Vidocq! Master of disguise and chief of a newly created plainclothes police force, Vidocq is a man whose name sends terror rippling through the Parisian underworld of 1818—and the inconsequential life of Hector Carpentier is violently shaken when Vidocq storms into it. A former medical student living in his mother's Latin Quarter boardinghouse, Hector finds himself dragged into a dangerous mystery surrounding the fate of the dauphin, the ten-year-old son of King Louis XVI and Marie-Antoinette presumed to have suffered a cruel death years earlier in Paris's dreaded Temple. But the truth of what happened may be even more shocking—and it will fall to an aimless young man and the most feared detective in Paris to see justice done for a frightened little boy in a black tower . . . no matter what the cost.
A compelling and sympathetic narrator instantly draws the reader into Bayard s stellar third historical. In 1818, the notorious Vidocq, a master detective who s rumored to work on both sides of the law, pulls 26-year-old Parisian doctor Hector Carpentier into a torture-murder inquiry. The victim, Chr tien Leblanc, died without revealing that he was on his way to visit Carpentier, news that comes as a complete shock to the doctor, as the dead man was a stranger to him. Vidocq soon discovers that Leblanc was actually in search of Carpentier s late father, who bore the same name. The elder Carpentier cared for Louis-Charles, Louis XVI and Marie-Antoinette s young son, who died in prison in 1795. Bayard keeps the reader guessing until the end, though the puzzle aspect is less prominent than in his previous novel, The Pale Blue Eye, which featured Edgar Allan Poe as sleuth. Few writers today can match the author s skill in devising an intelligent thriller with heart.
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ISIS, you ain't gotten nothin' on the French.
I eased into The Black Tower with one eye shut expecting what? A book shouting for an editor? I was enthralled from the opening sentence. The Black Tower quickly became one of those books I had to put down now and then to slow my intensity, to delight at being the fly on the wall in early 1800 French insanity or wonder if perhaps Vidocq might be Sherlock Holmes' demented grandfather.