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Shelves: french , history-and-biography , well-i-think-its-funny , too-sexy-for-maiden-aunts This is a kick-ass novel, and I am indeed kicking my own ass for not having read it earlier.

My wife indignantly refuses any responsibility for my mistake This is a kick-ass novel, and I am indeed kicking my own ass for not having read it earlier. I should have known that.

Anyway, better late than never. The merest glance at my French shelf will show you that I like both so-called serious novels and trash - as everyone knows, the French write the best trashy novels in the world. But what do these two literary traditions have to do with each other? Dumas is firmly in the great French tradition of Tragic Love. People in his world are divided into two classes: those who are motivated by Love and Honour, and those who want Money and Power.

To be a superior person means belonging to the first group. A particularly clear 20th century example is Belle du Seigneur. Equally naturally, it all ends up very tragically indeed. Dumas takes real historical events, and reinterprets them through the prism of his ultra-romantic world-view. On his account, the political events of were all about a complicated tangle of love affairs. To keep the story bubbling, Dumas invents some more people, who play key roles in this complicated game.

Needless to say, both of them are involved in their own intersecting webs of romantic intrigue. The startling thing to me is that the Dumas formula is still going strong, nearly years later. The immeasurably popular SAS series, which you can buy at any French airport bookstall, is written to almost exactly the same specification. A still clearer example is Djihad A Chechen rebel group gets hold of a Russian nuclear warhead, and they pass it on to an Islamicist faction led by a sexy blonde woman.

In the SAS world, Islamicist factions can be led by sexy blondes. So what is it that makes this formula so incredibly effective? Look at those girls on the covers of the SAS novels. Miladies, every one of them. Now that would have been worth watching.


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