The Pale Blue Eye: Book summary and reviews of The Pale Blue Eye by Louis Bayard

The Pale Blue Eye

by Louis Bayard

The Pale Blue Eye by Louis Bayard X
The Pale Blue Eye by Louis Bayard
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  • Published in USA  May 2006
    432 pages
    Genre: Mysteries

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Book Summary

At West Point Academy in 1830, the calm of an October evening is shattered by the discovery of a young cadet's body swinging from a rope. The next morning, an even greater horror comes to light. Someone has removed the dead man's heart. Augustus Landor—who acquired some renown in his years as a New York City police detective—is called in to discreetly investigate. It's a baffling case Landor must pursue in secret, for the scandal could do irreparable damage to the fledgling institution. But he finds help from an unexpected ally—a moody, young cadet with a penchant for drink, two volumes of poetry to his name, and a murky past that changes from telling to telling. The strange and haunted Southern poet for whom Landor develops a fatherly affection, is named Edgar Allan Poe.

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Reviews

Media Reviews

"Starred Review. This beautifully crafted thriller stands head and shoulders above other recent efforts to fictionalize Poe." - PW.

"Bayard reinvigorates historical fiction, rendering the 19th century as if he'd witnessed it firsthand. He employs words like "caoutchouc," "meerschaums" and "anapestic" as fluently as he uses Gothic tropes. Landor is attacked in the dark woods and in a dark closet. Messengers drive phaetons. There's black magic, phrenology, a profusion of ghosts, even a boat trip through torch-lit mist. But none of it seems musty. Bayard does what all those ads for historical tourist destinations promise: as Landor says at death's door, "the past comes on with all the force of the present." - The New York Times.

"Between the rigors of military life and the natural mysteries of the Hudson valley, this period mystery moves methodically to the suspects, the motives, and the clues that twist and turn like the Hudson itself." - Library Journal.

"The revelation in the mystery's denouement is so shocking and smart that the entire tale is turned upside down. At novel's end, the reader may want to start again from the beginning." - Kirkus.

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Author Information

Louis Bayard Author Biography

Louis Bayard is a New York Times Notable Book author and has been shortlisted for both the Edgar and Dagger awards for his historical thrillers, which include The Pale Blue Eye and Mr. Timothy. His most recent novel was the critically acclaimed young-adult title Lucky Strikes. He lives in Washington, D.C., and teaches at George Washington University.

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