The Black Tower

The Black Tower

3.73 (3,256 ratings by Goodreads)
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Description

From Louis Bayard, the acclaimed author of Mr. Timothy and The Pale Blue Eye, comes The Black Tower, a stunning and pitch-perfect novel featuring the real-life criminal who transformed himself into the world's first and greatest detective. In The Black Tower, Bayard deftly interweaves political intrigue, epic treachery, cover-ups, and conspiracies into a gripping portrait of family redemption--and brings to life an indelible portrait of the mighty and profane Eugene Francois Vidocq, history's legendary investigator.
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Product details

  • Paperback | 487 pages
  • 152.4 x 223.52 x 30.48mm | 566.99g
  • HarperCollins Publishers Inc
  • HarperCollins
  • New York, United States
  • English
  • Large type / large print
  • Large type / large print edition
  • Maps; Illustrations, black and white
  • 006166832X
  • 9780061668326

Review quote

"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
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Back cover copy

Vidocq. The name strikes terror in the Parisian underworld of 1818. As founder and chief of a newly created plainclothes police force, Vidocq has used his mastery of disguise and surveillance to capture some of France's most notorious and elusive criminals. Now he is hot on the trail of a tantalizing mystery--the fate of the young dauphin Louis-Charles, son of Marie-Antoinette and King Louis XVI.

Hector Carpentier, a medical student, lives with his widowed mother in her once-genteel home, now a boardinghouse, in Paris's Latin Quarter, helping the family make ends meet in the politically perilous days of the restoration. Three blocks away, a man has been murdered, and Hector's name has been found on a scrap of paper in the dead man's pocket: a case for the unparalleled deductive skills of Eugene Francois Vidocq, the most feared man in the Paris police. At first suspicious of Hector's role in the murder, Vidocq gradually draws him into an exhilarating--and dangerous--search that leads them to the true story of what happened to the son of the murdered royal family.

Officially, the Dauphin died a brutal death in Paris's dreaded Temple--a menacing black tower from which there could have been no escape--but speculation has long persisted that the ten-year-old heir may have been smuggled out of his prison cell. When Hector and Vidocq stumble across a man with no memory of who he is, they begin to wonder if he is the Dauphin himself, come back from the dead. Their suspicions deepen with the discovery of a diary that reveals Hector's own shocking link to the boy in the tower--and leaves him bound and determined to see justice done, no matter the cost.

In The Black Tower, Bayard deftly interweaves political intrigue, epic treachery, cover-ups, and conspiracies into a gripping portrait of family redemption--and brings to life an indelible portrait of the mighty and profane Eugene Francois Vidocq, history's first great detective.
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Rating details

3,256 ratings
3.73 out of 5 stars
5 19% (621)
4 45% (1,476)
3 28% (908)
2 6% (186)
1 2% (65)
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