It is April 1793 and the final power struggle of the French Revolution is taking hold: the aristocrats are dead and the poor are fighting for bread in the streets. In a Paris swept by fear and hunger lives Gamelin, a revolutionary young artist appointed magistrate, and given the power of life and death over the citizens of France. But his intense idealism and unbridled single-mindedness drive him inexorably towards catastrophe. Published in 1912, The Gods Will Have Blood is a breathtaking story of the dangers of fanaticism, while its depiction of the violence and devastation of the Reign of Terror is strangely prophetic of the sweeping political changes in Russia and across Europe.
Anatole France (Jacques-Anatole-Francois Thibault) was born in Paris in 1844, the only son of a book dealer. Working throughout his life in the publishing industry, he also contributed to various reviews and from 1873 was beginning to focus on his own creative writing. In 1897 he was elected to the Academic Francaise. The decisive shift in his career came in his participation in the Dreyfus affair, on behalf of the convicted Jewish officer. It marked the first stage of his emergence as one of the 'representative men' of his epoch, and brought about his conversion to socialism. Subsequent works reflect thsi sharpened humane concern. He was awarded the Nobel Prize for Literature in 1921. He died in 1924. Frederick Davies is widely known as the translator of the plays of Carlo Goldini. He is a Fellow at Churchill College, Cambridge.