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"Fin Tireur" 1905   By: (1864-1950)

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Robert Smythe Hichens' 1905 novel, "Fin Tireur," takes readers on a captivating journey through the dark alleys and intrigue-filled streets of Paris. Hichens skillfully weaves together a tale of love, ambition, and revenge, immersing readers in a world where nothing is as it seems.

The story centers around the life of the protagonist, a young artist named Armand Dufresne. Hichens masterfully portrays Armand's complex character, delving into the depths of his ambition and the haunting motivation for his actions. Armand's relentless pursuit of success, spurred by his desire to elevate himself from poverty, adds a layer of depth to his character that resonates with readers.

One of the most striking aspects of "Fin Tireur" is the vivid and atmospheric portrayal of Paris during the early 20th century. Hichens paints a rich and evocative picture of the city, capturing the essence of its bustling streets, lively art scene, and its darker underbelly. This attention to detail transforms the setting into a character of its own, adding an extra layer of depth to the narrative.

Furthermore, Hichens skillfully infuses the novel with a sense of mystery and suspense. As Armand's world begins to unravel, the reader is kept on the edge of their seat, anxiously awaiting each twist and turn. Hichens expertly maintains this tension throughout the novel, leaving readers eagerly flipping the pages to uncover the truth behind the protagonist's actions.

The author's prose is elegant and evocative, skillfully capturing the emotions and inner turmoil of the characters. Hichens' descriptions are vivid, transporting readers directly into the heart of the story. The dialogue is natural and engaging, giving the characters a distinct voice and adding an element of authenticity to their interactions.

Despite the strengths of the novel, it is not without its flaws. At times, the pacing slows down, particularly during lengthy passages of introspection and self-reflection. While these sections provide insight into Armand's mental state, they can feel slightly repetitive and may test the patience of some readers.

However, the strength of Hichens' compelling storytelling and his ability to create rich and complex characters far outweigh any minor drawbacks. "Fin Tireur" is an enthralling read that transports readers to the vibrant world of early 20th-century Paris, leaving them with a lingering sense of wonder and intrigue long after the final pages. Whether you are a fan of historical fiction or simply enjoy a well-crafted tale, this novel is sure to captivate and engage you from beginning to end.

First Page:


By Robert Hichens

Frederick A. Stokes Company Publishers

Copyright, 1905

Two years ago I was travelling by diligence in the Sahara Desert on the great caravan route, which starts from Beni Mora and ends, they say, at Tombouctou. For fourteen hours each day we were on the road, and each evening about nine o'clock we stopped at a Bordj, or Travellers' House, ate a hasty meal, threw ourselves down on our gaudy Arab rugs, and slept heavily till the hour before dawn, drugged by fatigue, and by the strong air of the desert. In the late afternoon of the third day of our journeying we drove into a sandstorm. A great wind arose, carrying with it innumerable multitudes of sand grains, which whirled about the diligence and the struggling horses, blotting out the desert as completely as a London fog blots out the street on a November day. The cold became intense, and very soon I began to long for the next halting place.

"Where do we stop to night?" I shouted to the French driver, who, with his yellow toque pulled down over his ears, was chirping encouragement to his horses.

"Sidi Hamdane," he answered, without turning his head. "At the inn of 'Fin Tireur.'"

Three hours later we drew up before a low building, from which a light shone kindly, and I scrambled down stiffly, and lurched into the longed for shelter... Continue reading book >>

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