This is an amazing book. Why isn't it famous? For a book published in 1920 it is an extremely graphic depiction of what life was really like on the Western Front in the First World War. The author pulls no punches. The dialogue is realistic. The part that really hit me was the description of the field hospitals where the staff have become so blasé about amputating endless numbers of limbs, etc., that they do so while laughing and joking and looking forward to more exdtreme or interesting wounds to deal with.
A very well-written book full of the atmosphere of Paris in the nineteenth century. There is a lot of mystery - the plot is not obvious (not to me at least). Beware: it's only part one of a story. Baron Trigault's Vengeance follows.
If you can transport yourself back to a time when rigid notions of duty, piety and honour held sway in the general population, but were just beginning to crack, you will really enjoy this book. It's about a war hero returning from the Boer war around 1901 and finding he is now out of sympathy with the values and views of his much-loved but conventional parents. Worse, he no longer wants to marry his fiancée of five years standing. The book is in a sense prophetic, since it foreshadows the much greater seismic shifts in society that would be caused by the horrors of the First World War.
This is an absorbing read. The opening chapters with the trial and the aftermath for Rachel are excellent. The characterisations are very good and Hornung avoids the then standard idealising of the female protagonist. It is far from a routine whodunnit. Admittedly in the latter parts there is a string of coincidences, but these do not detract from the overall high standard of this work. It should be much better known.
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