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The Black Tower (Paperback)
September 2008 Indie Next List
“In The Black Tower, a ne'er-do-well medical student is surprised by the founder and chief of a newly created Paris plainclothes police force and is asked to help solve a mystery involving French royalty, with surprising and dangerous results. Bayard's talent for spinning a suspenseful story along the margins of known history makes his books irresistible!”
— Carol Schneck, Schuler Books & Music, Okemos, MI
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.
About 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.
“Bayard is a fearlessly confident writer. We are treated to all of the narrative verve and sly wit—both plot twists and turns of phrase—that make his books such a pleasure to read.”
“Delicious. [Bayard] inbues(s) his characters with real soul. You may find yourself, more than two centuries after the fact, aching over the fate of the pitiful young Dauphin. A-”
“Louis Bayard repairs to Paris for another daring historical adventure. Bayard makes brilliant application of Vidocq in the fanciful adventure. No snatch–and–run researcher, Bayard takes care to capture Vidocq’s roguish voice and grandiose affectations.”
-New York Times Book Review
“In the world of historical fiction, Louis Bayard is a master at blending history into intelligent thrillers.”
“Louis Bayard finds fictional inspiration in historical fact. He has emerged as a writer of historical thrillers in the vein of Caleb Carr, author of The Alienist, and 19th century writers such as Alexandre Dumas, author of The Count of Monte Christo.”
-Wall Street Journal
“A tale that has as much energy and cunning as the detective propelling it forward.”
-Christian Science Monitor
“A compelling and sympathetic narrator instantly draws the reader into Bayard’s stellar third historical. Bayard keeps the reader guessing until the end. Few writers today can match the author’s skill in devising an intelligent thriller with heart.”
-Publishers Weekly (starred review)
“Having previously channeled Dickens and Poe, historical novelist Bayard throws down the gauntlet to Dumas in another high-energy melodrama. The novel’s witty succession of trapdoor endings, culminating in “the quietest of abdications,” keeps surprising us. Who says they don’t write ‘em like this anymore? Long may Bayard reign.”
-Kirkus Reviews (starred)
“In his fast-moving tale, Bayard deftly places details to make history come alive.”
-Rocky Mountain News
“Bayard doesn’t revisit the past so much as reinvent it, historically and literarily, with a great deal of style, wit and suspense. Dark, surprising and Bayard’s best example so far of a lean and accessible historical thriller.”
“In addition to the many fine, quirky character portraits and the visceral depiction of a chaotic France still reeling under the regime change, Bayard offers a rip-roaring plot full of smart and funny turns.”
-Booklist (starred review)
“The Black Tower breathes life into the world’s first police detective, Vidocq, a literary feat that happily waited for this novelist. As the gripping and nuanced story races through the parlor rooms and back alleys of Paris, Bayard shows why he is at the forefront of literary historical fiction today.”
-Matthew Pearl, author of The Dante Club and The Poe Shadow
“A fascinating detective story about one of the world’s most compelling mysteries. Bayard’s scholarly and beautiful, heart-stopping prose always keeps before us the possibility of an improbability - what mystery is all about.”
-Louisville Courier Journal
“Top-notch historical fiction. Bayard’s is the kind of popular fiction readers are thrilled to discover: equal parts effective plotting, lean but distinctive prose and characters and dialogue that brim with life from the outset. A royally entertaining read.”