The last thing Jean Rombaud expects upon being summoned to behead Anne Boleyn is to dedicate his life to her. But the ill-fated queen has a mysterious request for her executioner: that after taking her life he also take her infamous six-fingered hand and bury it at a sacred crossroads in France. His oath will set Jean on the most dangerous journey of his life.
In The French Executioner, C.C. Humphreys once again brings the past to life in all its glory and peril. This thrilling novel captures the breathtaking story of how courage, love, and loyalty bound Anne Boleyn to the man who ended her life—and saved her legacy.
I have read many novels about Anne Bolelyn and this time period. I have never read one from the executioner’s point of view. Jean Rombaud, Anne Bolelyn’s executioner, is a fascinating character with a fantastic history.
This winding tale sends you through so many experiences….to dungeons and galley ships, to ambushes, sea battles and torture. It was a little heavy on the battle scenes. I tend to read quickly through those parts. I just want to see who wins and not how the battle is won.
The dark magic that runs through the story keeps the reader locked in and wondering which character will be in trouble next. The menagerie of characters are truly wonderful and astonishing.
A little wordy in places but a very wild ride indeed!!
I received this book from Netgalley for an honest review
Who would I play on the big screen ‘The French Executioner’?
Ah, the most tormenting question! And the answer to which has changed over the life of the book. I wrote it thirteen years ago so I was younger, more lithe – had knees! You need knees if you are going to leap around with bladed weaponry. And of course I always foresaw myself as one of the sword wielders, since I was – and sometimes still am – a swordsman.
I never saw myself as Jean Rombaud, the executioner himself. Too dark, too brooding, too… French! Besides – and I suppose this applies to all the main characters – you need stars for the big roles. Originally I wanted perhaps Mel Gibson – now so fallen from grace but a powerful actor. Later – and this is still possible – Javier Bardem.
So leave Jean aside and assume I am a ‘name’… I am half Norwegian but don’t think I am large enough for Haakon. He must be vast. Januc always appealed – the Croatian former Janissary, superb wielder of scimitars, wit. Alas, he should be about 25!
I would love to play Giancarlo Cibo, the Archbishop of Siena. The main villain, the role is an actor’s treat: relishing evil, totally debauched, dying of consumption, he seduces, kills, conducts a Black Mass – marvelous stuff!
However I am probably not great casting. Needs an Italian style actor. Pacino, channeling his inner Richard the Third.
No, in the end I would happily settle for a very showy cameo. The one agreed when the novel was originally optioned for screen ten years ago.
I would play the slave ship’s master, Captain de la Vallerie. He hates slaves, especially their stench, is always clutching a ball of fragrant herbs to his nose… which is so Gallically-large that everyone just calls him Big Nose. He’s a good sailor though, mad in battle, and when he charges his one ship into action to fight three pirates, he wears full black armour – and dances the galliard in it.
Now there’s a scene I dream of shooting!
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