So What Are You Reading?

Reviews of Books.

Thursday, December 19, 2013

The Iron Pincers: Or, Mylio and Karvel, a Tale of the Albigensian Crusades

The Iron Pincers: Or, Mylio and Karvel, a Tale of the Albigensian Crusades by Eugene Sue

The Iron Pincers is the thirteenth volume of a nineteen volume series that Eugene Sue called The Mysteries of the People, or, History of a Proletarian Family Across the Ages. Each volume is written as if by a member of the family set down the events of their life. This volume is set in the beginning of the 13th century where Mylio is a troubadour who sings love songs to the ladies of the town while their husbands are away at the last Crusade.
In the opening scenes, Mylio is successful at both singing and wooing the ladies of the town, but when their husbands return from the Crusades they have a new mission from the priests. They are being told to take their armies south to slaughter the Albigensian non-Catholics, plunder their riches, and take their lands. When Mylio hears this he rushes south to warn his brother Karvel of the impending invasion. While they put up a good resistance, they are greatly outnumbered as city after city falls before the Catholic army.
This was one of the most difficult of the books in this series to read. The author has always depicted the invading ruling class as greedy, cruel and amoral, but this slaughter is one of the worst in French history and he doesn't spare the details to protect the readers.

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