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What is it about many 19th century novelists that they could write such gripping and well researched historical novels? The fascinating thing about this recently rediscovered novel of Alexandre Dumas set in the Napoleonic period, is its attention to historical detail and every chapter gives insights into the political and social tensions of that turbulent period. An excellent history lesson and a great story-line superbly narrated by Simon Prebble. And what a brilliant touch of Dumas to portray the hero as the french-man responsible for killing Nelson at the Battle of Trafalgar. Pity that Dumas died without completing the novel, but even without an end worth every one of the 35+ hours in the car spent listening. This audio-book has motivated me to now go back and listen to the other Dumas novels that I first encountered as a teenager nearly 60 years ago.
12 of 12 people found this review helpful
My warning is: This book begins with about a two hour and fifteen minute introduction in which the author justifies the historical accuracy of his writings and especially in defense of The Last Cavalier. During this portion many aspects of the story will be shared before hand and for those who want a surprise you may want to skip the introduction. They do attempt to warn you about the disclosure, but do not give you any indication of how long it takes to skip it. Also, due to the fact that in many instances the author is reading from letters dealing with the story, it is not always obvious when the introduction ends and the novel begin.
Additionally, this novel is not finished by Alexandre Dumas because he dies before it is completed. The ending of the novel is continued by another writer who, in my opinion, does an excellent job of wrapping up the story. The narrator is very good and the story line is an action packed Dumas tale, in character with his previous works.
11 of 11 people found this review helpful
Where does The Last Cavalier rank among all the audiobooks you’ve listened to so far?
It's certainly one of the best, most particularly in terms of the wonderful, truly wonderful, narration. I have not listened to anything by Simon Prebble before but I definitely will again, he is a master at fully understanding the text and interpreting it with the author's intended humor, satire and depth of vision.
What did you like best about this story?
I always like Dumas's somewhat fantastical figures. I loved the Count of Monte Cristo for his equally ridiculous talents and this is really no different but the story here is different indeed. The accuracy of the historical context is perfect and wonderfully rendered into a fascinating account of not only Napoleon but also Nelson and all the minor characters around them.
This is the 'missing piece' from Dumas's work and you'll find he features his own father (in real life, his real father!) in a minor role in this book.
If you love this period of history, the Napoleonic wars and the increasing madness (or, some might say, megalomania) of Napoleon, then you will LOVE this.
Have you listened to any of Simon Prebble’s other performances? How does this one compare?
No but I certainly shall again. He was quite wonderful, lovely characterizations, never sounds bored in what is, after all, a very long tome and he delivers the speeches with exactly the right amount of pathos and/or quietude without ever resorting to caricature.
A truly marvellous performance.
Did you have an emotional reaction to this book? Did it make you laugh or cry?
Not especially but then I have read War and Peace which is perhaps the greatest book ever written about this period and THAT did make me cry. However, I WAS very sad when this book ended and tried to ration out the final few hours so it did not end too soon as Simon Prebble's beautiful narration had made all the characters sympathetic and one was left wanting to know 'what happened next' to them all.
Any additional comments?
Just BUY IT! It's fantastic and I shall definitely listen to it again as it time well invested.
1 of 1 people found this review helpful
This book is just great adventure history love and more the character's are so well done most the ones who are taken from history are done so well he writes them in a way that's help you form an opinion vast on what you read not what The history books tell and the back ground information on the events and places you see in book is great.
3 of 5 people found this review helpful