Thanks to the generosity of the lovely folk at Pushkin Press, I have five copies of Fortunes of France: The Brethren by Robert Merle to give away. This is the first volume in a French historical adventure series, set in France during England’s Tudor period. The series has sold more than 5 million copies worldwide, and this is its first translation into English. Merle has been compared to Alexandre Dumas, and the series to the Flashman books and Game of Thrones.
This giveaway is now closed.
The Perigord of sixteenth-century France is a wild region on the edge of the reaches of royal authority-its steep, forested valleys roamed by bands of brigands and gypsies, its communities divided by conflict between Catholics and converts to the new Protestant faith, the Huguenots.
To this beautiful but dangerous country come two veterans of the French king’s wars, Jean de Siorac and Jean de Sauveterre, The Brethren-as fiercely loyal to the crown as they are to their Huguenot religion. They make their home in the formidable chateau of Mespech, and the community they found prospers, but they are far from secure-religious civil war looms on the horizon, famine and plague stalk the land, and The Brethren must use all their wits to protect those they love from the chaos that threatens to sweep them away.
The Brethren is the first volume in the epic historical drama Fortunes of France-a lusty, exhilarating blend of adventure and romance set against the backdrop of a critical period in European history.
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A note from the Editor…
When Robert Merle published The Brethren in 1977, he had no idea
it would form the first volume in a series that would take him 26
years to complete, covering more than a century of French history,
and becoming a much-loved classic. Originally conceived as a
stand-alone novel, the book’s huge popularity (it sold more than a
million copies) prompted Merle to write a sequel, and then a sequel
to the sequel… and so on until the thirteenth and final volume was
completed in 2003.
Robert Merle worked for many years as an English teacher, and
adored English literature, the influence of which is everywhere in his
work. His colourful characters owe much to Dickens, while Thackeray’s
The History of Henry Osmond originally inspired Merle to try his hand
at a historical adventure. He even declared of Shakespeare: “For
me, he is God!”
And at last, his epic Fortunes of France, such a brilliant addition
to the historical fiction genre, has arrived in English. And what a
series it is! It has all the dash of Flashman, all the grit of Sharpe,
all the swagger of The Three Musketeers combined with historical and
philosophical insight worthy of The Name of the Rose.
This sample chapter will give a taste of the first book’s rich,
earthy flavour. It’s told from the perspective of Pierre de Siorac, son
of Jean de Siorac, one of the two Brethren of the title. Pierre is the
charmingly impetuous narrator of the first six volumes of Fortunes of
France, after which… But that can wait for another time!
To read The Brethren is to take the first step on a long, fascinating
and adventure-filled journey—one I’m sure many readers are going to
be taking over the coming years. They certainly have a treat in store.
Editor, Pushkin Press
Read the sample chapter here: The Brethren – Sampler Chapter