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The Virginians

William Makepeace Thackeray

Book Overview: 

It tells the story of Henry Esmond's twin grandsons, George and Henry Warrington. Henry's romantic entanglements with an older woman lead up to his taking a commission in the British army and fighting under the command of General Wolfe at the capture of Quebec. On the outbreak of the American War of Independence he takes the revolutionary side. George, who is also a British officer, thereupon resigns his commission rather than take up arms against his brother. (Summary by Wikipedia)

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Book Excerpt: 
. . .In the early morning poor Chaplain Sampson sent over his little black mare by the hands of his groom, footman, and gardener, who wept and bestowed a great number of kisses on the beast's white nose as he handed him over to Gumbo. Gumbo and his master were both affected by the fellow's sensibility; the negro servant showing his sympathy by weeping, and Harry by producing a couple of guineas, with which he astonished and speedily comforted the chaplain's boy. Then Gumbo and the late groom led the beast away to the stable, having commands to bring him round with Mr. William's horse after breakfast, at the hour when Madam Bernstein's carriages were ordered.

So courteous was he to his aunt, or so grateful for her departure, that the master of the house even made his appearance at the morning meal, in order to take leave of his guests. The ladies and the chaplain were present—the only member of the family absent was Will: who, however, left a note for his cousi. . . Read More

Community Reviews

I've read 100 books in 3 years but never have I found a book so ... so interminable. It's a potboiler sequel to Henry Esmond that made me wonder if inconsequential plot churn like this is really so much better than a soap like Downton Abbey. It is of course because it is so well written - which m...more

This book was just ok - a little long and tedious. I really liked the characters in the beginning, but they started to get on my nerves after a while. There is some interesting history, though.

William Makepeace Thackeray’s novel, The Virginians: A Tale of the Last Century, was first published in a single volume in 1859. A number of characters in Thackeray’s novel Henry Esmond reappear, though much older, in The Virginians, so that it is a generational sequel. But in this work the contr...more

This is a lovely, leisurely read with a sly sense of humor and well-drawn characters. It chronicles the lives of twin brothers born in Virginia before the revolutionary war to an aristocratic British family as they participate in colonial and homeland society, fight in historical battles, and mak...more

I found this book to be a rather interesting period piece and is fascinating for it's detail in the intricacies of the eighteenth century. The story though was somewhat predictable save for a few moments, and at times the story would jump around as if the author did not know where he wanted to go...more

The story of two brothers, born in the British colony of Virginia, who ultimately end up fighting on opposite sides in the American War of Independence. A very long but generally gripping read, with many twists along the way. Excellent.

A very interesting book about a loyalist family pre-revolution.

My advice is not to start reading this unless you know you have a great deal of spare time ahead. Oh, and you must have read all of Thackeray's other novels first, or you'll miss many of the references. And then you're in for a real treat....this novel, as with all his others apart from Vanity Fa...more