Blaise de Monluc: Selections from Charles Cotton's translation of the Commentaires
chosen by A. W. Evans
"On a fine morning in the early years of the sixteenth century, a young Gascon gentleman mounted upon a Spanish horse, might have been seen riding forth from his father's estate of Monluc, near Nérac, bound for the Italian wars.... Fifty years later, the same adventurer, now a marshal of France and an ex-Governor of Guyenne, 'maimed by wounds in almost all his limbs,' and 'without strength or hope ever to be cured of that great Harquebuz-Shot in his face,' sat down to dictate the story of his adventures. A story long recognised in France as, not only a valuable contribution to history, but one of the best books of adventure that have ever been written."
Monluc (or Montluc) was very active in the French Wars of Religion. As a Marshall of France and committed to carrying out the will of the King, he executed his duty with great vigour, and by his lights, honourably. Those on the receiving side of his actions saw him as a monster acting with great cruelty — see The Life of Jeanne d'Albret, Queen of Navarre.
The English translation of the entire "Commentaires", written by Charles Cotton (co-author of The Compleat Angler), is now very rare, but this volume gives a good flavour of the man and the times, the tricks and the strategems employed by every side in the shifting battlegrounds of Renaissance Europe.
Blaise de Monluc: Selections Amazon US / Amazon UK