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Spangle, Hardback Cover
Hardback Cover
Author Gary Jennings
Country United States
Language English
Genre(s) Historical novel
Publisher Atheneum Books
Publication date 1987
Media type Print (Hardback)
Pages 869 pp
ISBN ISBN 0-689-11723-X
OCLC Number 14718906
Dewey Decimal 813/.54 19
LC Classification PS3560.E518 S6 1987

Spangle is a historical novel written by Gary Jennings and first published in 1987.


Plot introduction

After surrendering at Appomattox Court House in Virginia at the end of the American Civil War, two Confederate soldiers meet and join Florian’s Flourishing Florilegium of Wonders, a traveling circus that has managed to continue performing throughout the war. Escaping from the coming Reconstruction of the South, the circus embarks for Europe where they meet many adventures as they travel throughout Europe between 1865 and 1871.

Plot summary

Spangle is a historical novel written by Gary Jennings (1928-1999). Published in 1987, it follows a circus troupe known as "Florian's Flourishing Florilegium of Wonders" from the Confederate surrender at Appomattox to Europe, ending in France during the Franco-Prussian War. The book chronicles the rise of the troupe from a small "mud show" with few acts to the glittering toast of Paris, while delving into the evolving personal lives of its performers. The book is also an examination of the social structures of both post-Civil War America and Europe during a period in which the ancient system of monarchy was toppling. The main protagonist, other than the circus itself, is Zachary Edge, a former Confederate colonel embittered by war who accepts a position as the Florilegium's equestrian director. Edge's trials, both professional and personal, form the core of the plot, which details Edge's rise in the ranks of the circus in parallel to the rise of the Florilegium.

Important Characters



Name Nom de Théâtre Nationality Occupation Notes
Florian Alsatian Circus Owner/Governor
Ignatz Rooseboom Captain Hotspur Dutch Lion tamer and rosinback rider.
Jacob Brady Russum Tiny Tim Trimm American Dwarf, joey clown.
Lieutenant Colonel Zachary Edge Colonel Ramrod, Buckskin Billy, Colonel Plantagenet-Tudor American Equestrian Director, trick rider, and trick shooter.
Sergeant Obie Yount The Quakemaker American Strongman.
Magpie Maggie Hag Spaniard Fortune teller and seamstress.
Edith Coverley Clover Lee American Rosinback trick rider.
Sarah Coverley Madame Solitaire American Rosinback trick rider. Mother of Clover Lee.
Jules Fontaine Rouleau Monsieur Roulette American Acrobat and aeronaut.
Hannibal Tyree Abdullah the Hindu American Elephant trainer.
Nellie Cubbidge Autumn Auburn English Tightrope walker.
Corporal Foursquare John Fitzfarris Sir John Doe American Tattooed man and sideshow director.
Abner Mullenax Barnacle Bill American Pig trainer, lion tamer, and "Crocodile Man."
Phoebe Simms Madame Alp American Fat lady. Mother of Sunday, Monday, Tuesday, and Quincy Simms.
Sunday Simms Mademoiselle Butterfly American "White African Pygmy," tightrope walker.
Monday Simms Cinderella American "White African Pygmy," tightrope walker.
Tuesday Simms American "White African Pygmy."
Quincy Simms Ali Baba American Contortionist.
Rosalie Brigid Mayo Pepper Irish Perch pole artist and hair hang artist.
Cecile Makkai Paprika Hungarian Perch pols artist and trapeze artist.
Kim Pok-tong Korean Antipodist.
Kim Tak-sung Korean Antipodist.
Kim Hak-su Korean Antipodist.
Pavlo Smodlaka Serbian Dog trainer. Husband of Gavrila and father of Velja and Sava Smodlaka.
Gavrila Smodlaka Serbian
Velja Smodlaka Serbian Albino.
Sava Smodlaka Serbian Albino.
Spyros Vasilakis The Gluttonous Greek Greek Sword swallower and fire eater. Husband of Meli Vasilakis.
Meli Vasilakis Amazon maiden Greek Snake charmer.
Morris Levy Maurice LeVie French Trapeze artist.
Giorgio Bonvecino Zanni Italian Toby clown.
Jörg Pfeifer Fünfünf Whiteface clown.
Samuel Reindorf Little Major Minim, Wimper Polish Dwarf and joey clown.
Shadid Sarkioglu The Terrible Turk Turkish Strongman and velocipedist.
Agnete Knudsdatter Miss Eel Danish Contortionist.
Nella Cornella Emeraldina clown.
Bernhard Notkin Hanswurst clown.
Ferdi Spenz Kesperle clown.
Cecil Wheeler The Wheeling Wheelers British Velocipedist and Plimpton skater.
Daphne Wheeler The Wheeling Wheelers British Velocipedist and Plimpton skater.
Jean-François Pemjean Le Démon Débonnaire, Pemjean l'Intrépide French Lion tamer.
Szábo Katalin Cricket Hungarian Dwarf and "Enchanted Globe."
Jászi Arpád Hungarian Trick rider.
Jászi Zoltán Hungarian Trick rider.
Jászi Gustáv Hungarian Trick rider.
Timoféi Somov Kostchei the Deathless Russian Scarred freak.
Princess Raisa Vasiliyevich Yusupova / "Olga Somova" (alias) Brunhilde Russian Giant.
Giuseppina Bozzacchi "The Music-Box Dancer" Italian Ballerina.

Notable Crew Members

Name Alias Nationality Occupation Notes
Dai Goesle Stitches Goesle Welsh Canvasmaster.
Carl Beck Boom-Boom Beck Bavarian Bandmaster, rigger, and calliope player.
Aleksander Banat Slovak Roustabout crew chief.
Baron Wilhelm Lothar Wittelsbach Willie Lothar Bavarian Chefpublizist.
Gombocz Elemér Hungarian Cimbalom player.
Ioan Petrescu Romanian Seamstress.
Pierre Delattre French Plumber.


Name Alias Breed Notes
Peggy Brutus Elephant.
Mitzi Ceasar Elephant.
Maximus Lion.
Thunder Claybank quarter horse. Main performance horse, and former cavalry mount, for Zachary Edge.
Lightning Horse. Former cavalry mount for Obie Yount.
Bubbles Dapple gray horse. Main performance horse for Clover Lee.
Snowball White horse. Main performance horse for Madame Solitaire.
Terry Terrier. One of three dogs used by the Smodlaka family.
Terrier Terrier. One of three dogs used by the Smodlaka family.
Terriest Terrier. One of three dogs used by the Smodlaka family.
Kewwy-Dee Syrian bear. Named due to Mullinax misunderstanding the phrase Q.E.D.
Kewwy-Dah Syrian bear.
Raja Bengal tiger.
Rani Bengal tigress.
Siva Bengal tigress.
Anwalt Striped hyena.
Berater Striped hyena.
Stars Zebra.
Bars Zebra.
Mustafa Camel.
Rumpelstilzchen South American dwarf horse.
Fafnir Python.

Release details

Also released as a trilogy mass market paperback:

  • 1999, USA, Forge Books The Road Show: Spangle #1 (ISBN 0812564715)
  • 1999, USA, Forge Books The Center Ring: Spangle #2 (ISBN 0812564723)
  • 1999, USA, Forge Books The Grand Promenade: Spangle #3 (ISBN 0812564731)

See also


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