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The Companions of Jehu

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Great Book

Just finished The Companions of Jehu. Dumas sets the novel in the period just after Bonaparte's Egyptian campaign. The Directory is running France. During the course of the novel we se the 18 Brumaire, the coup in which Bonaparte replaces the Directory with the Consulate. The novel closes with the Battle of Marengo. The main conflict of the novel is between two main factions. There is the Bonaparte faction (our window into that is through one of our main characters--Bonaparte's reckless, death-courting aide de camp, Roland de Montrevel), and his equally gallant, adventurous, and swashbuckling royalist counterpart, Morgan--captain of the Companions of Jehu. Here is the deal on the Companions of Jehu--they are a gang of utterly noble brigands who rob transports of government money and redirect it to George Cadoudal, the general leading the fight for the restoration of the Monarchy (meaning Louis XVIII). But more than being robbers (who incedentally return any private money that gets mixed in with the govt money to the private citizens) they are also avengers of the beheaded King. They vow to track down all traitors who voted for that crime against royalty and kill them--hence the name Companions of Jehu, which is a reference to the biblical story of Elisha and Jehu. The original Jehu was told he could be king if he tracked down the House of Baal and killed them all. Cadoudal is trying to convince Bonaparte to do what General Monck did for Charles II. There is also a love complication--Roland's sis is secretly in love with Morgan, which is even more complicated by the fact that Bonaparte charges Roland with taking care of the Companions of Jehu problem. Readers unfamiliar with French history(like myself)should be aware that During the period of the Directory and the Consulate, France used the French Republican Calendar (FRC). The term decade at this time and in this place does not mean ten years, but rather refers to a ten day week. All the months have different names. Years are expressed with roman numerals. Don't get thrown off by dates like 13 Vendemiaire of the year VIII. There are two existing sequels to this novel--both written by Dumas. First is the Whites and the Blues, which can also be found under the title The First Republic. There is a play version of this as well. Copies can be hard to find. Make sure you don't get just volume 2 of this--apparently it is much more common than volume one or the whole text. Then there is the Holy Grail of treasures for Dumas fans--The Last Cavalier. It is a previously undiscovered Dumas Novel published in the last few years by a Dumas scholar who just found it in old archives in the 1980's. It largely centers around Hector de Saint Hermine, the younger Brother of the aforementioned Morgan, whose real name is Charles de Saint Hermine. Nine hundred pages of Yummy Dumas goodness. Enjoy kids.

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