The Black Tower: A Novel

The Black Tower: A Novel

4.0 38
by Louis Bayard
     
 

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Vidocq! Master of disguise and chief of a newly created plainclothes police force, Vidocq is a man whose name sends terror rippling through the Parisian underworld of 1818—and the inconsequential life of Hector Carpentier is violently shaken when Vidocq storms into it. A former medical student living in his mother's Latin Quarter boardinghouse, Hector finds

Overview

Vidocq! Master of disguise and chief of a newly created plainclothes police force, Vidocq is a man whose name sends terror rippling through the Parisian underworld of 1818—and the inconsequential life of Hector Carpentier is violently shaken when Vidocq storms into it. A former medical student living in his mother's Latin Quarter boardinghouse, Hector finds himself dragged into a dangerous mystery surrounding the fate of the dauphin, the ten-year-old son of King Louis XVI and Marie-Antoinette presumed to have suffered a cruel death years earlier in Paris's dreaded Temple. But the truth of what happened may be even more shocking—and it will fall to an aimless young man and the most feared detective in Paris to see justice done for a frightened little boy in a black tower . . . no matter what the cost.

Product Details

ISBN-13:
9780061982682
Publisher:
HarperCollins Publishers
Publication date:
10/06/2009
Sold by:
HARPERCOLLINS
Format:
NOOK Book
Pages:
384
Sales rank:
303,953
File size:
832 KB

Meet the Author

A writer, book reviewer, and the author of Mr. Timothy and The Pale Blue Eye, Louis Bayard has written for the New York Times, Washington Post, and Salon.com, among other media outlets. He lives in Washington, D.C.

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Black Tower 4 out of 5 based on 0 ratings. 38 reviews.
MarilynHS More than 1 year ago
The reader is drawn into the early 19th century world of France. It's a wonderful story about the "sudden" emergence of Louis-Charles, son of Marie-Antoinette and Louis XVI. Could this dirty and unkempt prson with amnesia be thetrue heir apparent? Very interesting and uncommon character who is the detective trying to unravel the mystery. Very good!
TWTaz More than 1 year ago
Really enjoyed this book. Thought it was a very entertaining mixture of fiction and history with a great cast of characters and a mystery that kept me interested right to the end. This was the first book I read by Louis Bayard and I immediately purchased The Pale Blue Eye after finishing The Black Tower. I would definitely recommend this book.
Guest More than 1 year ago
Take my word for it, this is a very entertaining read . The mystery, the humor, the emotion, all make this one enjoyable experience . It will have you guessing right up to the last page....and then some .
Guest More than 1 year ago
Carve out some free time. You won't want to put this one down for a minute. I was fortunate to not have missed work due to lack of sleep, albeit I did miss a good part of Labor Day weekend reading 'The Black Tower' cover to cover! It's a great mystery, but Bayard has such a human quality and gives such depth to his characters. Best I've read since Pearl's debut novel 'The Dante Club'.
Guest More than 1 year ago
For anyone who loves a great historical mystery this is the series for you! Louis Bayard has a distinctive form of writing bringing the early 19th Century France alive & filled with quirky characters such as Vidocq who has just iniciated the plainclothes force called the Sureté. He reminds me of Colombo who appear to be rumpled & annoying but highly intelligent & Sherlock Holmes who is also a master of disguise. You are drawn into the plot immediately & you won't be able to put this book down until you have finished the very last page. Then, you have this incredible desire to pick the book up & read it again! The mystery continues to the very last page! An amazing read! Louis Bayard is now my #1 favorite historical mystery writer! This series is a must read.....
Ktisue More than 1 year ago
I have to admit that I bought this book for the sole reason I had seen it before and it was cheap, but after reading it I might just make this author one of my regulars. The story is a dark historical fiction about France (mainly Paris) after the Napoleonic era. It was a bit of a struggle for me at first, getting along with the authentic names and places that were obviously french, but it did get easier as the book progressed. I found the book enchanting and difficult to put down. The twist at the end is fantastic, and I really like the tone that Bayard leaves off with. An excellent read.
Guest More than 1 year ago
Hector Carpentier, a Parisian medical student recounts his strange unexpected encounter with Vidocq, a former convict turned head of a mysterious police force and unusual informants known for its unusual luck in capturing some of Paris's most elusive criminals. When a murdered man shows up blocks from Hector's home with the name Dr. Carpentier on a slip of paper, Vidocq intends to do everything within his power to ferret out the truth. As the trial of clues unfold, the past comes back to haunt Hector and indeed Paris itself. Working together yet perhaps also trying to hide the truth, Hector's examination of medical records unveils a mystery ---- what if the young dauphin Louis-Charles, son of Marie-Antoinette and King Louis XVI had not died and somehow survived or even escaped from his imprisonment in the notorious Black Tower? In the meantime, a mysterious man with no memory has surfaced, a man with mysterious links to Hector and the past. Could he be the dauphin? Who might want this man dead badly enough to commit murder?// Louis Bayard's THE BLACK TOWER gives the reader a fascinating look into the Bourbon Restoration as well as the French Revolution's violence and excess that haunt his characters. The journals of the assistant to the doctor attending the dauphin surface, detailing the brutal results of abuse forced on a child in the anti-monarchy fervor of the Revolution. Louis Bayard gives reader a fascinating glimpse into characters and indeed a culture that seeks to erase the past and the origins in the name of justice. History and its effects are seen in the lives of his characters, a city and a country that struggles with its past origins. The changes in the lives of his characters as the past glory fades to a shadow of the past, a more sparse detached life creates a beautiful insight into the way history might have been experienced by people living it. THE BLACK TOWER brings forward the figure of the dauphin, not just as a tie to the monarchy, but as a little boy and a hope in the hearts of those who have lived through the Revolution.// With this beautifully crafted portrait of the times, Louis Bayard adds a riveting tale of suspense and mystery. Picking up in the character some credit as the inspiration for Edgar Allen Poe's Dupin, Louis Bayard takes the reader on a journey to discover the historical and literary origins of detective work itself in the enigmatic Vidocq, a man who would later found the first known private detective agency in 1833. Vidocq is a man with amazing cunning, a man who can twist a confession out of anyone and strike fear into the most hardened criminals. As Hector and Vidocq make a thrilling hunt for the truth, the confrontation of their personalities, the emerging suspects, and plots of conspiracy merge to create a mystery that keeps readers guessing to shocking conclusion. Louis Bayard's THE BLACK TOWER is a delightful mix of literary and detective historical fiction blended with an exquisite fictional imagination, creating a historical 'what if' suspense tale that thrills while it also moves the heart. THE BLACK TOWER is a must read book for all lovers of historical fiction and suspense! THE BLACK TOWER is the kind of book that that demonstrates the best of literary fiction, a book that continues to elicit even more after the last page is read in the hearts and imagination of avid historical readers.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
This was a very different and, hence, enjoyable book. It's nice to get into a different period and learn a little history along the way.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
This is the first Louis Bayard I have read. I was pleasantly surprised. I cannot wait to read his other books!
Bill44BL More than 1 year ago
Louis Bayard is a lovely writer. My wife and I heard the audio book The Pale Blue Eye and were hooked. The Black Tower is a different type of book but similar in its attention to history. However, it would be equally satisfying without the historical references. Fun for readers from teens to seniors.
wvhawk More than 1 year ago
For all Mystery and Historical fiction addicts. Bayard's research is authentic, and his historical detective, that Hugo used in Les Miserables, gives a stunning glimpse in his methods and what dwells deep within his personna. Bayard in Revolutionary France has his place like Phillippa Gregory during the reign of Henry VIII.
lnytns More than 1 year ago
Moved well, and I particularly enjoyed the twist at the end. Keeps you wondering - or does it?
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
This book was a little predictable in the middle, with an interesting twist at the end. Not sure how historically accurate it was. This would not fall into my Must Read category, but it would make a good beach read.
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