Author: Émile Zola

Category: Literary Fiction

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A French family’s origins and their life under Napoleon III’s Second Empire are explored in this classic novel by the author of Thérèse Raquin. Émile Zola’s The Fortune of the Rougons is the first entry in his epic Les Rougon-Macquart cycle of novels. The cycle begins as Louis-Napoleon Bonaparte leads his coup d’état of December 1851 to create the Second French Empire. While the aristocrats support the monarchy, the workers support the republic. Murder, treachery, and greed spread across the land as the new empire is built with violence, and the “fortune” of the Rougons will be paid for in blood . . . The Fortune of the Rougons opens as young lovers Silvère and Miette join woodcutters and peasants in a republican army to resist Napoleon III and seize control of their town of Plassans. As the action continues, author Émile Zola explores the foundations of the Rougon family and its illegitimate Macquart branch, bringing to light hereditary weaknesses that will pass to future generations . . .