Wednesday, December 3, 2008

The Black Tower by Louis Bayard

The Black Tower was an excellent historical fiction novel and I highly recommend it. It was my Kewaunee library book club book for this month. I decided to read it early since I didn't finish last month's book on time (for the first time ever!).

The Black Tower is set during the restoration in France in 1818. Hector Carpentier, is a doctor, scientist, and long term graduate student that lives with his mother. Dr.Carpentier is going routinely through life when he suddenly meets Vidocq, France's premier dectective and is pulled into a murder mystery. Solving the mystery will delve into one of France's top mysteries, what happened to the Dauphin? Did he die of neglect in 1795 as reported, or did he escape and live on? The plot is intriguing and the characters certainly come alive. Vidocq is a larger than life, eccentric man. It was a delight to read about him. I had never heard of him before, but I'm glad that I now know about him. The mystery was great, but left open at the end. Was the Dauphin saved? I think myself and most people like to think so as trying to imagine how a small child could have been treated with such cruelty and neglect is incomprehensible. It's better to think that he had a happier life elsewhere.

Overall, if you love historical fiction and mystery, I highly recommend this novel. The characters are great and the story is riveting. It was a quick read while on the road to Minnesota for Thanksgiving!

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