et’s just get this out front – I like Rafael Sabatini. I’ve reviewed Scaramouche, The Shame of Motley, and The Marquis of Carabas. I haven’t done Captain Blood but I’ve read it twice and could review it cold. I’ve liked them all.
But The Trampling of the Lilies? I’m going to have to luke-warm this one.
I figured it was shaping up to the usual Sabatini fare – low-born clerk loves nobleman’s daughter. He professes his love. Then he gets a horse whip across the face. He then takes a shot at the nobleman who’d slashed him and ends up getting beaten to death.
But not really, becuase it’s close but he’s still breathing. And while the nobleman’s daughter spots this and asks that she arrange for his burial, she dosn’t love him. But, yeah, she does. You know she does.
So what a lousy start for our hero, poor Charlot La Boulaye. If ever there was a hero created for the French Revolution, it is he. And lucky for him, it’s kicking off shortly.
When we come back to the action four years later, La Boulaye is a high official in the Republic, tasked with carrying out missions for the unwashed masses and netting nobles for the Guillotine. Through a series of lucky breaks, he runs into Suzanne de Bellecour again (to end up clouted into the mud with a pistol butt, poor Charlot!). But then the novel get’s tricky.
See, he has captured her husband to be. And he uses her fiancée’s life as a bargening chip to force Mademoiselle de Bellecour to return. And that’s… cadish. And in usual Sabatini style, we end up at an impass, with La Boulaye bungling an excape plan for the trio and the couple finding themselves in the shadow of the Guillotine. Oh dear! Yet he won’t confess the whereabouts of his oppoenent, the sneering husband-to-be. What will happen?
What happens is a disappointment. I didn’t realize that the end was coming (damn eReaders – with all the Project Gutenberg legalese at the end, you still think you’ve got a chapter to go). But it’s like Sabatini got bored with the puzzleing knot he’d created (or coudln’t think of a way out) and just dashed off a line or two and there it was, the end. Most unsatisfying.
It was an okay book, but you could do better. Check out the links at the top of this entry for good stories. Or try this one and see if you disagree with me. You can get it HERE for free.