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Beau Geste Paperback – 26 Apr 2011

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Product details

  • Paperback: 262 pages
  • Publisher: CreateSpace Independent Publishing Platform (26 April 2011)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 1461078474
  • ISBN-13: 978-1461078470
  • Product Dimensions: 15.2 x 1.5 x 22.9 cm
  • Average Customer Review: 4.2 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (39 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 388,809 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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Customer Reviews

4.2 out of 5 stars

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

7 of 7 people found the following review helpful By Barty Literati on 1 April 2010
Format: Paperback
A REVIEW OF 'BEAU GESTE' by P.C. WREN

'Beau Geste' has the unenviable status of being a book that people know of, but which fewer and fewer have actually read. Mention its name, and the typical response is, "Oh, that's about the French Foreign Legion." And that's about it.

All of which is a shame, because 'Beau Geste' is a stylish and clever novel which merits far more attention than its one-dimensional, pub-quiz-friendly reputation would suggest. Part tale of the supposed supernatural, part mystery, part 'whodunnit', part autobiography, part romance and part war/adventure novel, 'Beau Geste' certainly ticks all of the boxes. Perhaps the book's growing obscurity is due to the fact that it is not old enough to fall under the title of a 'classic', but not new or fashionable enough to remain prominently in print.

However, those who do hunt down a copy of 'Beau Geste' will not be disappointed. Opening with the eerie discovery of a French Foreign Legion fort being 'defended' by strategically-positioned dead soldiers, which then mysteriously and spontaneously combusts, the tale immediately takes us back to an English country home and the disappearance of a priceless sapphire. It's like jumping out of John Buchan's 'Prester John' straight into Agatha Christie's 'The Adventure of The Christmas Pudding'. Wren expertly interlinks the two opening sections so that the ending cleverly explains the beginning through the words of John Geste, one of three brothers who flee to North Africa, having claimed to have stolen the jewel.

The opening chapters are excellent and genuinely engage the reader as we first encounter the 'haunted' fort from the perspective of its would-be liberators.
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18 of 19 people found the following review helpful By A Customer on 6 Jan. 1999
Format: Paperback
This is one of my favourite books of all time. It's come in for a bit of criticism in recent years for the way "foreigners" are portrayed, and I have to admit that Wren does use some awful stereotypes, but as long as you remember that he was writing in the 1920s and not the 90s you can take it with good humour. The story is told in several parts, from a couple of different perspectives, but basically this is the story of Michael "Beau" Geste, a magnificently heroic and noble young Englishman, as seen through the eyes of his hero-worshipping younger brother John. To sum up the plot in a few lines, somebody steals a magnificent jewel, and Beau (though John, and by extension the reader, knows it is impossible) confesses to the crime. His brothers follow him into exile, and they wind up in the French Foreign Legion. Numerous adventures take place in the desert, but running throughout the whole book is the most important theme - who stole the jewel and why would Beau sacrifice his reputation and maybe his life to cover for them? This book has got the lot: gallantry, true love, thwarted love, humour, sadness, bravery, forts in the desert, mutinous soldiers, loyal officers and unflappable gentlemen, honour and self sacrifice. It really succeeds in bringing to life the vanished world (maybe it never really existed but we all love to think it did) of the perfect English gentleman.
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4 of 4 people found the following review helpful By M. Dowden HALL OF FAMETOP 50 REVIEWERVINE VOICE on 5 Jun. 2012
Format: Kindle Edition Verified Purchase
Ever since I first came across this book in the library as a teenager it has been something that I have come back to, time and time again. For boys and men this is classic adventure, with some mystery thrown in as well.

When George Lawrence is travelling through Africa from his post back home on leave, he bumps into an old friend, Henri de Beaujolais. Beaujolais recounts to Lawrence a mystery. Called to aid a Legion fort which he has been told is under attack from Arabs his force arrives to find that everyone is at their post at the fort, and there are no Arabs around. All the soldiers at the fort are dead though. Shortly beforehand there is shooting from the fort, but where is the person who did it? With dead bodies moving about in the fort, the first person to enter it disappearing, and then the fort mysteriously catching fire, can it be haunted?

From there we are taken back to what happened, all the events leading up to the mystery at the fort, and to the conclusion of the tale. Starting with the disappearance of a sapphire, this tale takes in high adventure, with loyalty and honour as its main ingredients, along with mutiny and treachery. Always a thrilling read, if you love adventure then you should devour this. With the romanticism associated with the French Foreign Legion, I have always wondered how many people over the years have run off to join its ranks due to this novel.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful By P on 28 Jun. 2014
Format: Kindle Edition
This trilogy was a favourite of mine when I was a teenager - the self-sacrifice, the (highly-improbable) plotting and probably above all the splendid telling in the voice of British colonialism (which just seemed romantic then) and the constant interweaving of French terms, which gave these books their distinctive appeal.

Two caveats: firstly if you are at all sensitive about the racism of the times when these were written or set, then save yourself a visit to the doctor for high blood pressure and just don't read them. The effortless superiority of the English characters - only matched by those of the French or a couple of comic Americans - the frequent racial slurs - "a dying Arab goum--they are always dying of fatigue these fellows, if they have hurried a few miles," and denigratory terms, including the unrepeatable n-word.

Second: this version has not be proofed enough to include ANY italics. When I come across a book with foreign language material in it, I expect that it will be italicised. This version - about whose annotations I cannot speak - has failed to italicise anything, neither the French phrases which are so much of flavour of the Foreign Legion novels. The examples can't have the italics in, so I've used an underline before and after words which should have been italicised - both for emphasis and to mark foreign phrases:

"The vile assassination of a gallant _sous-officier_. . . . And by one of his own men. In the very hour of glorious victory. . . . _One of his own men_--I am certain of it. But why? _Why?_ "

Amazon sells separate editions of Beau Sabreur and Beau Ideal which seem (from the free samples) to have the italics in place.
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