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from Reviews (ADR)
concerning La Route de Varennes

     In the summer of 1791, King Louis XVI, still clinging to his crown but a near prisoner in the Tuileries, resolved to escape from France, together with his family. His attempt failed when the royal family was detained by the muncipal Government of the town of Varennes, only a few miles from the border. For an instant, the fate of Europe rested on the decision of a grocer summoned from his bed. For, as Dumas writes: "Had Louis XVI not attempted to fly, or had he attempted it and succeeded, quite other events would have followed in place of those which actually transpired. There would have been no civil war, no war against neighboring states, no September 2nd, no Terror, no Bonaparte, no Elba, no Waterloo, no St. Helena."
     Dumas wrote about Louis' abortive flight in his 1855 historical novel, La Comtesse de Charny and subsequently learned that his account contained several errors. In the summer of 1856, Dumas chartered a coach, and retraced the Louis XVI's route, interviewing surviving eye-witnesses, studying the ground, and re-reading memoirs and histories. From this material, Dumas fashioned a short (circa 100 pages in the English translation) but gripping account of the royal family's flight and return to Paris as prisoners.
     Dumas would subsequently re-use the material gathered at Varennes in his unfinished novel Le Volontaire de '92.
     Dumas scholar A. Craig Bell has translated this work into English, published by the Alston Press in Britain, and available through www.amazon.co.uk.

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