So the book concludes in a flurry of death, frustration and tragedy. The pace is maintained by the switching back from Andres carrying Robert Jordan’s message trying to stop the attack to the tension in the camp about what the morning will bring. Then when the attack starts the action makes reading 50 pages feel like reading five.
Bullet points between pages 351 – 444
* Andres sets off to take the message but it takes a long time and he accepts he will miss the attack and when the message gets through it is too late
* Pablo returns with five rebels promising to fight for the cause
* Robert and Anselmo blow up the bridge while Pablo and the five new rebels dispatch the other sentry post
* Anselmo is killed as are two more of the group – Fernando and Eladio - and the five rebels who Pablo found are shot by him as he escapes from an armoured car
* As the remaining members of the group escape Robert breaks his leg as his horse is injured and signals to Pablo that he can’t go on because he will slow them down
* Robert convinces Maria to leave and then settles down with a gun to wait for the fascist troops to come.
It is too early to produce a full review of the book because its impact is still very fresh. But even now you can rank this as a brilliant novel that puts you in the minds of multiple characters allowing you to share the ectasy of love, the frustrations of war and the fear and dangers of action.
Will post a full review tomorrow.
Sticking with American writers will start Grapes of Wrath by John Steinbeck on Monday.