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And it introduces two new swashbuckling heroes in Dumas’ classic mode, the eponymous Comte de Moret and his right-hand rogue, Étienne Lathil.
For the anthology I translated and excerpted the chapters that lead up to and conclude the novel’s climactic battle in the snowy Alps.
The 1920s through 1940s were the heyday of the Hollywood swashbuckler, but they continue to find favor with moviegoers right up to the present, notably in the recent Pirates of the Caribbean series. Tolkien’s Lord of the Rings books, ensured the swashbuckler’s continued pre-eminence, albeit in a setting of fantasy rather than history.
In fact, in the century from 1911 to 2011, The Three Musketeers alone was filmed more than two dozen times. In today’s bookstores the Fantasy shelves bulge with tales of dashing swordsmen and (increasingly) swordswomen, testament to the continued appeal of a bold story clearly told, featuring a rogue maintaining his or her personal integrity in the face of death and dishonor.
Featuring selections by twenty hugely popular writers from the last century and a half, including Rafael Sabatini, Johnston Mc Culley (creator of Zorro), Baroness Orczy (creator of the Scarlet Pimpernel), Alexandre Dumas, and Arthur Conan Doyle, this anthology is dedicated to the swashbuckler’s roots: historical adventures by the masters of the genre!
Who wouldn’t want to face deadly danger with confidence and élan?
Who can deny the thrill of clashing blades, hairbreadth escapes, and daring rescues, of facing vile treachery with dauntless courage and passionate devotion? The swashbuckler tradition was born out of legends like those of the Knights of the Round Table and of Robin Hood, revived in the early 19th century by Romantic movementauthors such as Sir Walter Scott.
The more I thought about the idea, the better I liked it, so I sat down and starting making notes. First, it would need to catch the attention of contemporary readers, which meant including recognizable, marquee names, of both characters and authors.
Second, it would have to be attractive to mainstream publishers, which meant inexpensive to produce (works in the public domain), and couched in a familiar, saleable format – in this case, a “Big Book,” a fat collection of at least 200,000 words.
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After some tergiversation I finally settled on “The Cabaret de La Liberté,” as it builds up a significant head of suspense before its resolution.