The Last Cavalier is an incomplete, posthumous release by Alexandre Dumas of ‘Three Musketeers’ fame. It was discovered some years ago by his official historian, Claude Schopp who, being the most knowledgeable and qualified, completed it.
It is about Napoleonic wars.
Why I Picked It Up
I’ve been curious to read a Napoleon novel for some time, but I’d never gotten around to it. Imagine my surprise when a Google search revealed Dumas, one of my favorite authors, has written just such a book! I downloaded a sample right away!
What I Like About It
Well, it’s a novel by one of my favorite authors, it has an interesting past, and it appears to be about Napoleon. You’ll see in a second why this section is so short…
What Could Be Better, If Anything
The book is over 900 pages long, and they give a generous, hundred page sample. Problem is, a book with as interesting a past as this has MOUNTAINS of forewords, prefaces, introductions, notes from the translator, etc.
I stopped reading when it became apparent none of Dumas’s actual story was within the sample.
Usually I skip forewords, intros, and sometimes even prologues to get to the story, then return and read them when the story’s done, but this sample was all intro!
The majority of the sample consists of Schopp writing about how he came to find and restore the manuscript. It is interesting and I feel a bond with another Dumas fan, but it’s not what I wanted, dammit! The Sample Ends before we get into Dumas’s actual Narrative.
Your sample is where you sell your book, plain and simple. As such, you want it to be as accurate a depiction of the narrative as possible.
I (and I don’t think I’m alone in this) don’t trust the book market enough to buy books sight unseen. I need you, your characters, and your plot to SHOW me WHY I SHOULD CARE.
Think of your sample as a contestant on “The Bachelor,” or some shit. A girl at a bar. Your book and I are on a first date—now why should I take it home with me?
When I opened this sample and found it contained none of the narrative, I filed it away in the “maybe I’ll check out a print copy later,” category. Know how many times I’ve been to the bookstore since then? Two, but I keep forgetting to pick up The Last Cavalier.
Don’t let your book get filed away. Give readers a good sample.
Do you buy books based on title and cover alone? Leave me a comment!
ALSO, I’ve a CONTEST on! Go Enter it!