The Black Tower, by Louis Bayard, and an upcoming interview of the author


The Black Tower, by Louis Bayard

I am always on the lookout for French-themed historical fiction. So when I heard of The Black Tower by Louis Bayard, I knew I had to read the novel.

The setting is 1818 Paris. The Bourbons have been unsteadily restored to the throne of France after the successive upheavals of the Revolution and Napoleon’s reign. The novel features no less a character than the legendary (yet historical) convict turned detective Vidocq.

The narrator, naive medical student Hector Carpentier, crosses Vidocq’s path, and also that of a young man who might be Louis XVII, the son of Louis XVI and Marie-Antoinette. Hector will soon come to understand that there is no making sense of the present without uncovering, however painfully, the secrets of the past. The Revolution is over, or so would the characters like to believe, but it casts a long shadow.

As a native Frenchwoman, a lover of fast-paced mysteries, a fellow novelist, I found The BlackTower most enjoyable. First I should note that Louis writes beautifully.His style is spare, elegant, evocative. The characterization is equallycompelling. The protagonists are male, but the female figures are exquisitelydelineated, in particular the Duchess d’Angoulême, sister of Louis XVII, and the narrator’s (fictional) mother. No formulas, no clichéshere. This is writing as it should be.

I am delighted to announce that the author has kindly agreed to be interviewed for Versailles and more. To be posted next week. Stay tuned!

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8 Comments to “The Black Tower, by Louis Bayard, and an upcoming interview of the author”

  1. Catherine Delors says:

    Indeed, Elena, Mr. Bayard does a wonderful job of bringing to life Madame Royale and Vidocq, not to mention Hector’s mother. I would love to have your final impression once you are done reading!

  2. Just to let you know, I am reading this book now and all the characterizations are MARVELOUS! Can’t put it down….

  3. Catherine Delors says:

    You are most welcome, Elena, and I was thinking of you as I was reading it!

    It is indeed right down your alley, and I would love to have your opinion of it, especially the characterization of Madame Royale.

  4. Catherine, if it were not for you, I would not have heard of this book at all. And it is right down my alley! Thank you!

  5. Catherine Delors says:

    Welcome to this blog, Cookie! I liked what you said about Marie Antoinette the movie. I will visit your blog too…

  6. Cookie says:

    I just want to thank you for taking your time out to comment on my blog (re Marie Antoinette). Was so glad I came to your site. Wow! didn’t expect you’re an author. I love everything you wrote in here. I’ll be visiting here more often.

  7. Thank you so much, Sue!

    I too really enjoyed Depardieu’s Vidocq but generally the TV and movie adaptations of Vidocq’s life have been excellent. The best French actors would kill to play the part. But then the historical Vidocq was such a character that there would be no excuse for making him dull.

  8. Sue says:

    I just have to say that I LOVE reading your blog. You always have to most interesting things to say and you point me to places I might otherwise have never seen.

    I recently watched the movie Vidocq with Gerard Depardieu and found the character of Vidocq fascinating. I’m sorry to say I hadn’t heard of him before and I did not know he was a real person. I shall look forward to reading your interview with Louis Bayard and hearing more about Vidoc!

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