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By the Hands of Men, Book Three: The Wrath of a Righteous Man Kindle Edition
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Top Customer Reviews
As with the second book, the structure of ‘The Wrath of a Righteous Man’ is divided into two parts, first we concentrate on Charlotte’s story before we reconnect with Robert who now finds himself in the heat and humidity of Africa.
Meeting Charlotte Braninov again was like becoming reacquainted with an old friend. We meet her on her journey from her homeland of Russia on board a ship bound for London. Travelling with her, are the compatriots she met during her imprisonment at the hands of the Red Army. During the sea crossing we witness a different side to human nature when benevolence takes the place of brutality. Charlotte’s altruism continues to shine through as she builds a life for herself and her companions in England.
Griffis gives us a bit of humour along the way with Charlotte’s charge, Zlata, learning some very colourful language from the sailors and choosing to use it at every opportunity. We also have some lovely examples of alliteration, similes and metaphors to add depth to the descriptive passages. I particularly liked Robert’s appearance, when he looked: ‘as if he had been shat out of a dyspeptic rhino.’
I penalised the author previously as I felt Charlotte’s story was so powerful that Robert’s tale paled by comparison. However, meeting Robert again, I found I had a new respect for his character and more sympathy and understanding of the personal demons he battled. This book is much more balanced and I found myself getting as anxious for Robert when he was again called to arms, as I was for Charlotte who faced dangers of her own.Read more ›
In book three, Charlotte Braninov, Nikolai, Indrina, and Zlata were onboard a ship to London, after a harrowing escape from the Russian Reds. Although the four of them were exhausted, traumatized and malnourished they were relieved and thankful to finally be out of Russia. Once in London, Charlotte was able to arrange living quarters for herself and her friends. However, not long after she was settled, Charlotte had some distressing news about a Russian acquaintance who had gone to France for business but had never returned. Although, Charlotte didn’t relish the thought of leaving the safety of London, she felt compelled to investigate. She was horrified, though, when she found that the Russian Reds were in France. After a violent encounter with one of them, Charlotte found herself on the run, once again. There was a silver lining in the midst of her frightening visit to France though; Charlotte was able to find out that the illness that her beloved, Robert, had suffered from, caused temporary memory loss. Years back, Charlotte was crushed and humiliated when Robert acted as if he didn’t know her. Charlotte now knew, why her beloved had carried on the way he did, and Charlotte was determined more than ever to find him.
Robert Fitzgerald, while in the Crown’s service was sent to Africa. At first, he couldn’t think of a more horrible place to be, with its dangerous wild animals, cannibals, human trafficking and God awful humid heat. Robert, however, had a change of heart while in service there. It bothered him tremendously that it was almost a knee-jerk reaction to kill people. So after visiting a fallen commander’s home, he decided to settle down and care for animals.Read more ›
Hemingway credits Gertrude Stein with naming their generation. They were the ones who came of age during the first World War, the Great War. And what was lost was a sense of direction, of being able to draw on the past for identity and guidance.
For American writers, this included a world of decadence, of the frivolous lifestyles of the very rich such as The Great Gatsby, but also the loss of innocence, the fiction that the American Dream was within everyone’s reach. For countries like England, it meant a generation literally lost, with over two million women more than men under age 45.
These are the themes of By the Hands of Men, Book Three: The Wrath of a Righteous Man, Roy M. Griffis’ epic World War I series, which sends lead characters Robert Fitzgerald and Charlotte Braninov on a search for connections to their pasts and their futures in a post-war world which has obliterated both.
This has become one of my favorite historical fiction series ever, but it is not a series where each book stands alone. If you haven’t had a chance to read the first two volumes, I urge you to do so, because the threads connecting them are carefully gathered and woven in. For example, in my previous review, I complained about a vignette in Book Two describing Charlotte’s interaction with a Jewish pawnbroker that I thought was only there to make a statement about aristocratic anti-semitism. In a similar way, as I was reading Robert’s various adventures in Shanghai and Africa, my first thought was that these were just padding to show what the rest of the world was like. I could not have been more wrong.Read more ›