An interesting work and one that is very much the work of a genius. It has Hugo's meandering style in spades and the plot almost gets lost at one point, but Hugo pulls it all together. The whole thing is very well done and sharply done.
The book is set against the background of the French Revolution, which Hugo brings beautifully alive. Hugo is very much on the side of the Revolution, but sees both the good and the bad in it as well as the good and the bad of the Royalists. It is quite subtly and cleverly done with the horrors of civil war first and foremost in mind. The writing is wonderful and subtle. He manages to subtly work in such things as the innocence of children without going overboard. Furthermore, Hugo is a master of the small scale military skirmish and no one writes them as well.
However, it all goes off track at the end. I do not really object to the plot so much as the French Revolution lends itself to extremes of human behaviour, but it all becomes a bit maudlin and overly sentimental and the end philosophical discussion is particularly poorly done, using a sledge hammer and being in a way just too sentimental. If the ending was not so much weaker than the rest of the book in its execution, then I think we would have another undisputed masterpiece.
Good book. Shame about the ending.