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Scaramouche. Scaramouche was created by Rafael Sabatini (Captain Blood (I)) and appeared in the story serial “Scaramouche” (The Sovereign Magazine, Nov. 1920-Sept 1921, as a novel 1921) and Scaramouche, the Kingmaker (1931).

In the years before the French Revolution Andre-Louis Moreau who believes himself to be the illegitimate son of his godfather, the Lord of Gavrillac. Moreau goes to Paris to study law, but when he is twenty-six years old his friend Philippe is provoked into a duel and slain. Moreau vows to carry on Philippe's work of fighting for the downtrodden and oppressed in France. Unfortunately, Moreau shows too much talent at rallying the mobs, and the government forces Moreau into the life of a fugitive.

He joins an acting troupe and plays the role of Scaramouche in their plays. He studies fencing and becomes so skillful that he's asked by a rebel to join the French Assembly, where the nobles are accustomed to challenging less skillful swordsmen from the lower classes into duels, killing them and thereby strengthening themselves and their class. Moreau does so and begins carving his way through the nobility. Moreau finally faces the man who killed his friend, a Marquis, and discovers that the Marquis is actually his father. Moreau allows the Marquis to leave France, and then marries Aline, who was Philippe’s lover but was betrothed, after his death, to the Marquis.

* I'm including the two Scaramouche story serials and novels in the Best of the Encyclopedia list because they are great fun. Rafael Sabatini was one of the great swashbuckling authors of the twentieth century, and the two Scaramouche narratives are his best. Scaramouche is a memorable two-dimensions--but so is everyone else. The adventures are thrilling, the buckles are suitably swashed, after much effort the good guys win and the bad guys are killed or banished. The stories are set in France before the Revolution--of course they are--and Sabatini does well by the time period in a facile, good-enough-for-government-work way. Highly recommended.

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