If the theme of the book and its field of investigation - the battle history - seem very classic, the author has nevertheless achieved a very modern book, in the good sense, by including in its narrative and its personal analyzes all the ingredients of meticulous research, comprehensive and taking far enough height to give all its meaning to the two-day event.
After quickly profiled in France, Switzerland and Italy in the early sixteenth century, Coral Amable takes us into its first chapters to the discovery of future armed opponents. If the ordinances French companies are well known with their "spears" of 6 men (a weapons man, two mounted archers, a Coutilier and two assistants), the particularities of the "warriors" Swiss (author voluntarily prefer this term than to characterize the soldier) that are part of a culture of violence are not. The author then lists the strengths and weaknesses of each: pikemen and halberdiers turned to the offensive in all circumstances and a "moral winner" (within the meaning assigned by Ardant du Picq) in Confederate ; excellent cavalry, artillery and modern tax resources above all their opponents in French.
The following chapters discuss the operational maneuvers, crossing by an unexpected route in the Alps by Francis I of Villafranca or surprise, and probably more, diplomatic maneuvers that continued until the eve of the battle. One of the points that the book puts the best value is the extreme division which reigns then in the Swiss cantons and their contingents deployed in Italy, shared their attitude vis-à-vis the Kingdom of France and, finally, that the decisive role Cardinal of Sion, Matthäus Schiner, to convince them to finally battle against French.
The evocative and very accurate account of the fighting and the conduct of the battle of the book is the main course. The author has very good idea to intersperse chronological account of the events by some thematic asides on horses, white armor, the king's place in battle, how the Swiss wielding pikes and halberds and lances French the effectiveness of muskets or the origin and holding combat black bands of mercenaries lansquenets. All this is written in a tone particularly pleasant and often not without humor that is characterized by a historical rigor at all times, thanks to the exploitation of texts or archive whose references are cited regularly notes.
Brilliant victory of a young and dynamic affable king Marignan does not testify as long as the result of a reign that will be much harder and contrasted. "1515 Marignan" allows anyway to deeply understand its issues and its progress, as is its methodical exploitation by the royal propaganda Francis of service. The other merit of the book is to immerse ourselves concretely in the heart of the battle and its violence whose reality may seem to us today so foreign. The conclusion finally sheds light on the many lessons of Marignan: the importance of money for war, codes of honor or shortness of Swiss and French military models. The book ends with a brief mention of some individual destinies.