Thomas B(ertram) Costain William Du Bois - Essay

William Du Bois

(Contemporary Literary Criticism)

Readers of Mr. Costain's earlier novels …, will know that he has a special alchemy for every setting he chooses; those who flocked to "The Black Rose" by the hundred thousands will need no invitation to return for more. They will not be disappointed in "The Moneyman."

The author sets his stage brilliantly with his opening chapter. Moving with the great Jacques Coeur (the argentier du roy, or King's Moneyman) through the splendors and stenches of the Louvre, from the queen's card-table to the king's closet, form the perfumed presence of the king's mistress to the hard-backed benches where the king's captains cool their heels, we see the multi-colored tapestry of the Middle Ages in all its hectic splendor, breathe the rot of chivalry in its last, maudlin muddle. Mr. Costain makes it abundantly clear that this was indeed the dark hour before the dawn; seen through the eye of the Moneyman, a modern born centuries before his time, the ridiculous pomp of Charles VII's court takes on new meaning—and the Moneyman's part in the over-all pattern becomes a first-rate dramatic pivot. (p. 1)

Mr. Costain's plots and counter-plots, like Mr. Costain's genius for color, are his own patented secret: they will not even be sketched in this review. Suffice it to say that things end well enough for [two of his central characters, d'Arly and his lady], after the last breathless gallop, the last agonized turn of the rack. Coeur's...

(The entire section is 566 words.)