Thursday, 20 July 2000

Jane Hunt: The Green Gallant (1980)

Edition: Souvenir, 1980
Review number: 543

This novel is about a Russian regiment in the Napoleonic wars (with green uniforms), not Henry IV, as a potential reader with some knowledge of French history might guess (the first Bourbon king was nicknamed "the Green Gallant"). The background is doubly unexpected - there can be few writers who have dared to write about the Russian army in this period since War and Peace.

Having said that, it should be made clear that Hunt does not try to compete with Tolstoy. The Green Gallant is a pleasant romance with no greater ambition; its story (effectively, about love for someone unattainable) is standard, the background and characters there to provide a context for the story. It is well written with convincing characters and believable (if sketchy) background.

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