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The French Executioner Paperback – October 3, 2002

3.9 out of 5 stars 26 customer reviews

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Editorial Reviews

Review

"This unusual tale conjures visions of an Errol Flynn-type Hollywood swashbuckler...the tale's well-told, engagingly written, and includes a colorful immersion into a time when life was cheap and danger or death literally waited around every corner. A gory but fascinating...look at the world in the early 16th century. " - Kirkus

"Set against the backdrop of the Protestant Reformation, his superbloody Princess Bride-like adventure is, at its heart, a tale of redemption, well earned and hard-won." - Library Journal

"I still wasn't expecting such a far fetched, rich, magical adventure that I discovered. This isn't a negative remark in any sense as many love the art of fantasy fiction and it is brilliant to take such a well known chunk of history (Queen Anne and her beheading) and then not just focus on that, but focus on another one of her body parts and the man that removed it (as well as her head)." - The Reading Cafe

"Humphreys (Jack Absolute) breathes life into 16th century Europe with this fascinating tale of adventure and mystery...Humphreys's characters are well drawn and deeply empathetic, and Rombaud's mission remains entertaining throughout. " - Publishers Weekly

"An amusing Three Muskateers-esque historical fiction mashup by C.C. Humphreys, who makes the story work using his graceful prose. " - MJ's Book Reviews

"The menagerie of characters are truly wonderful and astonishing... a very wild ride indeed!!" - Reecaspieces

"Humphreys does write in a way that draws you into the story.I did appreciate the twist on Tudor history – I do love looking at the old and turning it upside down." - Broken Teepee

"It's a somewhat of a tamer Game of Thrones meets Robin Hood's Merry Men with a touch of musketeers and Cyrano de Bergerac." - Zee Monodee

"C. C. Humphreys never disappoints. His tales are always full of great characters and tons of action. He is a storyteller who sweeps the reader up and takes them on a magical ride...This is absolutely one of my favorite books of 2014. This book is recommended for readers of fantasy and those who enjoy historical action literature. " - Booksie's Blog

"If you like your history spiked with a dash of derring do, this may be the book for you. Nearly 400 pages and covering several locations, it's sure to keep you entertained. The author is an accomplished actor, writer, swordsman, and fight choreographer, so you can expect quality action. " - Literary Litter

"This book has it all. Fast paced and entertaining, I almost couldn't put it down. I loved all the characters, but especially loved Haakon. This is a great book! Very highly recommended!" - The Musings of a Book Junkie

"I liked this book and not just because Humphreys re-imagined Anne's execution as a beginning rather than an end. I think his characterization of Jean Rombaud inspired and I found the intrigue he created around her famous appendage intensely provocative." - Flashlight Commentary

"I really enjoyed this story and highly recommend it. The writing and the story line were engaging. I thought Humphreys was able to capture many different elements of this time period that were not written about before. It was an enjoyable read! " - Book Nerd

"This book is a roller coaster ride of intense action woven throughout a beautifully written story with just enough fact to keep you riveted to the pages until the very end. Once you start reading, you won't want to put it down. Highly recommended. " - Game Vortex --This text refers to an alternate Paperback edition.

About the Author

C.C. Humphreys was born in Toronto and grew up in Los Angeles and London. A third generation actor and writer on both sides of his family, he is married and lives on Salt Spring Island, Canada. www.cchumphreys.com
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Product Details

  • Paperback: 464 pages
  • Publisher: Orion (an Imprint of The Orion Publishing Group Ltd ) (October 3, 2002)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0752848305
  • ISBN-13: 978-0752848303
  • Product Dimensions: 5.3 x 1.3 x 7.8 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 9.1 ounces
  • Average Customer Review: 3.9 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (26 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #3,008,562 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Customer Reviews

Top Customer Reviews

By Larry VINE VOICE on March 2, 2004
Format: Loose Leaf
It is the intention of C.C. Humphreys to write more of an adventure novel filled with "swashbuckling and derring-do" rather than a true historical novel. There is, nonetheless, much research that went into this epic work. However, the sheer size of the book weighs down the excessively lengthy plot.
In 1536, Anne Boleyn, wife of Henry VIII, is to be beheaded. The King brings over from France a renowned executioner to do the job properly. Jean Rombard is the executioner. Anne, just prior to the execution asks one favor of Jean-- that her hand (the one with six fingers) is buried at a sacred crossroad in France. Jean agrees but an eyewitness, Archbishop Giancarlo Ciba, sees him cut off the hand and arranges that Jean be robbed and left for dead. Jean, remembering his oath to Anne, is determined to get back the hand and bury it at the sacred location. The rest of the book concerns his quest to fulfill that promise.
C.C. Humphreys admirably attempts to write a novel reminiscent of THE THREE MUSKETEERS. However, in spite of his attempt to concentrate more on the entertaining side of the story, he seems to get bogged down in the historical detail. There are many parts of the book that will remain with the reader long after the book is closed-- such as the humanity and tragedy of Anne Boleyn's execution or the scenes aboard a warship in which the main characters are slaves relegated to rowing. The plot is multifaceted and quite complex. Yet, the story does not move smoothly enough through the many pages. The end result is a book that is overall difficult to read yet filled with impressively written episodes. It is, nonetheless, an original work.
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Jean Rombaud was a French executioner known for his ability to quickly wield his sword to decapitate those convicted of crimes. Henry VIII had him brought to London to behead Anne Boleyn, his second wife so he could take a third wife. Anne is only portrayed in the very early part of the novel. Jean and Anne talk about her execution prior to the act itself. Anne asks him to cut off her six-fingered hand and bury it at a site in Lyon, France with which both are familiar. The rest of the book involves Jean's adventures and misadventures as he tries to carry out her wish.

I read a lot of historical fiction and this book is very different from others that I've read from the Tudor period. In fact it is different from most historical fiction that I have read. It reads more like an adventure story. I think it might make a good movie. It also has some doses of fantasy or magic. In addition, there are some parts that are humorous. I sometimes like adventure movies, but I seldom like books with adventure. I tire of chases and sword fights and good guys being captured by bad guys. This book was not a page turner for me. I just wanted to get through the parts I didn't like. If my book club hadn't voted to read it, I'd probably have put it down and started something else. If you like reading about such adventures, this book may be for you. I thought the fantasy parts seemed strange for a book that was supposed to be historical fiction, but I actually liked those parts. I also liked the humor. Should this book be made into a movie, I'll go see it.
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Format: Paperback
`' Bury my six fingered hand...'' When the accursed second wife of Henry The Eighth spoke those words to her executioner Jean Rombaud, the Frenchman solemnly pledged that he would fulfill this royal request. Soon after he embarks on his quest, Jean finds himself locked in a gibbet cage while the Archbishop of Siena, Giancarlo Cibo and his trusted guard, Heinrich Von Solingen rides off with the Queen's hand. The gibbet keeper releases him with the promise that he would be Jean's partner in the expedition.. Along the way, Jean and Fugger are joined by a loyal and devoted Norseman, a stone throwing Beck whose secret identity would only be revealed when romance creeps in for the widowed Jean and the pleasant Muslim mercenary, Januc.. Their journey takes them to a life of slaves in the galley, a heart pounding escape through the public square in Siena in the middle of the chaotic Palio, to a village infested with St Antony's fire, to the midst of holy war in a German town, and culminates at a crossroads in Pont St Just, near Tours - as Jean Rombaud faces the man who stole not only from him, but from the revered and dead Queen of England. A thunderous and action- rich novel, Hollywood producers should take a look at this fine work of drama adventure and consider turning it into a movie- it would surely give blockbuster hits such as Kingdom of Heaven and Braveheart a run for their money. Author's prose was easy and smooth, allowing readers to enjoy each and every word like a sip of dark black coffee running through a red, sore throat. The descriptions of events were so vividly detailed that one is able to envision it in front of one's very eyes - every single act, every single spoken word, each flicker of the eye, the arc of a scimitar sword, the sharp heavy blade gliding through a neck- it is all opulently depicted that no disgruntled reader would turn the last page in frustration. - Suhainah Wahiduddin -
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Format: Paperback
4 out of 5 for this reader folks!

WELL .... that was quite different from what I expected and what I have ever read before. When I read the synopsis I figured out that this was not going to be a traditional "Tudor" historical fiction, but I still wasn't expecting such a far fetched, rich, magical adventure that I discovered. This isn't a negative remark in any sense as many love the art of fantasy fiction and it is brilliant to take such a well known chunk of history (Queen Anne and her beheading) and then not just focus on that, but focus on another one of her body parts and the man that removed it (as well as her head).

"The French Executioner" by C.C. Humphreys is about Jean Rombaud who was the french man with the expert sword that ending the famous Queen's life. Before the task was completed, Anne made Jean promise to take her six fingered hand and bury it at a certain place at a certain time as it's now a relic. Once the beheading is complete, Jean begins his journey by having the relic stolen from underneath him. Now facing the task of recovery and full filling a promise, Jean takes us on quite the adventure. We are taken to place after place, experience fight after fight and understand why Jean is so motivated to make this vow a reality. He comes from such sad circumstances and you get the sense that if he can keep this promise he has redeemed himself some what.

Will not share any more than that about the story. While I may have thought I was going to get another historical fiction of the Tudor dynasty, I was pleasantly surprised that instead, I indulged in a medieval fantasy plot. I mean who has ever read anything about the man that beheaded the infamous Queen of England?
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