Ninety-three by Victor Hugo
Ninety-three, the last of Victor Hugo's novels, is regarded by many -- including such diverse critics as Robert Louis Stevenson and Andre Maurois -- as his greatest work. 1793, Year Two of the Republic, saw the establishment of the National Convention, the execution of Louis XVI, the Terror, and the monarchist revolt in the Vendee, brutally suppressed by the Republic. Hugo's epic follows three protagonists through this tumultuous year: the noble royalist de Lantenac; Gauvain, who embodies a benevolent and romantic vision of the Republic; and Cimourdain, whose principles are altogether more robespierrean. The conflict of values culminates in a dramatic climax on the scaffold. Following a distinguished career as a civil servant, James Hogarth acquired a reputation as a versatile and punctilious translator. His translations span travel guides, archaeological texts, and novels. In 2002 he won the French-American Foundation Translation Prize for his English translation of Victor Hugo's Travailleurs de la Mer. He died in 2006.