In this installment of The Classic of the Month, we’ll be looking at a military mystery of sorts. This book starts off with a bang, as we hear a story about a group of soldiers who investigate an abandoned fort full of dead soldiers propped up at attention, all at their battle stations and ready for action. What happened to the dead men? And what’s the explanation for their strange positions? That, and the fate of a stolen sapphire are the central mysteries to this thrilling adventure story about the French Foreign Legion.

Book of the Month

Beau Geste (1924) by P.C. Wren

Opening Words

Mr. George Lawrence, C.M.G., First Class District Officer of His Majesty’s Civil Service, sat at the door of his tent and viewed the African desert scene with the eye of extreme disfavour. There was beauty neither in the landscape nor in the eye of the beholder.

Beau Geste, P.C. Wren

What’s it all About?

Beau Geste starts, as I said before, with a jarring image. A group of soldiers from the French Foreign Legion discover one of their forts to be inhabited by dead men. Each man is propped up at his battle station, gun in hand, almost as though he was still alive. But, no one knows why this is. The story then jumps to the three Geste brothers, John, Digby, and Michael (known as “Beau”). When their aunt’s greatest possession, a gorgeous sapphire known as “The Blue Water” disappears, the three boys are suspected of foul play. One by one, they escape to the French Foreign Legion for a life of adventure as a solider, and the mystery remains unsolved. Narrated by Beau’s brother, John, this fascinating military tale details the brothers’ military careers, as well as answering two very important questions: What happened to the Blue Water? And what happened in the fort?

Read this if you Enjoy…

  • Historical Mysteries
  • Lots of action and suspense
  • War stories
  • Stories about brothers

Final Thoughts

I read this story about a year ago with my grandpa. I had never read it before, and he had seem the movie, which he said was very good. Even though war stories are not my usual cup of tea, I was completely enthralled. This is a great combination of a classic war story, an adventure story, and a mystery. And these three aspects of the tale seamlessly weave themselves together into a tale that is full of suspense, the harsh realities of war, and two staggering questions, which are both answered by the end of the book.

If you enjoyed reading this story, there are sequels to be picked up as well! These titles are a bit harder to track down, but they are available through Interlibrary Loan. Start with Beau Sabreur and then Beau Ideal.

Erin

I'm the Reader's Advisory Librarian at WPPL. My interests include old horror films, classic novels, manga and anime, paper-crafting, and plants. If you like my suggestions, you can request personalized recommendations from me on My Librarian page.