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The Exploits of Brigadier Gerard

Sir Arthur Conan Doyle

Book Overview: 

The hero, Etienne Gerard, is a Hussar in the French Army during the Napoleonic Wars. Gerard's most notable attribute is his vanity - he is utterly convinced that he is the bravest soldier, greatest swordsman, accomplished horseman and gallant lover in all France. Gerard is not entirely wrong since he displays notable bravery on many occasions, but his self-satisfaction undercuts this quite often. Obsessed with honor and glory, he is always ready with a stirring speech or a gallant remark to a lady.

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Book Excerpt: 
. . .kers would say whatever they thought would please him best.

My first thought was that he would be angry with me for having kept him waiting, but as I approached him, we heard the big church clock of Fontainebleau clang out the hour of ten. It was evident, therefore, that it was he who was too soon, and not I too late. I remembered his order that I should make no remark, so contented myself with halting within four paces of him, clicking my spurs together, grounding my sabre, and saluting. He glanced at me, and then without a word he turned and walked slowly through the forest, I keeping always about the same distance behind him. Once or twice he seemed to me to look apprehensively to right and to left, as if he feared that someone was observing us. I looked also, but although I have the keenest sight, it was quite impossible to see anything except the ragged patches of moonshine between the great black shadows of the trees. My ears . . . Read More

Community Reviews

One senses that Doyle had fun with these stories. Sherlock was dead and the author was experiencing a new lease on his writing life with this new character, a French officer in Napoleon's army, who is brave beyond belief, devoted to his cause, and unknowingly vane to the point of absurdity. Think...more

George MacDonald Fraser wrote the excellent introduction to this edition of the collected Brigadier Gerard stories, in which he observed what a different sort of character is Gerard from Conan Doyle’s more famous creation, who need not be named. Gerard is French, not English; an interesting choic...more

Best book I've read in a very long time, I have to say. Gerard is an absolutely appealing character and his transparently misguided narration is pretty much brilliant. It's difficult to pull off a story which has the narrator living, through his own words, in a state of enlightenment significantl...more

Very enjoyable. Didn't realize ACD wrote anything other than Sherlick Hplmes books. I read this for a challenge and very glad I did.

The gallant style of these 17 stories, and the fairy tale aroma of their plots, reminded me of Pushkin's fiction. And had the charmingly pompous beau sabreur Brigadier Étienne Gerard really lived, his swashbuckling memoirs would have had a place in Pushkin's 1,500 volume Francophile library, or p...more

This was quite a fun little short story collection, some historical fiction from the creator of Sherlock Holmes that covers the Napoleonic Wars and follows a Frenchman. That was interesting in and of itself because I’m trying to learn French and so it was cool to get this extra little insight int...more

December 2010
"Save for two or three men and a score or two of women, you are the first who have ever heard the story."
Etienne Gerard, hero of France, is the kind of man who challenges a dozen men to a dozen duels (in a row, while promising to spend no more than five minutes with each so that the...more

Brigadier Gerard is one of those people who think they're awesome - they're probably just average, but they're enthusiasm for themselves is so glowing and positive, that it's impossible not to get caught up in it. Gerard is charming, and made me smile. He's not arrogant, just full of noble intent...more

Looking for a Napoleonic era Jason Bourne? Etienne Gerard is a dashing, chivalrous, and stalwart French officer who becomes involved various suspenseful and often comical political intrigues. He battles outlaws, Englishmen and Cossacks and always maintains a his honor and his style. His adventure...more

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