This is the winner of the 1938 AcadÃ‰mie FranÃ‡aise award, an historical novel set in Normandie in the middle of the last century. La Verende is a specialist in his field, the legends, customs, history of the famous Chouan families, that last outpost of feudalism, Norman peasants and lords hand in hand resisting political and religious change, staunch adherents of the Bourbon tradition and of God. This concerns AmÃ‰lien de La Bare and his two sons, Manfred, heir to the estate, and Gaston, the ugly duckling. It is Gaston's story, a puny, withdrawn child -- with his strange passion for horses and fanatical religious fervor. The conflict between property and the church constitutes the drama of the novel. However the action is the least part. The vitality of the book lies in the very scrupulous picture of a dying medieval tradition and way of life.