Lost Alexandre Dumas novel published in France

3rd June 2005, Comments 0 comments

PARIS, June 3 (AFP) - A previously unknown novel by the author of "The Three Musketeers", Alexandre Dumas - a 1,000-page adventure story about the start of the Napoleonic empire - hit French bookstores on Friday.

PARIS, June 3 (AFP) - A previously unknown novel by the author of "The Three Musketeers", Alexandre Dumas - a 1,000-page adventure story about the start of the Napoleonic empire - hit French bookstores on Friday.  

"Le Chevalier de Sainte-Hermine" (The Knight of Sainte-Hermine) first appeared in serial form in a French newspaper and lacked just a few chapters when Dumas died in 1870 at age 68.  

Claude Schopp, the Dumas expert who found the book at France's National Library, has added a short section to bring the tale to its conclusion.  

The novel completes a trilogy of works set in the aftermath of the French revolution, which begins with "Les Compagnons de Jehu," written in 1857, and continues with "Les Blancs et Les Bleus," completed in 1867.  

The chevalier is an aristocrat - the brother of two men who are killed in the previous books - who is caught between his royalist past and his fascination with the emerging Napoleonic empire.   

The book includes a swashbuckling account of the battle of Trafalgar, and explains who killed British naval commander Admiral Horatio Nelson, according to Jean-Pierre Sicre of Phebus press, which published the book.  

"The description of Trafalgar is indescribably brilliant. And in it we learn that it is the hero of the book - the chevalier himself - who shoots Nelson," Sicre said.  

Dumas' speciality, perfected in "The Three Musketeers," was inserting fictional characters into true historical stories.  

Nelson led the English fleet in its victory over the French and Spanish off the cape of Gibraltar in 1805, but died on board his flagship when he was hit by a bullet from an unknown French sniper.  

Phebus press said deals had already been reached for Greek and Lithuanian versions of the book. Talks were ongoing for translations in English, Spanish, Portuguese, Italian, German, Chinese and Russian.  

The grandson of a Haitian slave, Dumas was a hugely prolific writer, producing more than 250 works including plays, novel and even a cookbook. He remains today one of the most widely read French writers around the world.   

In 2002 the author was accorded the highest posthumous honour when his body was interred in the Pantheon in Paris, the mausoleum of French national heroes.

© AFP

Subject: French News

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