The Fencer: L'escrimeur

Francis is a world-class fencer but a damaged and complex young man. Handsome, intelligent, cultured and wealthy, he is the son of a rich father who, after an unfulfilled fencing career, opened his own fencing school so his children could achieve what he could not: the title of World Champion. As children, Francis and his sister were also talented pianists; his heart was thus torn between both worlds. But in defying his father so his sister could study piano at the Conservatory, Francis seals his own fate. Following a fight with his father, he leaves home for good, pledging to one day make his father pay. He also leaves behind his older brother, Germain, the favourite of their father, who is to become his deadly rival. Francis is taken under the wing of Monsieur R., a renowned fencing coach, and moves to Paris to take lessons. He becomes friends with Monsieur R.'s other star pupil, Paolo, the Italian fencing champion, and they become a formidable girl-hunting team, sharing tales of their conquests. But it all comes to a head when Francis meets Agnes...The book tracks Francis' progress, both as he fights to overcome the emotional problems caused by his obsessed father and tries to open his heart to love, and as he advances in the fencing world championship, in a bid to reach the final. The Fencer (L'Escrimeur) is an intelligent and character-driven literary novel, with influences from existentialism and romanticism. Informed by the author's own experience as a former competitive fencer, it provides a unique insight into the world of professional fencing.