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The Black Tower (2008)

by Louis Bayard(Favorite Author)
3.73 of 5 Votes: 3
0061173509 (ISBN13: 9780061173509)
William Morrow
review 1: Grabbed the audio of this on a whim from the library and wound up enjoying it quite a lot. I found the tone of the book to be a mix of PG Wodehouse and AC Doyle. The narrator did an excellent job with the voice characterizations. It started very strong and seemed to flag a bit towards the end with a few jarring modern phrases like "cut my losses" popping up in the dialogue. (A bit of research attributes the phrase to the writing of the economist David Ricardo, mid 19th-century, definitely pre-Restoration.) But outside of such nitpicking, it was generally an enjoyable light listen.
review 2: This ended up being a much better than expected historical fiction mystery. It's 1818 in Paris. The Bourbon monarchy has just been restored, and no one wants to talk about t
... morehe revolution, the terror, or the little Corsican now imprisoned on Elba. But when a man is murdered with the name and address of Hector Carpentier on a piece of paper secreted in his underwear, Hector finds himself drawn into a mystery that opens a lot of the old wounds. While the young medical student swears he didn't know the dead man, Paris's leading policeman, Eugene Francois Vidocq, presses him into service. Together they visit the homes of the high-born and the low-lifes, slowly unraveling a seemingly impossible tale of what really happened to Louis-Charles, son and heir to the beheaded Louis XVI and Marie Antoinette and nephew to the man currently on the throne. Was Hector's father really involved in trying to save the Dauphin? Bayard does a magnificent job of setting the atmosphere for each location in the city. The story is told with wit (despite the fact that Vidocq was apparently on the portly side, it's almost impossible not to see Johnny Depp in the role) and pathos. The story builds to an excellent climax and I found the ending quite satisfying. I listened to the audio version, narrated by the incomparable Simon Vance. The man is just brilliant and brings subtle nuances to each character, which really added more to the story. less
Reviews (see all)
I really liked the historical part of this book - I was unaware of the "lost king".
Great atmosphere of what Paris was like during this time frame.
Good book with a Sherlock Holmes feel.
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Not bad.
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