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Indie Next ListSeptember 2008
In The Black Tower, a ne'er-do-well medical student is surprised by the founder and chief of a newly created Paris plainclothes police force and is asked to help solve a mystery involving French royalty, with surprising and dangerous results. Bayard's talent for spinning a suspenseful story along the margins of known history makes his books irresistible! -- Carol Schneck, Schuler Books & Music, Okemos, MI
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 Frances 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 Pariss 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 Hectors name has been found on a scrap of paper in the dead mans pocket: a case for the unparalleled deductive skills of Eugène François Vidocq, the most feared man in the Paris police. At first suspicious of Hectors 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 Pariss 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 Hectors 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 Eugène François Vidocq, historys first great detective.
About the Author
A writer, book reviewer, and the author of Mr. Timothy and The Pale Blue Eye, Louis Bayard has written for the New York Times, Washington Post, and Salon.com, among other media outlets. He lives in Washington, D.C.
Praise for The Black Tower LP…
“Bayard is a fearlessly confident writer. We are treated to all of the narrative verve and sly wit—both plot twists and turns of phrase—that make his books such a pleasure to read.”