King's Cavalier

King's Cavalier

by Samuel Shellabarger, Lynd Ward (Jacket illustration)
Book Club Edition, ©1950, Item: 93084
Hardcover, 377 pages
Not in stock

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With rich imagination, excellent scholar ship and his rare gift for narrative, Samuel Shellabarger tells here the story of a young Frenchman and a young Englishwoman who were caught in the wild plots and counterplots surrounding the Bourbon conspiracy against Francis I.

Shellabarger's imagination has created an array of unforgettable characters: Blaise de Lallière, soldier of Francis I, alert, reckless, and as little fitted as a young bull for the state affairs into which he is drawn; Milady Anne Russell, striking rather than pretty, with fine, bold features and with "the strangest eyes ever seen in a woman," who is suspected of being an informer at the French court; Jean de Norville, agent of the Duke of Bourbon, handsome, versa- tile, and unscrupulous; the Marquis de Vaulx, godfather to Blaise, a vigilant statesman and servant of the Crown, the friend of Erasmus, an urbane nobleman and courtier. Other characters play important parts: Pierre and Renée, whose love story supplies some of the novel's most poignant moments; François the Sorcerer, whose loyalty gives Blaise an unlooked-for opportunity at the most desperate moment of his life; Thibault, the King's torturer; and many others.

Dr. Shellabarger's scholarship provides these fictional characters with a rich and accurate setting. The year is 1523, in the reign of Francis I. Charles Duke of Bourbon, Constable of France, in league with Henry VIII of England and the Emperor Charles V, has launched a rebellion against the King. Francis, vital, brilliant, and pleasure-loving, is trying to gain possession of the Bourbon provinces, thus uniting the kingdom and climinating the last of the French feudal states. In this he is ably abetted by his mother, Louise de Savoie, a shrewd, ambitious woman of an indomitable will.

Samuel Shellabarger's narrative ability weaves these characters and this setting into a romantic story, which never lacks excitement or suspense. The conflict between Blaise, the straightforward soldier, and the mysterious Anne Russell, the King's new favorite, whom Blaise both loves and distrusts, involves not only their own lives but the destiny of France itself. Around this theme the author has created a whirlwind novel of romance and intrigue.

Imagination, scholarship, narrative power these are the features of Samuel Shellabarger's writing which have established him among the great historical novelists. Those who have enjoyed the author's internationally known Captain from Castile and Prince of Foxes will find The King's Cavalier even more fascinating.

Jacket by Lynd Ward

from the dust jacket

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