Montpellier in 1566-only fools walk the streets at night unarmed, while a profession of faith in the wrong company can lead to a knife in the back. Not even this proud city of philosophers is safe from the menaces that endanger the peace of France. The city militia are struggling to contend with the lawlessness and religious hatred that threaten to tear the whole country in two.
Now an adult, Pierre de Siorac must travel south on dangerous roads to the great university town, accompanied by his strapping but naive brother Samson and the crafty Miroul. Well-armoured, with swords and pistols at their belts, the trio are confident of repelling any bandits who cross their path, but their new life away from the safety of their Perigord home will bring with it many new dangers and delights.
Continuing the colourful story that began The Brethren, City of Wisdom and Blood is the second book in the sweeping saga, Fortunes of France.
The Brethren is the first volume in the epic historical drama Fortunes of France-a lusty, exhilarating blend of adventure and romance set against the backdrop of a critical period in European history.
‘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’ Christobel Kent, 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
‘The mainstay of the novel is swashbuckling action… What stands out is Merle’s eye for detail’ Spectator
‘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.’ Bookbag, Five Star Review
‘Cleverly depicts France’s epic religious wars through the intimate prism of one family’s experience. It’s beautifully written too. Metro.
‘Historical fiction at its very best… This fast paced and heady brew is colourfully leavened with love and sex and a great deal of humour and wit. The second instalment cannot be published too soon’ We Love This Book
‘This is old-fashioned story-telling. It has swagger and, vibrancy with big characters… A gripping story with humour and strength and real attention to historical detail” Mature Times
This enjoyable story has some of the wit of George MacDonald Fraser’s ‘Flashman’… Alexandre Dumas comes to mind too… [the remaining volumes] of this moving panorama are eagerly awaited’The Tablet
‘A lively adventures anyone keen on historical fiction [should] look
forward to the next instalment’ Telegraph
‘A master of the historical novel’ Guardian
‘The spectacular 13-volume evocation of 16th-17th-century France’ Independent
‘Merle’s novel offers a sympathetic and highly imaginative view of a fraught time in French history… filled with originality, humanity, and insight’New Welsh Review
‘The Brethren very quickly wins one over’ Glasgow Herald
‘The Dumas of the twentieth century’ Neues Deutschland
‘A wonderful, colourful, breathlessly narrated historical panorama’ Zeitpunkt