Gorgeous East by Robert Girardi
Posted by Caitie F on March 15, 2011
Summary (from goodreads):
A sweeping tale of love and redemption, honor and war, Robert Girardi’sGorgeous East follows three French Foreign legionnaires of very different backgrounds from the cliffs of Mont Saint-Michel to Istanbul’s ancient alley ways, from raucous Parisian bars to the desolate Sahara.Gorgeous East takes us on an epic and unforgettable adventure with the wonderful John Smith, a lost Brooklynite they call the Handsome American Cowboy; Colonel de Noyer, the elder statesman slowly going mad; and Captain Pinard, whose past is so hideous he can’t find love outside the Legion’s walls. When a mission in the Sahara goes horribly wrong, one legionnaire must wage battle against a rogue terrorist group and rescue his brothers-in-arms. In this tremendous return to form, Girardi show cases his sheer love of language and luminous sense of place to deliver a masterful novel of the hearts and minds of soldiers of fortune
Those who regularly read my blog may have read the summary of this book and checked where you were again! This is not my typical read and for good reason, this was the last of the “blind date” books I got from the library! I read the inside cover and thought it might be interesting.
And was it ever! I was completely unfamiliar with the Foreign Legion before reading this book. In France, any foreigner can come to the Legion, give up their passport, take a vow and a new name, and become a Legionnaire…after intense training that is meant to teach them honor. It is brutal, but it is not a place for anyone who has anything left in the world. It is known as a place for crooks, drunks, and the low in life. All of that information was eye-opening, and I immediately saw why someone would set a book with this group of men.
It follows three fascinating and flawed men who are brought together in Africa for a peacekeeping force in a part of the Sahara that has been fought over for decades. There is a new terrorists group that is cutting off heads and soon two of the men are captured by them. The twist of the founding of the group was great and had a lot to say about political teachings and upbringing.
It was a very exciting book and I would recommend it if you like this kind of book. It crosses genres somewhat, it isn’t just action or just war. There is some romance and suspense.
The one thing I didn’t like was the cover. I don’t think the style of the cover matches the style of the book at all. Luckily, I read it anyway and am very glad I did!