Top notch book. It has everything a good historical fiction needs. Interesting characters, great conflict, a tragic love story and most important, minute details about the time period.
This is what Seinkiewicz should be known for. Not Quo Vadis. Ask any Pole and they will agree.
a quick predictable read. It'll only take a few minutes. Only interesting in that the hero is a quaker.
a difficult slog. really no different from Fu Manchu, other than the fact that the title character was much less competent.
the "nefarious" plot involves kidnapping important Europeans and taking them to China. The scorpion is constantly betrayed by his loyal followers. the only fun character is the French detective Gaston Max. Everyone else is boring and one dimentional
the good points:
A decent retelling of Louis IX's crusade to Egypt, it handles the famous characters well, even giving background on the saracen leaders. reads like a textbook at times.
the bad: one diementional protagonists, one is happy, the other morose and thats about it.
spends far too much time trying to make the English look good and the French bad. Hard to do in truth when your main subject is the irreproachable warrior Saint King who happens to be French. If the author could have got off this bigoted nationalism long enough to put more effort into the story it could have been a great novel rather than average