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The Last Cavalier: Being the Adventures of Count Sainte-Hermine in the Age of Napoleon [Kindle Edition]

Alexandre Dumas , Lauren Yoder
3.6 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (19 customer reviews)

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Book Description

The first-ever publication in English of the newly discovered last novel by the author of The Three Musketeers
Selected as a top-five novel of the year by The Washington Post
Rousing, big, spirited, its action sweeping across oceans and continents, its hero gloriously indomitable, the last novel of Alexandre Dumas—lost for 125 years in the archives of the National Library in Paris—completes the oeuvre that Dumas imagined at the outset of his literary career.
Indeed, the story of France from the Renaissance to the nineteenth century, as Dumas vibrantly retold it in his enormously popular novels, has long been absent one vital, richly historical era: the Age of Napoleon. But no longer. Now, dynamically, in a tale of family honor and undying vengeance, of high adventure and heroic derring-do, The Last Cavalier represents Dumas’ final literary achievement.

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Editorial Reviews

From Publishers Weekly

Starred Review. This first English translation of the last, previously unknown novel by Dumas (1802–1870) offers a stunning completion to his fictional mapping of French history. The plot centers on Compte Hector de Sainte Hermine, a royalist captured and imprisoned by Bonaparte. Part one finds him caught in the political intrigue of 1801–1804, as Napoleon moves from first consul to emperor. In part two, Hector, now known as René, is released from jail; he signs onto a French corsair as a common seaman, but his noble birth, superb education and martial abilities soon elevate him in rank. The next 300 pages slosh with swashbuckling sea adventure, casting heroic romance against the background of Napoleon's ultimate fall. It's Dumas at his best, but alloyed: asides; minibiographies; commentaries on fashion, manners, geography and history; and flashbacks pile up unendingly, leavened with farcical humor and witty punditry. Although it lacks the polish of The Three Musketeers and the concision of The Count of Monte Cristo, this capacious, rambling, unfinished account of the Napoleonic era represents vintage Dumas and an intensely personal vision of the time. (Nov.)
Copyright © Reed Business Information, a division of Reed Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved.

From The New Yorker

This long-lost novel by the nineteenth-century master of the swashbuckler was discovered in decidedly twentieth-century fashion, on microfilm in the National Library in Paris. A breathless seven hundred and fifty pages, the unfinished manuscript nominally concerns a young velvet-suited nobleman "whose pallor bespoke a strange destiny": to redeem his family’s Royalist past, he must serve as a common sailor on a corsair. But Dumas seems only intermittently interested in his hero, lingering instead on Napoleon, still an emperor-in-waiting, bemoaning his marriage to spendthrift Josephine ("I shall keep divorce legal in France, if only so I can leave that woman"). Amid stagecoach heists, assassination attempts, and the occasional tiger hunt, sudden details gleam: a condemned aristocrat requests the services of a barber en route to the scaffold; a lovelorn girl conspires to commit suicide by snakebite.
Copyright © 2007 Click here to subscribe to The New Yorker

Product Details

  • File Size: 1485 KB
  • Print Length: 820 pages
  • Page Numbers Source ISBN: 1605980005
  • Publisher: Pegasus Books (April 12, 2011)
  • Sold by: Amazon Digital Services, Inc.
  • Language: English
  • Text-to-Speech: Enabled
  • X-Ray:
  • Lending: Enabled
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #157,116 Paid in Kindle Store (See Top 100 Paid in Kindle Store)
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Customer Reviews

Most Helpful Customer Reviews
29 of 32 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Read only after Dumas' other Works November 6, 2007
Format:Hardcover|Verified Purchase
If you have read my reivews of Dumas' other works, you will see that I have said in the past that "Dumas never disappoints". However, I think that this book comes as close to that as ever. Although I say that, I still give the book 4 stars because I just like how Dumas writes. However, there is no question in my mind that his other works are much better. I will list them in order of my preference: 1) The Count of Monte Cristo; 2) The Three Musketeers; 3) 20 Years After; 4) The Knight of Maison Rouge; 5) Le Reine Margot; 6)The Vicomte de Bragelonne. I have not read the Black Tulip or the other 2 Musketeers books.

This book does have its good points. The history of the Count's family is very good. The wedding scene is also very good. The fencing parts of the stories are good. The history of the times is good but it takes a long time to get through. The part of the story in Burma is also a long part that has nothing to do with Nepolean. It was a little slow during these times. The other problem with the book is that it was not finished at the time of Dumas' death. However, that did not take too much away from the book. I also found that there was nothing that the Court could not do. He tries to get himself killed on many occasions so he can die an honorable death but only comes out smelling like a rose. It is as if he is super-human - which is fine for a little bit but not the whole story.

Overall, I was glad that I read it but I would rather have taken the time to read his other works first. If you have not read Dumas then you are really missing out on a great writer. If you have not read him and want to start, begin with his other works. I would suggest the unabridged version of the Count of Monte Cristo. It is long but well worth the read.
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21 of 23 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Difficult to slog through. Unlike all other Dumas. January 22, 2008
If you're a Dumas fanatic like me, you'll probably want to read this book just for closure, regardless of what I say! But I'll write a review anyway. The problem with a novel like this is that I don't know what flaws are attributable to Dumas and the possibility that he was slipping, or cutting corners, as he got older, and what's attributable to the person who finished writing the novel.

It could have been much better if it were written as two separate volumes: one, the general history of the Napoleonic era which is presented in the book, and the other, the history of the Comte de Sainte-Hermine. So much of this very large book has nothing at all to do with the titular character. In fact we are well into the book before the man ever shows up. Then in a chaperoned tete-a-tete with the woman he loves, he divulges the entire history of the Sainte-Hermine family to date. (So we don't learn about his previous history as it's happening, as with Edmond Dantes in "The Count of Monte Cristo"; we're simply given several pages of Sainte-Hermine hitting the highlights for his intended. They become engaged, and at the betrothal dinner he mysteriously vanishes before signing the wedding contract.

Then we have another huge section about Napoleon, the Royalist rebels, etc. A very long section! It was a very GOOD section but I'd totally forgotten about Sainte-Hermine when suddenly we learn he is in prison and begging Fouche to execute him rather than keep him a prisoner. This brief scene takes a few pages...then it's back to a whole big, big section about Napoleon and his troubles. It made me wonder why this book was titled after Sainte-Hermine, since up to about the midpoint of the book, he's a completely minor character...almost a glorified extra.
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13 of 14 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Dumas' Last Stand July 17, 2008
I haven't read Alexandre Dumas since I was a teen (a long time ago), but I remember "The Three Musketeers" and "The Count of Monte Cristo" quite well. Then again, what I remember best may be the movie versions I watched again and again as a kid. When I saw that a "lost" novel had been published for the first time, I thought it was time to revisit Dumas' work. I'm glad that I did.

As a finished unfinished novel, "The Last Cavalier" is fair and worth three "stars." It was originally published as a newspaper serial and Dumas never had the chance to re-edit/rewrite it for book publication as he did his other works. Dumas was paid by the word, and there are thousands here that would surely have been cut. The titular hero, Hector (René, Comte Leo) de Sainte-Hermine, is over the top invincible and incomparable. He has no flaws (in a Doc Savage, pulp fiction, sort of way), so it's hard to identify with him; and Dumas interrupts Hector's story too often with what's happening elsewhere in history. Did I mention he was paid by the word? Still, Hector's panache and romp through Napoleonic history is a tour de force worth reading. Characters like George Cadoudal, the corsair (privateer) Surcouf, Napoleon, Nelson at Trafalgar, and Minister of Police Fouché come alive with idiosyncrasies and feats of personal codes of honor to delight any swashbuckling fan.

For me, as a writer, what was even more fascinating was the book's preface by Claude Schopp, who found and reconstructed the novel. In it, Dumas is quoted as saying that he is "more a novelizing historian than a historical novelist." In this light, I look at the book as more of a history than a novel and am interested in re-exploring Dumas' other books from that perspective.
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Most Recent Customer Reviews
5.0 out of 5 stars Excellent condition.
Book arrived in excellent condition. Have not read it yet so do not know about the interior condition, although it appears to be A OK.
Published 5 months ago by Alan W Hurlbut
3.0 out of 5 stars Long, Meandering
I know editing on a book wasn't done as it is today back then, but honestly the book needed to have a hundred pages or more cut out. Read more
Published 9 months ago by Tom
5.0 out of 5 stars The Last Cavalier
I love everyone by Alexander Dumas and this is another one of his great stories. Buy it , you will love it
Published 16 months ago by teresa A. guarnera
5.0 out of 5 stars Perfect
It came in better shape than I expected. Was basically brand new, shipped the next day, and I am very satisfied.
Published 17 months ago by Kate L. Mills
2.0 out of 5 stars Exciting but Over-Hyped
The story about how this long-lost Dumas novel was discovered as an unfinished manuscript is perhaps more interesting than the book itself. Read more
Published 23 months ago by Fedya Dolokhov
2.0 out of 5 stars Overrated at Three Stars
I don't agree with, or even understand, the four- and five-star ratings given this book. It would be unfair to expect all of Dumas's books to be classics, but I have read at least... Read more
Published on November 26, 2011 by epicswisdomandlies
2.0 out of 5 stars Very dissatisfied
I enjoyed reading many of Dumas' other works, and, though a really long side track, even enjoyed the Napoleon-Royalists section, but the part dealing with Hector/Rene was... Read more
Published on January 17, 2011 by Bryan McGucken
3.0 out of 5 stars I won't waste words
I love his books most notably the count of monte cristo. If you want a great fiction based in historical reality chose that one. Read more
Published on November 4, 2009 by Stephen Burns
3.0 out of 5 stars I Miss Roland De Montrevel
This book was a very fair book and it had some unforgetable scenes and thanks to them I was reluctant to relinquish reading even to sleep but in some places the story was weak and... Read more
Published on May 3, 2009 by Aynsleigh Hollywood
3.0 out of 5 stars Who is the last Cavalier?
My father is intrigued with Alexandre Dumas and his writing style. He searched and searched for this book at a warehouse store but had no success. Read more
Published on September 3, 2008 by Elizabeth M. Brown
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