BOOK: The Black Tower by Louis Bayard.

This incredibly gripping and brilliantly-written historical mystery gives us a new spin on the old story of Louis Charles, the son of Marie Antoinette, who was imprisoned as a boy when his parents were executed as part of the republican takeover of France in the 1790’s. The boy, only 8 at the time his father was killed, was tortured, forced into labor, and eventually locked in a dark prison cell with virtually no human contact for months. He became ill and died. And the moment his death was announced to the people of France, the rumors of his daring escape came to life.

Bayard’s novel, inspired by those rumors, tells us the story of what might have happened to Louis Charles, both while he was in prison and after his (fictitious?) escape. It begins with the murder of a man with a secret, killed in a dark alley with the name of a young doctor scribbled on a piece of paper in his pocket. The infamous Vidocq, the real-life founding director of France’s Sûreté Nationale, tracks the doctor down — Hector Carpentier — and quickly manages to convince him to help with his investigation. The two men begin to follow the clues, eventually uncovering an incredible tale of Hector’s father, also a doctor, and his attempts to save the life of the famous Louis Charles himself.

Did he succeed? Did Louis Charles live? Damned if I’m tellin’. But man, this book was just REALLY entertaining and extremely well done. Hands-down one of the best mystery/thrillers I’ve read in recent memory, and highly, highly recommended!  (p.s. Louis Bayard’s other historical mystery, The Pale Blue Eye, was one of my top ten favorite books of 2006, so if you haven’t read that one either, check it out!)


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4 Responses to “BOOK: The Black Tower by Louis Bayard.”

  1. Brie Says:

    Sounds great! Just what I need, another book to add to my “Must Read” list. This list keeps growing now that I am working in a Library, whatever will I do?

  2. Trip Says:

    But are there zombies ?!

  3. megwood Says:

    There’s a guy they think is dead who turns out not to be dead. Close enough?

  4. Trip Says:

    Would that make him…undead…then? Good enough for government work.

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