The quest to grow a black tulip doesn't have the same narrative appeal as Dumas's Count of Monte Cristo or Three Musketeers, but it provides adventure enough for those who love the great melodramas of the nineteenth century. Peter Joyce delivers a fine rendition of Dumas's meaty prose and is especially good at depicting villains and brutal jailers, less effective at conveying his nubile heroine. Although this is a lesser work by Dumas, the author's judicious detachment, voiced so well in Joyce's calm and untroubled delivery, holds the promise throughout that innocence will triumph and justice eventually prevail: The villain will be vanquished, and the power of the black tulip will somehow open the prison doors and unite the fateful lovers.
When tulip-grower Cornelius van Baerle is framed for treason and sentenced to death, he is powerless against the brutal factional politics that put him in prison. But Rosa, the jailer’s daughter, is beautiful and strong-willed, and when they fall in love she determines not only to save him but also to grow the near mythical flower: the black tulip.S et in the savage turmoil of Holland’s late 17th century, this intimate novel celebrates the power of integrity over obsession, and tolerance over violence; and it creates in the black tulip a symbol of humanity’s potential.
Public Domain (P)2011 Naxos AudioBooks
Thanks Audible. I have been able to enjoy this book due to the great reading of Peter Joyce. I had tried several times to listen to this book by a different narrator but without success.
The Black Tulip is an engaging romp through Holland in 1673 when religious differences cost people their lives in brutal fashion and tulip bulbs were so highly valued as to provide fodder for a tale of spying, mystery and imprisonment. Alexandre Dumas is on a par with Walter Scott for creating novels filled with intrigue, mystery, action and passion.
Other reviewers have praised Dumas' gift for dialogue. I find that his dialogue is elevated, yet still usually a pleasure to read. It is, however, unlikely to be reflective of the reality of speech of the uneducated peasant characters. On the other hand, his appreciation for human motivations and personlities is superb, his sense of pacing in building suspense keeps the pages turning, and his third person narration style is highly entertaining. His asides to his "gentle readers" lend personal warmth, amusement, and intimacy to his tale.
While this novel does not provide great philosophic depth, that would be equivalent to criticizing shrimp for not tasting like steak. My only real complaint is the overblown romance scenes with the constrained desires, pent up yearning, and prudery of Walt Disney's Cinderella. I suppose this is, to some extent, a byproduct of writing of the topic of sexual attraction during the early 19th century.
Overall, this is a fun tale, full of action, suspense, and enough interesting historical details to keep at bay the gremlins of self-reproach for time wasted through frivolous reading.
This audible version was well performed and easy to listen to with clear delineation of different character voices.
Love and flowers may go hand-in-hand, but generally they don't come alongside a prison cell. Dumas takes a break from the political intrigue found in most of his stories, and writes a (relatively) short novel without the use of weaponry (for the most part). It's a drastically different feel from The Three Musketeers or The Count of Monte Cristo, but it's still distinctly Dumas, as he manages to work love and intrigue into a story woven around a tulip.
The Black Tulip takes place in Holland of 1672 (not the France of most of Dumas' works), and opens describing both why the tulip is important and why the protagonist gets thrown into jail. From there it's an enjoyable journey that easily holds the audience's interest. Unlike most works by Dumas, this one comes in as a much shorter story, leaving Dumas with less time to ramble on with thoughts and descriptions, keeping the plot clean and simple.
Peter Joyce does a great job of narration with this story, giving distinct voices to the different characters, and helping the story to flow.
A great story for any Dumas fan, or for anyone wanting to see if they like his work without investing the time needed for the Three Musketeers or Count of Monte Cristo classics.
Yes, it is a great story.
I don't think I will ever lose the image of Cornelius and John DeWitt being murdered in the streets.
I don't have a favorite.
A man nearly destroyed by the love of Tulips.
I tried to listen to this book twice and could not get past the first 30 minutes. I enjoyed the narrator's voice, but the story was simply not engaging.
Yes, it was a good audiobook.
Cornelius. Poor guy loves tulips so much it's great.
A horticultural and political thriller.
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