The Maranas by Honoré de Balzac

Les Marana
The Maranas
Also translated as Juana

It is the time of the Peninsular War when France was fighting in Spain. Marshal Suchet commands a division in Taragona, which is a coastal town on the northeast coast of Spain. The town has been taken and sadly pillaged by Colonel Eugune’s regiment, which is made up of well born, but misfit, Italians. Two of this regiment’s members are the focus of the story. Captain Montefiore, the regiment’s clothing officer, is from Milan. He is a handsome libertine with an entailed income and a bit of a coward called “Captain of the Ravens” because he scurries out of range as soon as he smells powder. His friend is Quartermaster Diard, a collector of stolen art, a gambler, a talker, a man with some financial means. Continue reading