Men of Iron (1891) by Howard Pyle tells the story of young Myles Falworth and his quest to restore the honor of his family during the reign of King Henry IV in the early 15th century. The novel includes illustrations by Pyle —who was also a well-known artist — and inspired the 1954 film The Black Shield of Falworth starring Tony Curtis. Its detailed description of the training and initiation process for aspiring knights have made it a favorite "coming of age" story for generations.
Meanwhile, Scaramouche: A Romance of the French Revolution by Rafael Sabatini (1921) recounts the adventures of Andre-Louis Moreau, a young lawyer caught up in the intrigues of a nation in upheaval. Born with "a gift of laughter and a sense that the world was mad", Andre-Louis assumes several disguises in his quest for justice and truth, including that of a comedic actor in a traveling theater troupe. This novel also inspired a silent film in 1923 and a 1952 movie starring Stewart Granger that includes one of the longest sword fight scenes ever filmed.
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