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Literature / Gentlemen of the Night

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Written in 1844 by Paul Féval. Originally titled Les Mysteries de Londres which translated in English to The Mysteries of London, but that is also the name of the Penny Dreadful saga by George Reynolds. So for its stage play adaptation it was given the alternate name The Gentlemen of the Night after its feature criminal origination.

In 1830s London, the Marquis of Rio Santo, leader of the criminal empire known as the Gentlemen of the Night, schemes to free Ireland by plunging England into chaos.

In 1847 a pirated abridged English translation was made, it's very rare however but can be read online.

It was latter made retroactively in continuity with The Black Coats and John Devil.

Provides examples of the following tropes:

  • Adaptation Distillation: The Stage Version which condenses and simplifies much of the story. It completely lacks the story of the third volume and contrives a happier ending for Rio Santo
  • Anti-Villain: The Marquis of Rio Santo, could also be viewed as an Unscrupleous Anti-Hero.
  • Big Bad: The Marquis of Rio Santo
  • Byronic Hero: The Marquis of Rio Santo
  • Greater-Scope Villain: Napoléon Bonaparte as well as in another Féval story John Devil. The Big Bad of each claims to have met Napoleon on St.Helena in about 1815-1816. Both have their own reasons for the wars against England, however, and only Henri Belcamp in John Devil could have actually benefited Napoleon (Since the other's main narrative is set after Napoleon died), and Henri even more so is really about his own ambition, he really wants to be the next Napoleon, freeing the first is merely for a Passing the Torch moment. O'Breane in Gentlemen of the Night is motivated by liberating and avenging Ireland. Both are made in continuity with each other via The Black Coats.
  • Greedy Jew: Ishmael Spencer; his character is by far the most dated aspect of the story.
  • Right Behind Me: "Oh Lord! if that rascal Tyrrel to know this..."
  • The Syndicate: The Gentlemen of the Night, the prototype for Féval's latter Les Habits Noirs