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The Brethren by Robert Merle

The Brethren

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The Brethren by Robert Merle
Feb 05, 2019 | 416 Pages
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  • Paperback $16.95

    Feb 05, 2019 | 416 Pages

  • Ebook $9.99

    Mar 03, 2015 | 416 Pages

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“There is a philosophical depth to the novel. . . one of the strengths of Merle’s novels [is] his ability to evoke the feeling and texture of everyday life as well as high politics. . . [The Brethren] has a credibly human solidity, and whets one’s appetite for the next volume, “City of Wisdom and Blood,” which will be published in the fall.” — The Wall Street Journal

“One of the many delights vouchsafed by Robert Merle’s The Brethren is the sense that the author is astonished that what he’s writing about actually happened. . . If there is a pattern to the narration—a dependable vacillation between personal exploit and public machination—the chronicle is also seductively contorted, with adventures sowed into other adventures. . . Pierre, then, is the human demilitarized zone separating his mother and father. His voice can be self-congratulatory though also generous and gently philosophical, reminiscent at moments of Merle’s colleague Sartre. . . Feudal life can hardly seem more vivid than when Merle leaves the religious war to describe, through a smart translation by T. Jefferson Kline, a soul-strengthening day of haymaking or the swagger of a barrel-chested wet nurse with ‘milk for sale.’ Merle the English teacher repeatedly bows to Shakespeare. . . [The Brethren] is wise and audacious, constantly nudging up against the extraordinary.” — The New York Times Book Review

“The compelling first in a series of French historical novels, deftly translated and published for the first time in English. Château Mespech is a fiefdom relentlessly imperiled by the weather, Gypsy bandits, royal and religious duplicity, and the plague . . . Merle peoples his tale with memorable characters: villains, maids, legionnaires and townsfolk . . . Merle’s is a French epic, more genteel than Dickens’ poor-child English tales and less doleful than Tolstoy’s Russian sagas.” –Kirkus Reviews

“Swashbuckling historical fiction… For all its philosophical depth [The Brethren] is a hugely entertaining romp… The comparisons with Dumas seem both natural and deserved and the next 12 instalments [are] a thrilling prospect.” — Guardian
“A vivid novel by France’s modern Dumas… [there is] plenty of evidence in the rich characterisation and vivid historical detail that a reader’s long-term commitment will be amply rewarded.” — Sunday Times
“Cleverly depicts France’s epic religious wars through the intimate prism of one family’s experience. It’s beautifully written too.” — Metro.
“We’re swept away by triumph, tragedy, action and adventure… It’s a novel like this that makes reviewing one of the best jobs in the world.” — The Book Bag, Five Star Review
“Historical fiction at its very best… The second instalment cannot be published too soon.” — We Love This Book
“A Sprawling, earthy tale of peril, love, lust, death, dazzling philosophical debate and political intrigue… an engrossing saga.” Gransnet
“A master of the historical novel.” — Guardian
“A spectacular evocation of sixteenth- and seventeenth-century France.” — Independent
Advance Praise from Europe:
“His readers appreciate his recipe for writing that is as political as it is entertaining.” — Deutschlandfunk
“Be warned: even just a few pages can lead to addiction.” — Neckar-Tauber Trend
“With much wit, irony and a knack for juicy details, [Merle] brings alive his country’s history.” — Literatur-Report
“For fans of historical fiction, The Brethren is a delight to savour.” — Thüringer Allgemeine
“Thrilling! Robert Merle rides his novel at full tilt across a richly eventful period of history.” — Le Magazine Littéraire
“Robert Merle is one of the very few French writers who have attained both popular success and the admiration of critics.” — Le Figaro
“A wonderful, colourful, breathlessly narrated historical panorama.” — Zeitpunkt
“Breathes new life into the classic adventure story and great historical epic.” — Les Nouvelles Littéraires
“France’s greatest popular novelist.” — Le Monde
“The Dumas of the twentieth century.” — Neues Deutschland 

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