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A family saga, and political thriller, set in France

4th January 2018

SAVAGES: The Wedding (Volume 1 – The Saint Étienne Quartet) by Sabri Louatah – a family saga, and political thriller, set in France.

A family saga, and political thriller, set in France

The Wedding is the first book in a four part series, The Saint Étienne Quartet by Sabri Louatah. The storyline of the four books is an epic one. The Nerrouche family, French but of of Moroccan descent, lives in St Étienne in Southern France. The most famous son of the family, Fouad, is a television star – he is also dating the daughter of Idder Chaouch, the first Arab candidate for the French presidency. It is going to be a close race, but Chaouch is predicted to win. Chaouch is wounded (or is he killed?) in an assassination attempt in Paris right at the end of The Wedding – leaving us hanging.

The book switches between St Étienne – where the Nerrouche family is holding a grand wedding – and Chaouch’s campaign trail. Most of The Wedding is concerned with events around the wedding itself – the ceremony, the bickering between the bride’s family and the bridegroom’s, the hassle of the too loud disco, the falling out of various relations, the over exuberance of the photographer. I confess I got a little confused at times as to who exactly was who, and who was related to who. But, at the beginning of the pre-publication copy of the book that I read, there was a blank page entitled ‘List of Characters / Family Tree’ – so, hopefully, this will not be an issue for readers in the published editions.

One member of the family does not turn up for the wedding. Nazir, Fouad’s brother, is a very shady figurer with connections to the underworld and radical extremists. He also has a hold over Krim, his much younger cousin. Krim was found stealing from a local gang leader in St Étienne, and ‘rescued’ by Nazir. Krim attends the wedding, but is summoned straight afterwards by Nazir to head for Paris – we are given clues as to the purpose of the trip.

All four books in the series were published a few years back in France. The Wedding is the first of the them to be translated into English (excellently, by Gavin Bowd – pity I had to really search for his name…). It has just been published. Enjoy it as I did, I get the impression it is pretty much a scene setter… the action is really about to start… The second book, Brothers, Enemies, is due out in August this year – and I shall certainly be reading it.

Tony for the TripFiction team

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