Angelo by Jean Giono
Angelo, a young Hussar colonel and expert swordsman, has had to escape into France from his native Piedmont after killing an Austrian police-spy in a duel. Travelling the roads of Provence disguised as a French workman, he falls in with an eccentric marquise, Celine de Theus, and becomes a guest at the chateau, where she lives with her elderly brother Laurent. It is in the early years of the nineteenth century, the era of seditious movements to unseat those in power and destabilise monarchies - and no one has a greater appetite for fishing in these troubled waters than Laurent, whose years are belied by his youthful energy on horseback. Now he has married a raven-haired beauty in the prime of youth, and she is not indifferent to this new Italian guest. Angelo is the archetypal novel of romance and intrigue, which Jean Giono vests with a psychological depth that transcends the genre. Readers of Angelo's and Pauline's adventurers in The Horseman on the Roof will welcome the opportunity to meet them both in this novel which first introduces them.