterpieces, it is nonetheless a rich story, full of the familiar style and substance that I find absolutely captivating. The story is complex (perhaps a little contrived), but entertaining and easy to get drawn in to. Dumas steps outside Europe here, as his protaganist sails into the Indian Ocean in seach of adventure and reward, then back headlong into Italian intrigue and banditry, all in the name of pennance and honour.
The reading was excellent, well paced with good characterisations and easy to listen to. It's quire long, and as Dumas wasn't able to complete the project himself, it has been finished off faithfully and without any real change in style.
I rate it 4 stars.It doesn't compare with The 3 Musketeers or The Count of Monte Cristo, but it does not embarass them either. Recommended.
Love having someone read me a story. Fires in the hearth, rain on the roof, sunny days and surf. Good friends, good food and J S Bach.
A bit of a 'Boys Own' adventure.(lots of adventures with swords and pistols).
Highwaymen and Corsairs (pirates) along with heroic and grizzly accounts of heads chopped off and people hung as Napoleon strides the European Stage make for an interesting life.
It really did not suffer for being unfinished as Dumas had recorded the plot.
I liked the pirate bits the best.
Simon Prebble read well.
Unless you really must read the last unfinisged novel, or you like old fashioned adventure stories, I think there are better Dumas to capture your imagination.
If you are a fan of Dumas or just a fan of history this book is a must have. This epic novel will pull you directly into the Napoleonic era, with countless first hand historical references. Follow René, from personal conversations with Bonaparte himself, into the smoky haze of the Battle of Trafalgar face to face with Nelson and just about everywhere else in the colonial French empire. This is swashbuckling at it's very finest told in the elegant, detailed style unique to Dumas. The breadth of history covered is staggering. The true shame is that Dumas did not get to finish this epic masterpiece.
Although I did enjoy this book, at time it reminded me too much of Louise de La Vallière in that it went too far with unnecessary and irrelevant details. The ending was also too abrupt, but I guess it was adequate. What can I say, I'm a Dumas addict and will read anything they say he wrote. It was enjoyable and the main character, Victor/Rene/Leo was as complex and interesting as Edmund Dantes (That is when the story didn't spend too much time on Napoleon or Nelson). All in all if you are also a Dumas fan, I think you'll enjoy this book
Catching, Distracted, bittersweet
Great adventure on land and sea!
The death of the cousin that loved him so much. I hated her for being so week that the loss of him would kill her. I hated him to be willing to let her die because of him.
Listening was much more enjoyable than reading. It took me months to find the time to read the book and now listening to it as I drive is much better.
I cannot recommend this book highly enough. and whether in print or by audible the reader will find a complicated, joyful, soul-searing, ironic and mischievous plot. The vocabulary will leave you weak in the knees and you will see the characters in your mind's eye long past the last page. Our deareset Dumas does not fail even in his last efforts. I found the introduction though exceptionally long, of critical import and interest and i was much informed by it, making the whole read that much more enjoyable. Brava for the reading performance, it is the best I've heard.
I wish an ending had been invented. appreciated the interesting story line though. I really wanted the love interest to find happiness in the end. I'd rather Dumas had done more with that and a lot less of Napoleon.... who is a very unsympathetic character and a quite unlikable.
"Excellent story, beautifully narrated."
It's certainly one of the best, most particularly in terms of the wonderful, truly wonderful, narration. I have not listened to anything by Simon Prebble before but I definitely will again, he is a master at fully understanding the text and interpreting it with the author's intended humor, satire and depth of vision.
I always like Dumas's somewhat fantastical figures. I loved the Count of Monte Cristo for his equally ridiculous talents and this is really no different but the story here is different indeed. The accuracy of the historical context is perfect and wonderfully rendered into a fascinating account of not only Napoleon but also Nelson and all the minor characters around them.
This is the 'missing piece' from Dumas's work and you'll find he features his own father (in real life, his real father!) in a minor role in this book.
If you love this period of history, the Napoleonic wars and the increasing madness (or, some might say, megalomania) of Napoleon, then you will LOVE this.
No but I certainly shall again. He was quite wonderful, lovely characterizations, never sounds bored in what is, after all, a very long tome and he delivers the speeches with exactly the right amount of pathos and/or quietude without ever resorting to caricature.
A truly marvellous performance.
Not especially but then I have read War and Peace which is perhaps the greatest book ever written about this period and THAT did make me cry. However, I WAS very sad when this book ended and tried to ration out the final few hours so it did not end too soon as Simon Prebble's beautiful narration had made all the characters sympathetic and one was left wanting to know 'what happened next' to them all.
Just BUY IT! It's fantastic and I shall definitely listen to it again as it time well invested.
"one of dumas greats"
This book is just great adventure history love and more the character's are so well done most the ones who are taken from history are done so well he writes them in a way that's help you form an opinion vast on what you read not what The history books tell and the back ground information on the events and places you see in book is great.
The only thing wrong with this is that there was no end! But I appreciate that an attempt was not made, a lovely story and a great narration
Equally as good as D'Artagnion series. Enjoyed battle of Trafalgar from French perspective, and section in Burma.
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