This book is one of the best historical novels of Walter Scott. Not too dynamic, although the heroes don’t have to do nothing. The plot is quite simple – a young Scotsman entered the service of the king of France, Louis XI, receives from it the task to deliver the two ladies to their point a to point b, the road is not without adventure, well, no love interest, as usual…
But the love story of Quentin Durward and Isabel serves only as a background to the historic picture that is deployed in the novel. We see in all its splendor Louis XI, the ruler, which combines mind and superstition, cunning and foresight, greed, deceit, stubbornness, courage. A subtle politician, leading a dangerous game for the strengthening of the state and obedience to the king of a mighty feudal lords, in putting this game at stake not only the fate of others of his subordinates, but even the fate of his daughter and his soul.
Not disdaining the services of a dark unscrupulous individuals, guided by the position of the stars the next time you come up with the intrigue, relying on the loyalty of the people without honor and fearing the betrayal of those for whom honor is dearer than life, without being able to prove himself a good commander, but showing admirable courage in mortal danger – Louis mixed feelings. Not less interesting are the other characters of the novel. The wild boar of the Ardennes, in fact, the robber, to which the decree is only his own desire, his madness, his mood. He in his own honor and bravery in combat in the battle for Liege.
Charles of Burgundy, are prone to severe bouts of tyranny and wrath, in wrath of the storm and all, but incredibly fair. Like all people, unaccustomed to meet resistance to your mood, including his rabies, he is still kind and forgiving. And incapable of meanness, betrayal, for the very little deal with his conscience. Curious Gypsy way – a sort of cosmopolitan, free in all respects, does not recognize a common morality, living by its laws, but not afraid of death or captivity. It will serve those who are currently profitable, but if he chose someone to be true (even for some time) – he will go on a danger, and death for that person.
Interesting is the atmosphere of the feudal state of the XV century, when strict system of subordination shaken and undermined by the fact that the stronger vassals of his sovereign and having the state in the state claiming sovereignty or at least de facto independence, with apparent formal subordination Louis.
Some deviations from history and anachronisms do not detract from the value of the novel as a historical, in my opinion. The spirit of the transferred great. The novels of sir Walter Scott allow you to travel back into the distant history where there were other practices, other practices may be differently valued human life, but people have experienced the same feelings, wanted the same (or similar) values, was struggling with the same vices and respected those virtues which are understandable to us today. The story handed down to us from the point of view of sir Walter Scott, carries no less than any archival documents.
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