Goodreads helps you keep track of books you want to read.
Start by marking “Beau Geste” as Want to Read:
Beau Geste
Enlarge cover
Rate this book
Clear rating
Open Preview

Beau Geste (Beau Geste #1)

3.95  ·  Rating Details  ·  2,121 Ratings  ·  123 Reviews
French Legionnaires find one of their fortresses manned by dead men. Who could have done it? A flashback unravels the mystery of the three English Geste brothers. A classic, rip-roaring tale of adventure.
Hardcover, 367 pages
Published December 1st 1976 by Buccaneer Books (first published 1924)
More Details... edit details

Friend Reviews

To see what your friends thought of this book, please sign up.

Reader Q&A

To ask other readers questions about Beau Geste, please sign up.

Be the first to ask a question about Beau Geste

Community Reviews

(showing 1-30 of 3,000)
filter  |  sort: default (?)  |  Rating Details
Aug 02, 2014 Jim rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
I've read that a classic is a book that is never finished saying what it has to say. I further define one by it being a great story hidden behind awful, dated writing that has been butchered by Hollywood, & forced upon too-young souls by sadistic English teachers. This book escaped half of the usual criteria.

First & foremost, not one of my sadistic English teachers (I went to a prestigious prep school & had many.) ever forced me to read this book, thankfully. It's taken me years to g
Jan 06, 2013 K. rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Reread Dec 2012, loved again.
What a fabulous book!! I am SO enjoying building up my reactionary library (see article pasted in below).

Beau Geste was an ultimate boy/man book (to be much enjoyed by women who love real men too:). While I have to admit that there wasn't, perhaps, anything mind-blowingly profound in this book (except maybe that it's so very different from the messages found in most more modern lit), there were a few things I thought made this book one I want the little men I'm
Apr 14, 2016 Squire rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Cleverly-structured and engrossing adventure/mystery story with an intriguing set up for the main story of three brothers joining the French Foreign Legion. Terrific British flair in speech and action carry this story through it's occasional lulls. Wren also uses a lot of French terms and phrases in the book to give an appropriately exotic flavor. While there are no footnotes in the text I read, context clues and being able to "see" the spelling of the words helped in deriving appropriate meanin ...more
Mike (the Paladin)
This is one of those books I've been meaning to read since...well since i was a kid. Gary Cooper is Beau Geste for me. I'll say this...that old movie isn't too far from the book and it captures the book's adventure.

Told from the beginning by a Frenchman (who of course gets the "compliment" that he's like an Englishman) telling the spooky, frightening, foreshadowing/climactic tale of Fort Zinderneuf. He lead the relief column to the fort which he found unfallen with it's gates closed and locked..
Nov 11, 2010 Jacqueline rated it it was amazing
Shelves: owned, historical, classic
Is this book why I named my son Beau? I don't know but I'm pretty sure it was in the back of my mind when it came time to name him. :-) I read this when I was around 13 to 15. I loved it and am planning to read it to my boys as soon as I think they can tolerate the language. A great adventure story with the French Foreign Legion. What could be better? It's not a perfectly crafted novel but is wonderful anyway.
When I was a girl, boys would talk about running away to join the Foreign Legion. I have a feeling this book, or maybe the movies made based on it are where they got this idea.
The dramatic story of the French Foreign Legion, where men hid from the law or a woman - but never from death!

Call me naive, but I had my doubts about if there really was a French Foreign Legion. Not only was I wrong about it existing, it still exists, they even have a website:
Whatever your origins, nationality or relig
This is one of those books I have wanted to read since I was in Junior High School. I loved the movie with Gary Cooper that I saw as a kid and have since rediscovered it on DVD and watch it periodically. The book did not disappoint although the beginning dragged on a little and although I knew what was going on having seen the movie I feel it would be a bit unintelligible for someone reading this for the first time and not knowing the story.
The story is "the" classic story of the French Foreign
Helena Jole
Jan 29, 2012 Helena Jole rated it liked it
Classic British tale of mystery and run-away-and-join-the-Foreign-Legion adventure. It was a good read, though it did drag in places, and I absolutely hated the ending. Or not the ending so much, but the bit right before the ending.

I first encountered this book at my grandmother's house when I was maybe 10 or so. One bedroom had a big deep closet with a bookshelf full of old Superman, Lone Ranger, and Uncle Scrooge comic books. We used to spend hours in that closet every time we visited. There
Hal Johnson
Beau Geste is pretty much the perfect book. It's more or less about some jewel thieves who flee to the French Foreign Legion to escape capture. Once in the middle of the desert, they find that a psychotic and sadistic commandant wants them dead so he can claim the jewel; a cabal of Mediterranean-types wants them dead so they can claim the jewel; the other Legionnaires want them dead so they can murder the psychotic commandant our heroes our too noble to mutiny against; and the Bedouins want them ...more
Wade Grassman
Aug 20, 2011 Wade Grassman rated it it was amazing
Shelves: adventure
Let me say that I am a huge fan of old adventure movies, one of my favourites has been Beau Geste (’39 with Gary Cooper, Robert Preston and Ray Milland). The source book has been on the “Get to read list” for a very long time, thanks to my wife’s thoughtful gift of a Nook last Christmas, I’ve been slowly popping off some of the classics on that list.

If you have a Nook or a Kindle, I would advise you don’t get the lowest price version of this classic. The text was so filled with typos it was dif
Mar 03, 2012 Jc rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
I have seen each of the film versions of this, including Marty Feldman's "Last Remake...," at least 3 times each (NOTE: don't bother with the 1966 Doug McClure/Leslie Nielsen/Telly Savalas version!!; the 1926 & 1939 versions are both must see). But, I had never read the book before. It is very much a 1920s romantic adventure, and the model for many a Fr.Foreign Legion book and film made since then. Don't expect a modern novel, but if you have fun with The Saint and other adventure/mystery bo ...more
Robert Hays
May 31, 2013 Robert Hays rated it it was amazing
I have the good fortune to have access to a great collection of classics from my late father-in-law's 1930s and '40s library. Beau Geste is one of the books I was a long time getting to, and that's a shame. What a read! I know it was made into a movie--maybe more than once, I'm not sure--and so if you watch classic movies you may have seen it. With an exotic setting that features the French Foreign Legion, how could it fail? But I promise that if the opening scene of Beau Geste doesn't grab you, ...more
Gordon Jones
Mar 15, 2016 Gordon Jones rated it it was amazing
Great book, very sad though.
May 05, 2016 Realini rated it it was amazing
Shelves: theater, delightful
Beau Geste by P. C. Wren
Worthwhile story about valor, self-sacrifice, idealism, gallantry, character and love…actually, there is more, but this is the one sentence summary after all…

First of all, I will not speak about the novel or the film.
What I listened to is an adaptation for radio, made like a century ago if you consider the static on the recording.
But the stars of the play are none other than:
- Laurence Olivier (Baron Olivier) and Orson Welles
Some say that Baron Olivier was the greatest Br
Gita Madhu
Nov 30, 2015 Gita Madhu rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
My Family and Other Animals (Corfu Trilogy, #1) by Gerald Durrell
Early Education a la Gerald Durrel
I had a rather unfettered childhood thanks to my psychiatrist father. School I found most repulsive and so I hardly attended. The empty field, near our small bungalow, in Bangalore, provided all the education I desired and a gentle elder sibling nudged books my way when I began to read.
The Secret Seven (The Secret Seven, #1) by Enid BlytonBut, while Enid Blyton corrupted my naive years with her adventure stories, I was more strongly drawn to dictionaries.
High School English Grammar and Composition by H. Martin
The transition to H. Martin, P.C. Wren’s High School E
Nov 01, 2015 Matthew rated it liked it
It is one of the mysteries of yesterday’s popular fiction that much of it rapidly becomes barely readable to future generations of the general public. In the case of popular novels written before the twentieth century, we often see the works as stiff and stilted. In the case of popular novels written from this point on, we end up seeing the books as stodgy and starchy.

Why this change, we may ask? I think it partly reflects changes in education. Before the twentieth century, education was less un
Feb 01, 2015 Sathyan rated it liked it
Mr. Wren constructs in this book an excellent plot, mixing mystery, adventure, and psycho-drama. The opening narrative of de Beaujolais, concerning the fort manned by corpses and containing a vanishing murderer, is well calculated to arouse interest. The concluding resolution to the theft of the Blue Water is very clever, though more from the viewpoint of the reader interested morally in the characters than from that of one interested mechanically in the theft. Aside from these elements of myste ...more
Penny Jupp
Dec 05, 2014 Penny Jupp rated it it was amazing
Beau Geste is undeniably my favourite novel: it has mystery, action, adventure, a little romance, and a wealth of eminently likeable characters.

It's a 'Foreign Legion Story' (the first, and arguably the best, in fact); so there's a lot of content relating to the habits and general exploits of the French Foreign Legion in North Africa. There are also rather wonderful descriptions of Arab cafés in Sidi; the various peoples encountered on the boys' journey from raw recruits to soldiers at an outp
Sep 04, 2008 Ann rated it it was amazing
Amazing story! The beginning is a bit confusing and you have to allow time to get into the flow of the language and the old-fashioned style of the story. But once you do - wow! Brothers Beau, Digby, and John and their friends Hank and Buddy and of course Sgt. Lejaune are characters you will never forget. I understand the 1939 movie version with Gary Cooper was quite good, although the idea of Gary Cooper playing a 20 year old English gentleman is a bit of a stretch!
May 17, 2009 Viktoriya rated it did not like it
Shelves: classics, 2009
This book was recommended to me by someone who read it as a teenager. I can see the appeal this book would have on a boy that age. All that heroism, adventures, running away from home, the mystery of a stolen jewel. Reading it at my "old" age I didn't really see all that appeal. I think this book would have benefited from a better editor. I can't tell you how many times I was about to give up reading this book.
Aug 11, 2014 [G] rated it really liked it
An immensely readable popular novel from the 1920s, unfortunately marred by contemporary reflexive anti-semitism & xenophobia. If one can ignore these elements & focus on the story, what emerges is a very gripping tale of the Foreign Legion. Starting with a mystery of the desert, flashing back to the youth of the narrator & his 2 elder brothers in England, this tale is funny & tense & moving in turns. It's a testament of Wren's ability that he can make the somewhat incredible ...more
May 23, 2010 Manny rated it liked it
Shelves: children
When people talk about running away and joining the Foreign Legion, they're probably referring to this book, even if they don't know they are. Stirring British Empire stiff-upper-lip stuff. There is a fantastic scene near the end which I often think of.
C Mac
Sep 29, 2011 C Mac rated it it was ok

OH where
is Max Perkins when you need him

wordy slog
adventure story

far too much dead space
nothing nothing is happening

does not age well

see the Gary Cooper movie
its much better than the book

yours truly
Sep 04, 2007 Jenna rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: everyone!
Shelves: favoritebooks
One of the best books I've ever read. It made me laugh, cry, and feel for all the characters like no other book. An must read for anyone who loves the classics
Oct 06, 2014 Stephen rated it liked it
At age ten I read the classic comic and recall the disappearance of the Blue Water sapphire and how "Beau" then left for the Foreign Legion taking the blame for a crime no one seriously suspected him of. I forgot his surname was Geste. What he did was certainly a beau geste. Sixty years later I caught up to the book, prompted actually by goodreads. Enjoyable, certainly, but O.Henry might have done the whole story as well in twenty pages . I found doings in the Foreign Legion dragged a bit. I bet ...more
Apr 02, 2016 Teri-k rated it it was ok
This story begins with the rather wordy description of the finding of the mysterious French Foreign Legion's Fort Zinderneuf, (known to many of us thanks to Charles Schultz and Snoopy) in North Africa. Then it switches to England to give the background of the three Geste brothers, Michael, called Beau, his twin Digby and their younger brother John, who narrates the rest of the book. The three boys and two female cousins are being raised by their Aunt Lady Patricia Brandon. Lady Brandon's husband ...more
Sep 22, 2014 Joseph rated it it was amazing
Truly the greatest book I have ever read. I should also state that Beau Sabreur and Beau Ideal, along with Beau Geste, should all be considered one story. This story taught me so much in my early childhood and teens that I have no idea what I would be like if I had never read these books. The pure romance, the realistic battle scenes, the explosive resolution to wrenching mysteries, all with the immaculately crafted literature itself makes out to be pure art. If you only read 3 books in your lif ...more
Jaime Contreras
Sep 04, 2015 Jaime Contreras rated it liked it
Shelves: fiction
While I have seen three film versions of this novel, I had never read this classic novel. Now that I have, I must say that the film versions took license with the story. The novel itself is decent but it does drag at some points. There are whole sections spent on the culture of train travel, men's attire and social attitudes. For me, the book does not pick up until it is 55% through. It is then that the reader is thrust headlong into the military culture of the foreign legion and the dangers wit ...more
Larry Piper
Mar 15, 2016 Larry Piper rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: adventure
As I understand it, this is one of those archetypical books of an earlier era in which noble, privileged Englishmen ran off to the French Foreign Legion so as to confront adventure and romance. They're all so honest, upright and noble, never noticing for a moment that they're hideously racist and are actively supporting a system of empire in which they think it's the white man's God-given right to plunder the wogs, or something. They euphamize this all by calling it "peaceful penetration". It so ...more
Herman Labuschagne
Jan 21, 2014 Herman Labuschagne rated it it was amazing
This is one of the most outstanding adventure novels of all time. My grandmother urged me in the strongest terms over the span of years. When I finally took the book from her library at the age of about 13 I went cartwheeling trough time and space to land headlong in a world of infuriating flies, insufferable heat and and raging sand storms.

Surrounded by mystery and intrigued, I lived in the world of Beau Geste for days, not wanting at all to return to the real world. Everything was real about
« previous 1 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 99 100 next »
There are no discussion topics on this book yet. Be the first to start one »
  • Empires of Sand
  • The Four Feathers
  • The Sea-Hawk
  • The Great Impersonation
  • The Black Rose
  • Mr. Standfast (Richard Hannay, #3)
  • Prince of Foxes
  • Rupert of Hentzau
  • The African Queen
  • A Study in Scarlet / The Hound of the Baskervilles
  • The Coral Island
  • The Master of Ballantrae
  • Journey's End (Heinemann Plays)
  • The Talisman
  • A Sailor of Austria: In Which, Without Really Intending to, Otto Prohaska Becomes Official War Hero No. 27 of the Habsburg Empire
  • Sword Woman and Other Historical Adventures
  • Great Expectations & Hard Times
  • Drums Along the Mohawk
Percival Christopher Wren (1 November 1875[1] – 22 November 1941) was a British writer, mostly of adventure fiction. He is remembered best for Beau Geste, a much-filmed book of 1924 involving the French Foreign Legion in North Africa, and its sequels, Beau Sabreur and Beau Ideal.

Born as plain Percy Wren, in Deptford, South London, England, Percy was the son of a schoolmaster. His literary influenc
More about P.C. Wren...

Other Books in the Series

Beau Geste (3 books)
  • Beau Sabreur
  • Beau Ideal

Share This Book