An interesting, free form biographical novel of the 15th century poet, Francois Villon, is told in sinewy, colorful prose. How much of this is fact is hard to say: Villon lived a life with the whores and thieves of Paris- which is difficult to trace. As an imaginative recreation of a life and time, the book has pace and reality. We meet Villon as a child adopted by a priest (Villon). He later passes his examinations, but having no calling for priesthood, law or medicine, feeds his poetry instead on an adventurous existence in the underworld. His one real love for an amoral child of the streets ends in disaster and bitter poetry. Always on the fringe of the law, he is protected by a Robin Hood gang- the Coquillards, in his flight from Paris. For various other offenses, he is arrested and tortured but freed by his adopted father or by powerful friends. And always he writes poetry- a passionate and alive commentary on his uncertain life and times. The book's prose captures some of the raciness and bitterness of this poetry, and a sense of the brawling Paris of those days. It moves at a headlong pace and it is absorbing and emotionally believable.