Lately, Bartimaeus and I have been reading The Knight Of Maison-Rouge, a novel by Alexandre Dumas.
The novel is set in Paris during the French revolution. It follows the life of a brave Republican named Maurice as he unwittingly becomes involved in a secret Royalist plot to help the queen, Marie Antoinette, escape from prison and her ultimate fate: death by the guillotine.
At first, Bartimaeus and I were quite confused. On the cover of the book there is an inscription which reads: A Novel Of Marie Antoinette.
We both feel that this is a bit misleading. The book does not focus on Marie Antoinette. Rather, it focuses on the attempts made by the Knight of Maison-Rouge to spring the queen from prison. Are we being a bit picky? Maybe. However, though, we still feel that the inscription is only partly true. It would be much better if it read: A Novel Concerning the Knight’s Failed Attempts to Rescue Marie Antoinette from Prison. And we already know why this was not chosen. It’s just too plum long!
And this brings us to another problem. The story is marvelously interesting and exciting, but throughout the whole novel, we already know the end! That’s right! We already know that the queen gets executed. History has cheated for us. So, as we follow the knight’s daring escapades, we cannot help but feel a tinge of disappointment.
Now, for a breakdown of the characters:
Maurice: is the main character of the story. It becomes quite possible throughout the novel (actually, more than possible) to become utterly frustrated with this fellow’s absolute stupidity. Nevertheless, though, Bartimaeus has chosen Maurice as his favorite character.
Lorin: Ah, the professor’s favorite! Lorin is Maurice’s best friend. He is always making up rhymes and quoting poetry – much to Maurice’s disapproval and annoyance.
Genevieve: Maurice’s love interest, and the one responsible for making a complete fool out of him. She is Dixmer’s wife.
Dixmer: He is Genevieve’s husband. Dixmer becomes exceedingly disgusting as the novel progresses – obviously disliked by the author himself!
The Knight of Maison-Rouge: is described as having the hands of a woman. In truth, this sad man is horribly pathetic throughout the book.
So, overall, Bartimaeus gives the novel 3 out of 5 stars. Not bad.
I highly recommend the book. It is an exciting read with a stunning end (not for the queen, unfortunately). And, all the while, it is a fabulous history lesson – even if Dumas’ history is slightly corrupted!