Beau Sabreur

by Percival Christopher Wren. New York: Frederick A. Stokes Co. 1926. 12mo. x+368 pp. $2.00.
BEAU SABREUR fights with some valiance on occasion for his lady and France. He may well be called upon to employ that valiance in defending the anonymous individual who on the green jacket lustily proclaims. ‘Here’s another Beau Geste!’: he may well be summoned to support with his sword Captain Wren, his creator, who declares that the book is a truthful record of the adventures of actual men and women. For the critical armies are certain to swoop down to battle both author and jacketwriter. Beau Sabreur is not a second Beau Geste, nor even, as some would say, a second-rate Beau Geste — a conclusion to which this reader is forced, despite a first seventy-five pages which contain vivid, fascinating pictures of the boisterous life of the Blue Hussars. Beyond this point the volume lapses into a preposterous love story of the desert. Here is none of the grim mystery of the fort of Zinderneuf which in a measure compensated for the fevered, often amateurish style of the earlier volume and undoubtedly accounted for its popularity; here are for the most part only labored humor, mawkish ness, unreality.
Most unreal of all, perhaps, are the Americans so idealistically, so flatteringly pictured. From Puget Sound to Penobscot, from Huron to Houston, these fantastic creatures might wander and yet find no man to call them brother. They belong to that fictitious family of Americans who, originating in the novels of James Fenimore Cooper, and perpetually endowed with firearms, a big heart, and an exaggerated dialect, have come to be accepted for the real thing by the European imagination.
Where the story is military it is interesting, picturesque, convincing, but Captain Wren, in riding his shambling camel across the deserts, would do better to keep his hand on his rifle rather than his heart.
BEN LUCIEN BURMAN