La Vendee

La Vendee - Anthony Trollope A major change of scene for Trollope, and set in a (fairly recent) historical epoch - the French Revolution. The chapters on Robespierre in the late stages of the novel are very interesting in that they underscore Trollope's own insight (from his autobiography) that he has difficulty making characters - or character types - into out-and-out villains.

I did not find his characters as memorable as in his Irish novels, likely because he was feeling constrianed by the fact that most of them were historical. He also wrote himself into a corner by choosing as his main romantic hero Henri de la Rochejacquelein who, history, tells us, died at age 22. This makes the ending rather awkward.

The research lies heavy on this one, with many battles detailed at excruciating length. However, the minor characters are lively and the villain, a fictional character named Adolphe Denot, is psychologically quite interesting and gets an affecting death scene.