The Black Tower

The Black Tower by Louis Bayard. Unlike his previously-reviewed title about a grown-up Tiny Tim, Bayard accepts an altogether different challenge in his new book by writing about the real-life character, Eugene Francois Vidocq, the first director of the French Surete and the inspiration for several fictional private detectives. During the days of the Restoration in 1818 Paris, Bayard has Vidocq investigating the possible reemergence of Louis-Charles (Louis XVII), son of the deposed Louis XVI and Marie-Antoinette. Charles supposedly died in 1795 while imprisoned in the Black Tower, but imposters have been reappearing and claiming the throne ever since Napoleon’s defeat at Waterloo brought the monarchy back into power. Vidocq drags into the investigation our narrator, Hector Carpentier, son of the doctor who tended to the dauphin in prison. Hector’s association with Vidocq leads him into several instances of physical danger, but also forces him to reexamine his father, his mother and himself.

Thankfully, Bayard’s well-crafted writing from his previous books is in evidence once again in this tale. His Restoration Paris is just as vivid as his Dickensian London and the supporting characters, such as the aged Father Time, friend to Hector’s father, enliven the action-filled narrative. Many characters are named after people from Vidocq’s real life, but, although many claimants to the French throne certainly came forward, the author’s ambiguous ending does not propose with any certainty that the dauphin escaped the Tower and survived. As he did in Mr. Timothy, Bayard actually uses two writing styles, including entries from the doctor’s journal from his days caring for the prince.


0 Responses to “The Black Tower”

  1. Leave a Comment

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s

Contact me

ascot6361 at

RSS feed


%d bloggers like this: