This translation was nearly 10 years in the works and eagerly anticipated by the historical fencing community. John Michael Greer's understanding of the time period, historical philosophy and language make this text an excellent resource. The plates from the original text are recreated in excellent high quality and make this work worth having all by themselves. These engraved plates were done by a small army of some the best and most famous engravers in Europe. Sadly many of the original historical copies of this text have had the lavishly illustrated plates removed and sold individually at art auctions for extremely high prices.
As a scholarly translation of a historical renaissance text this book is brilliant. As a book of reproductions of renaissance illustrations it is also brilliant. The illustrations are beautifully reproduced, and they are incredible in themselves, engaging the reader as much as the text. The line etchings are a testimate to the art by some of the best in history and so packed with ornementation and fine detail to inspire staring at them for hours. As a study for historical hermetic thought and the art of memory this book is also invaluable. Added value to this work is that historical fencers are actively studying this system of rapier and the translator travels with them to lecture at fencing seminars.
Thibault discusses philosophy and sacred geometry and then goes on to show how proportion is the basis for the study of the sword. Covered in intimate detail is the use of the rapier alone to fence against an opponent with single rapier, rapier and dagger, rapier and shield or longsword. In addition possibly for the first time in history is written down how to use zig zag running to come up on a man using a musket to fire at the swordsman. Thibaults attention to detail is refreshing in the efforts to re-learn a dead art as these details are so often lacking to the martial arts enthusiast.
Many years in the making the book was published after Thibault died and before he could write the section on combat from horseback.
Thibault's text was lauded as the most elaborately and lavishly illustrated book on fencing ever created. The pictures from the original are highly sought after by collectors. This text is a must have.