The Ghost in the Eiffel Tower

The Ghost in the Eiffel Tower

by Olivier Bleys
     
 

Paris 1888. Armand and Odilon are young apprentice draughtsmen in the offices of Gustave Eiffel, working on what will be the engineer’s greatest invention and the city’s most famous landmark. The Eiffel Tower is the symbol of a new age, but in the exotic gas-lit streets of Paris, strange beliefs, dark desires and mysterious forces are loose. Soon Armand

Overview

Paris 1888. Armand and Odilon are young apprentice draughtsmen in the offices of Gustave Eiffel, working on what will be the engineer’s greatest invention and the city’s most famous landmark. The Eiffel Tower is the symbol of a new age, but in the exotic gas-lit streets of Paris, strange beliefs, dark desires and mysterious forces are loose. Soon Armand and Odilon find themselves involved with a spiritualist society who hold seances in the Paris Morgue, a card-reading clairvoyant, a female ventriloquist with a shady secret and a spirited young actress. Behind them all are the scheming machinations of Gordon Hole, an ambitious American architect who has vowed to destroy the Eiffel Tower before it can even be completed.

Editorial Reviews

Kirkus Reviews
Dark doings in Paris in 1887 as engineer Gustave Eiffel supervises construction of his Tower. French author Bleys's fourth novel, winner of the Prix du Roman Historique, focuses initially on two Eiffel employees: Parisian bon vivant Odilon Cheyne and ingenuous provincial "hick" Armand Boissier. The two become devoted friends (and are labeled "the twins") at work and at play-and Odilon leads the starry-eyed Armand to a "spiritualist society" led by clairvoyant Apolline Serafon (to whom Cheyne is secretly married). Through these new friends Armand meets and falls for stunning young actress Roseline Page. All seems bliss-until scheming American engineer Gordon Hole, jealous of Eiffel's increasing celebrity and sworn to ruin him, engages drug-addicted layabout Gaspard Louchon as his henchman in a plot that also involves a lissome ventriloquist named Salome. Roseline is kidnapped and her death counterfeited, and the suggestible Armand is persuaded that Eiffel had stolen (Roseline's father) Gordon Hole's conception-and that it is Armand's duty to prevent the Tower's completion. An attempt on the partially finished structure is abandoned when Armand encounters a "luminous shape" that he interprets to be Roseline's ghost. These not-unentertaining absurdities proliferate blithely, reaching a climax somewhat delayed while Bleys laboriously displays the fruits of his evidently exhaustive researches. The villainous Gordon Hole (and what a pity it is Peter Sellers isn't around to portray him), a Francophobe of gargantuan proportions, deviously masters the art of French cooking, posing as a chef at the Exhibition where the Tower will open to the public. And the cavalry (consisting of "the twins" andtheir respective beloveds) arrives just in whatever is the Gallic equivalent of the nick of time. Bleys is clearly enjoying himself, and readers who don't take this nonsense seriously may do the same. A fictional souffle: airy and insubstantial, but really rather sweet.

Product Details

ISBN-13:
9780714530949
Publisher:
Marion Boyars Publishers Ltd
Publication date:
12/01/2003
Pages:
420
Product dimensions:
5.10(w) x 7.70(h) x 1.10(d)

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