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Vendetta   By: (1799-1850)

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Vendetta by Honoré de Balzac is a gripping and compelling novel that delves deeply into the themes of vengeance, love, and the destructive power of obsession. Set in early 19th-century Corsica, Balzac paints a vivid picture of a society where honor and revenge reign supreme.

The story revolves around two families, the Porta and the Gamba, who have been feuding for generations. Balzac skillfully weaves together the intricate web of relationships and grudges that have formed over the years, creating a complex and suspenseful narrative. As the plot unfolds, the reader becomes entangled in a world of secrets, hidden motives, and unresolved conflicts.

One of the strengths of Vendetta is Balzac's ability to create multidimensional characters. From the passionate and vengeful widow, Widow Bianchi, to the calculating and manipulative Giacomo Gamba, each character is portrayed with depth and nuance. Their motivations and actions are driven by a potent mix of love, pride, and a thirst for justice, making them both relatable and fascinating.

Balzac's rich and detailed prose adds further depth to the story, immersing the reader in the rugged landscapes of Corsica and the intricate social dynamics of the time. His descriptions of the island's harsh beauty and the timeless traditions of the Corsican people evoke a sense of place that becomes almost palpable as the story unfolds.

In Vendetta, Balzac explores the destructive power of revenge, delving into the psychological toll it takes on both the avenger and the avenged. He raises thought-provoking questions about the nature of justice and the fine line between seeking retribution and perpetuating an endless cycle of violence.

While some readers may find the novel's pacing slow at times, the intricate plot and well-developed characters more than make up for it. The intensity of the narrative builds steadily, keeping the reader engaged and eager to uncover the mysteries that lie at the heart of this timeless tale.

In conclusion, Vendetta is a masterful work by Honoré de Balzac, showcasing his mastery of storytelling and keen insight into the complexity of human emotions. This novel is a must-read for fans of historical fiction and those who appreciate a well-crafted tale that explores the depths of the human psyche.

First Page:


By Honore De Balzac

Translated by Katharine Prescott Wormeley


To Puttinati, Milanese Sculptor.



In the year 1800, toward the close of October, a foreigner, accompanied by a woman and a little girl, was standing for a long time in front of the palace of the Tuileries, near the ruins of a house recently pulled down, at the point where in our day the wing begins which was intended to unite the chateau of Catherine de Medici with the Louvre of the Valois.

The man stood there with folded arms and a bowed head, which he sometimes raised to look alternately at the consular palace and at his wife, who was sitting near him on a stone. Though the woman seemed wholly occupied with the little girl of nine or ten years of age, whose long black hair she amused herself by handling, she lost not a single glance of those her companion cast on her. Some sentiment other than love united these two beings, and inspired with mutual anxiety their movements and their thoughts. Misery is, perhaps, the most powerful of all ties.

The stranger had one of those broad, serious heads, covered with thick hair, which we see so frequently in the pictures of the Caracci. The jet black of the hair was streaked with white... Continue reading book >>

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