A Place of Greater Safety

A Place of Greater Safety

Book - 2006 | 1st Picador ed.
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With A Place of Greater Safety Hilary Mantel makes her American debut in a dazzling and magisterial novel about one of the most crucial - and shattering - events in modern history, the French Revolution. Already acclaimed in her native England, this book should provoke an equally enthusiastic response from readers on this side of the Atlantic. At the center of this bold epic are three men who led the revolt against the tyrannies and injustices of the Ancien Regime: Georges-Jacques Danton, an ugly, ambitious, and charismatic spokesman; Maximilien Robespierre, slight, precise, wishing to do good for others; and their friend, Camille Desmoulins, an inveterate conspirator pamphleteer, and seducer (obsessed for years by a married woman, he eventually marries - he's not sure how - her daughter). Three young men of obscure origins from the provinces, all make their way to Paris, where, in 1787, they will be presented with - and will seize - the opportunity to transform their world. Surrounding these men are their friends, their families and lovers, as well as the famous figures and events that Mantel has so brilliantly depicted...Louis XVI and his decadent court, Mirabeau and Marat, the Marquis de Lafayette and the Marquis de Sade, Saint-Just and Choderlos de Laclos, the Committee of Public Safety, the Mountain, the Gironde, the Sans-culottes and Dr. Guillotin's machine. Having unleashed the forces of revolution in the name of liberty and happiness, Danton, Robespierre, and Desmoulins will become witnesses to, participants in, and, eventually, victims of an uncontrollable escalating spiral of rage and need, terror and violence. An audacious, informed, and encompassing portrayal of the genuine achievements and the harrowing tragedy of the French Revolution, Hilary Mantel's A Place of Greater Safety is fiction on a grand scale and in the grand tradition.
Publisher: New York : Picador/Henry Holt and Company, 2006.
Edition: 1st Picador ed.
ISBN: 9780312426392
Branch Call Number: FIC MANTEL
Characteristics: xvi, 749 p. ; 21 cm.


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Nov 05, 2015

It took me some time to read the thin pages of this 750 page novel. Best not to leave too much time between readings as the connection of the supporting characters are easily forgotten. Sometimes it was difficult to exactly know whom Mantel's pronouns were referring to. However, this novel turns the three revolutionaries into real people. Unfortunately, it exposes their follies, weaknesses, their corruptibility along with their lofty ideals. No heroes here, surely. How do the French today look upon these 3 men? Interestingly, the women and the family in the lives of these closely connected men play an important part, a part not evident in the historical accounts. However, the way revolutions go, violence and many deaths always seem to go hand in hand. In France the instigators of the revolution meet the same end as those they had considered unpatriotic, and, then, the accusers of these men also meet the same end. It was sad to see friends pitted against friends and cousin against cousin.

Aug 26, 2012

A novel of the French Revolution focusing on three well known figures: Georges-Jacques Danton, Maximilian Robespierre and Camille Desmoulins who each arrive in Paris to escape the French provinces. In Paris, they have their lives changed by fate. Hilary Mantel writes a fascinating portrait of the period and the people in this gripping story. There are over 700 pages, but the story grabs you from the beginning as you follow the lives of the characters, hoping they will survive. Keep the "Cast of Characters" bookmarked. I referred to it constantly while reading the five part story. The author's style in this book is much more readable than her more recent work, Wolf Hall.

wwgg Jul 05, 2011

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