MLA Gold Award Site

BookBrowse Reviews The Black Tower by Louis Bayard

Summary |  Excerpt |  Reading Guide |  Reviews |  Beyond the book |  Readalikes |  Genres & Themes |  Author Bio

The Black Tower

by Louis Bayard

The Black Tower
  • Critics' Opinion:

    Readers' Opinion:

  • First Published:
    Sep 2008, 368 pages
    Paperback:
    Oct 2009, 384 pages

  • Rate this book


Book Reviewed by:
Donna Chavez

Buy This Book

About this Book

Reviews

Can the mighty and profane Eugène François Vidocq, history’s first great detective, solve this mystery of political intrigue and epic treachery set in 19th century France?

Literary chiaroscurist* Bayard's 1818 Paris, at the peak (or is it the depth?) of the Restoration after the bloody Revolution, comes alive on the page as Eugène François Vidocq, the father of modern police detection, unravels a complex knot of crimes that could ultimately produce Louis-Charles, Louis XVI and Marie-Antoinette's young son, long thought to have died while imprisoned in the Black Tower (part of the notorious Temple prison in Paris) in 1795. If the person in question is indeed the lost/reputedly deceased dauphin (heir to the French throne) he could displace King Louis XVIII, threatenign his plans for the future of France.

Needless to say tensions run high as red herring after red herring gets thrown into the path of forensic genius Vidocq. Beginning with the murder of an unidentified man who was killed in an alley not far from the home ...

The French Revolution & Restoration
Most readers will recollect the French Revolution of 1789-1799, during which France was transformed from an absolute monarchy based on feudal principles, with the aristocracy and Catholic clergy at the top of the heap, to a republic of (theoretically) free and equal citizens. But some may have forgotten the more than 80 years that followed that saw two restorations of the monarchy and two additional revolutions before something resembling the France we know today hauled itself out of the rubble. In brief:

  • 1789: The French Revolution begins with the storming of the Bastille.
  • 1792: Louis XVI is tried for treason and convicted; the monarchy is abolished. France goes to war with Austria and its allies, including Prussia, (the war will last until 1797).
  • 1793: Louis XVI and Queen Marie Antoinette are guillotined in ...

Members Only

BookBrowse's reviews and backstories are a members-only benefit. Full information is available on books for a limited time when they are featured as "Editor's Choices" - but that time has now elapsed for this book.

Join Today


Member Login


Library Patrons
Member Benefits

Join Now!

Check the advantages!
Just $10 for 3 months or $35 for a year

    •  
    • FREE
    • MEMBER
    • Range of media reviews for each book
    • Excerpts of all featured books
    • Author bios, interviews and pronunciations
    • Browse by genre
    • Book club discussions
    • Book club advice and reading guides
    • BookBrowse reviews and "beyond the book" back-stories
    •  
    • Reviews of notable books ahead of publication
    •  
    • Free books to read and review (US Only)
    •  
    • Browse for the best books by time period, setting & theme
    •  
    • Read-alike suggestions for thousands of books and authors
    •  
    • 'My Reading List" to keep track of your books
    •  

Editor's Choice

  • Book Jacket: The North Water
    The North Water
    by Ian McGuire
    In early 1859 the crew of the Volunteer, a Greenland-bound whaler, is making the most of the last ...
  • Book Jacket: City of Secrets
    City of Secrets
    by Stewart O'Nan
    In his new novel, City of Secrets, Stewart O'Nan spins a tale of espionage and intrigue as ...
  • Book Jacket: The Atomic Weight of Love
    The Atomic Weight of Love
    by Elizabeth Church
    A prologue set in 2011 introduces readers to this novel's unforgettable narrator. Meridian ...

First Impressions

  • Book Jacket

    The Children
    by Ann Leary

    With remarkable wit and insight, Ann Leary pulls back the curtain on one blended family.

    Read Member Reviews

Members review books pre-publication. Read their opinions in First Impressions

Win this book!
Win The Weekenders

The Perfect Summer Escape!

Told with Mary Kay Andrews' trademark blend of humor and warmth.

Enter

Book Discussions
Book Jacket
Girl Waits with Gun
by Amy Stewart

An enthralling novel based on the forgotten true adventures of one of the nation's first female deputy sheriffs.

About the book
Join the discussion!
Word Play

Solve this clue:

B A Usual

and be entered to win..

Books that     
entertain,
     engage

 & enlighten

Visitors can view some of BookBrowse for free. Full access is for members only.

Join Today!

Your guide toexceptional          books

BookBrowse seeks out and recommends books that we believe to be best in class. Books that will whisk you to faraway places and times, that will expand your mind and challenge you -- the kinds of books you just can't wait to tell your friends about.