In this, the fourth installment of the Rodger Brook series, we are thrown full pelt into the climax of the revolution, where his mission to rescue the dauphin takes us from the overthrow of the Royal Famility in August 1792, through the executions of the king and queen, the rise and fall of Marat, Danton and Herbert, the wars with Austria and France, the Great Terror, to the eventual overthrow of Robespierre himself. The attention to detail is absolute, the facts are 100% accurate, and the tension gripping. Often rare in a Wheatley novel, we actually get a hugely emotional ride, as well as the usual all out action. the twists and turns are magnificent, and fit in well with the blood and gore of the subject matter (it is not only the guillotine that bodes so ominously over our hero and his allies, but a host of other fiendish methods of killing). This magnificent novel really hits home the realities of the revolution, and gives us a greatinsight into the charcters - both good and bad - on both sides. The ending (which the title hints at) is one of the greatest ever. This is essential reading - buy it!
Absolutely magnificent. Dennis Wheatley has invested himself heart & soul in this history of the Great Terror. He has taken immense pains, He set out to teach us "history without tears", and we can all be grateful that he took such pains to succeed. If only the dull teachers of battles & dates of my youth had simply gone out for a beer, leaving us the Roger Brook series & similar to read in class instead! He brings in all the main players in the French Revolution, showing their characters plus the FEELING of what it was like to be there, cleverly doing this via the addition of one or two fictional characters.
Wheatley makes it clear that history is not just a dull list of reigns & battles, but something that was LIVED & FELT and often suffered by people similar to you and me. Like Frederick Forsyth, Gerald Seymour & other top thriller writers, he has a way of gripping the reader & never letting go (and decades before!). He has a gift for getting his characters out of desperate situations . Just one example: to his horror Roger Brook sees his passionately beloved Athenais brought before him in court; " Then without even consulting his colleagues on the bench, which he usually did as a matter of courtesy...'Madame la Guillotine is ever thirsty, and best of all she loves to drink so-called blue blood. I am happy to provide her with this treat on behalf of the sovereign people.' "
She is taken away to prison, & the rest of chapter 17 is about how on earth they deal with this situation. Plus a lovely sequel later - Athenais (no longer quite the innocent girl aristocrat): "Now that the terrible Citizen Representitive has me alone and in his power, does he not wish to "question" me?"
The best of the Brook series, though do not miss the first "The Launching of Roger Brook" - five stars to both. Then please buy Sabatini's fabulous & witty "Scaramouche". Are all these books dated? Of course not! The authors are taking us by time machine to LIVE & FEEL the Revolution!
I bought this to complete my set of Wheatley historical novels chronicling the activities of the fictional Roger Brook through the events of the late 18th century and early 19th century. A very palatable way of familiarising oneself with the events of those turbulent times. Highly recommended for the high quality of authorship and the detailed historical perspective. There is not a trace of the occult genre in these books, they are entirely straightforward.
Really outstanding book, loved it as it combines a fascinating story of adventure and espionage with a really close inside look at the reign of terror. The best way to learn about history undoubtedly, as the author has described in great detail the key personalities and politics of the day. I'd say this is definitely one of the best of the Roger Brook stories.