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Complete Brigadier Gerard (Canongate) Paperback – January 16, 2002


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Editorial Reviews

Review

"In its pages you will find adventure, action, romance, love and self-sacrifice, hair's-breadth escape and reckless courage, gallantry, panache and a droll, backhand humor that rivals that of P.G. Wodehouse. You will also find yourself, even more than with the celebrated stories of Holmes and Watson, in the hands of an indisputable artist. For more than any other adventure stories I know, these stories have a power to move the reader. . . . unjustly forgotten tales by a great master."  —Michael Chabon for NPR's You Must Read This



"The Brigadier Gerard stories display all the narrative gusto of Doyle's more famous Sherlock Holmes, together with an irresistible warmth and humour."  —Philip Pullman


"Of course I read every Sherlock Holmes story, but the works I like even more than the detective stories are his great historical stories."  —Winston Churchill
--This text refers to an alternate Paperback edition.

About the Author

Sir Arthur Conan Doyle (1859-1930) was born in Edinburgh. Educated by the Jesuits at Stonyhurst, Doyle entered the medical school at Edinburgh University in 1876, working as a doctor's assistant at times to help pay the fees. He graduated in 1881 and, after Greenland and African voyages as a ship's doctor, went into practice at Southsea, Portsmouth. Conan Doyle had started to write while he was a medical student, and at twenty he had a story published in Chamber's journal. Sherlock Holmes first appeared in A Study in Scarlet (1887), and from 1891 he featured regularly in stories for the Strand Magazine. To replace Holmes, Conan Doyle created Etienne Gerard, a young French cavalry officer from the time of the Napoleonic Wars, whose memoirs were collected as The Exploits of Brigadier Gerard (1896) and its sequel, Adventures of Gerard. Knighted n 1902, Conan Doyle produced more than 60 books in the course of his career, including songs, poetry and historical fiction in the spirit of Scott. But his greatest literary achievement lay in his short stories, unrivalled in the mingling of character, action and atmosphere, whether Holmesian or Gerardine. --This text refers to an alternate Paperback edition.
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Product Details

  • Series: Canongate
  • Paperback: 400 pages
  • Publisher: Canongate U.S.; Reprint edition (January 16, 2002)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0862415349
  • ISBN-13: 978-0862415341
  • Product Dimensions: 7.7 x 5 x 1 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 12 ounces
  • Average Customer Review: 4.8 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (12 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #3,865,676 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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Customer Reviews

4.8 out of 5 stars
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See all 12 customer reviews
I almost cried when the book ended, as I felt like I had lost a good friend.
David Ross
If you are a fan of Sir Arthur Conan Doyle's Sherlock, then you will be every bit as entertained by Gerard.
Lisa K. Wiggs
These collected tales vary in quality, but most of them are vivid, exciting and very humourous.
Peter Drake

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

28 of 28 people found the following review helpful By Jeffrey R. Bednar on October 11, 2000
Format: Paperback
How Sir Arthur Conan Doyle can write a character that is irritatingly arrogant yet, charmingly loyal and naive is beyond me. The depth of Gerard's character rivals even the great Sherlock Holmes. Just as with his more famous counterpart(Holmes), Gerard is not just a hero(although there can be no questioning his bravery),he can also be a clown,(without ever realizing it)a ladies man, the greatest swordsman in the Grande' Armee(or at least so he tells us). With exciting short stories we venture through Gerard's career as a cavalry officer. He quite often bumbles his way into situations an officer of his rank should never allow himself into yet, it is these situations once gotten out of(after much daring and a little bit of luck)that build not only his career but, the readers passion for his character. These stories are an excellent companion to the more famous Sherlock Holmes stories. Where have all the writers with skills like Doyle's gone?
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14 of 14 people found the following review helpful By Paul McGrath on April 30, 2000
Format: Paperback
Everybody knows about Arthur Conan Doyle and his famous Sherlock Holmes stories, but I suspect a lot of people don't know that he was also an outstanding writer of historical fiction. Sir Nigel and The White Company are two examples that come immediately to mind. Both are superb novels about English knights and soldiers in the 13th and 14th centuries. And this one, Brigadier Gerard, is a collection of stories written in the first person by a fictional French cavalry officer during the Napoleanic wars.

If you're looking for a historical overview of Napoleon's achievements, this is not the place for it. What you do get, though, is a series of singular adventures which take place in the villages, cafes, forests and fields of the Europe visited by invading French armies. There is Gerard's trip of revenge to the "Castle of Gloom" in Austria. His ear is chopped off in a Venetian dungeon. He is captured by guerrillas in Portugal, and manages to escape from a hideous death. He is double-crossed by a beautiful vixen in Germany. There is his murderous midnight meeting with Napoleon. And yes, he is present at Waterloo, but spends the battle in the second-floor loft of an inn, after the first floor is commandeered by enemy wounded.

The book is loaded with interesting tidbits of military folklore. He recognizes a ford in the river, for example, by noticing the placement of two buildings on either side of it. Here is his comment on travelling through enemy territory: "I should not have feared to ride by the road through the wood, for I have learned in Spain that the safest time to pass through a guerrilla country is after an outrage."

And Gerard himself is as enjoyable a character as we could wish for in relating these tales.
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10 of 10 people found the following review helpful By Boris Zubry on September 18, 2002
Format: Paperback
This work of Sir Conan Doyle clearly shows that detective stories did not limit his interests. An excellent adventure and a well written one. What else do we need in a good book? This is very solid five stars.
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8 of 8 people found the following review helpful By Peter Drake on May 8, 2000
Format: Paperback
Perhaps the most entertaining and funny of all Sir Arthur Conan Doyle's creations is Brigadier Gerard, hussar in the Napoleonic armies of France. Confident and brash but very foolish, he is the epitome of chivalry and adventure.
These collected tales vary in quality, but most of them are vivid, exciting and very humourous. They are packed full of incident and memorable characters - none more so than Gerard himself - and are a marvellous evocation of that period of European history.
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13 of 15 people found the following review helpful By Lisa K. Wiggs on April 15, 2004
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
Well now, I know you have been here: You have found a book that is so delightful that you just cannot bear to put it down. I know that we all have experienced this. But folks, I will tell you in all honesty that I became quite ridiculously attached to this book to its final page. I brought it to work to be my next " On my break read.." but found that the first night I drove home after having left it in my locker ( as is my custom ) I felt compelled to return to work and fetch it. Thanks goodness I live about 3 miles from my workplace! Well, certainly many of us carry books with us to stores and such so that we have something to read when we are caught in the "express" lane ( ! ) and this became another one of those.
But I found myself reading it at stop lights and becoming irritated when the light changed before I had a chance to really GET anywhere...Now I never in my wildest dreams imagined that I would like this character Gerard as much as I do, given that, in my mind, he stood in Sherlock's shadow, but I have become quite smitten with him! I fancied myself a Doyle fan, but had never read this series, as I was too enraptured by the mysteries and dectective stories. How sad that I waited so long to try these wonderful stories! No doubt that some of you ladies out there might be thinking that a series of stories about a soldier in Napoleon's army might be as interesting as televised fishing, or that they would only appeal to a man, but nay! Not so! If you are a fan of Sir Arthur Conan Doyle's Sherlock, then you will be every bit as entertained by Gerard. Doyle's style is no different, it is just as voluptuous. Only his main character has changed. He is an entirely different sort of fellow from our man Sherlock, but no less exciting in his own way...Very much like...
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