Monday, 24 October 2016

Review: The Wedding of Cyrano (D'Artagnan and Cyrano Reconciled, #3) by Paul Féval, fils

In 1928 Paul Féval, fils' wrote a trilogy known as D'Artagnan and Cyrano Reconciled, continuing an earlier series that he wrote with M. Lassez, called The Years Between. The stories are set after Alexandre Dumas' Twenty Years After and show d'Artagnan and some of the rest of the musketeers in various adventures with Rostand's Cyrano de Bergerac. I've read and reviewed all the other parts of the story and now it is time to tackle the last one: The Wedding of Cyrano. It should be noted that this review will likely spoil some of the events of the earlier parts of the story, but no more than the title of this novel itself already does.

The previous novel ended with slightly adjusted version of the events that ended Edmund Rostand's play on Cyrano de Bergerac. In the play, Cyrano was struck in the head and uses his last moments in life to reveal his eternal love for his cousin Roxane. Only, in Féval's retelling of the events, Cyrano is only mostly dead. In fact the third part begins with a plot that deceives the world, including Roxane and her cousin Françoise, into believing that Cyrano has died, even to the point of burying him in a grand ceremony. Through this ploy, Cyrano flees his enemies and later calls for Roxane and Françoise to join him in Southern France where he and Roxane and d'Artagnan and Françoise are to be wed. Unfortunately to their happiness, the novel needs conflict and this time it comes in the form of Barbary pirates as well as old enemies familiar from earlier parts of the story.

Paul Féval, fils' finale to his storyline works rather well, although the sub-plot with the Barbary pirates comes a bit from the left field and while it serves to introduce a refreshing, new setting, it also amounts to little more than delay before getting Cyrano and d'Artagnan into their final confrontation with their old enemies. The period detail is very good, however, and the story is fun to read although the ending seems very rushed - as if Féval had planned to write a fourth novel, but had for some reason decided not to do it and ended up rushing to the end of his story arcs.

For a fan of the period and readers who do not mind the old-fashioned storytelling style, Féval's two story arcs are very much worth a read. There are certainly many plot-holes to be ignored, but a great sense of adventure is always present and the period descriptions give these series a great presence.