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The Black Tower | [Louis Bayard]

The Black Tower

Dr. Hector Carpentier leads a very quiet life, until he meets legendary police officer Vidocq, who has used his mastery of disguise and surveillance and his extensive knowledge of the Parisian underworld to capture some of the most notorious and elusive criminals.
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Publisher's Summary

From the acclaimed author of The Pale Blue Eye, this literary thriller features Eugène Vidocq, a criminal who transformed himself into the world's first and greatest detective.

After the execution of Marie Antoinette and King Louis XVI, and the death of their son, the Dauphin, the Bourbon monarchy has at last been restored.

Dr. Hector Carpentier leads a very quiet life, until he meets legendary police officer Vidocq, who has used his mastery of disguise and surveillance and his extensive knowledge of the Parisian underworld to capture some of the most notorious and elusive criminals. Now, with the help of Carpentier, Vidocq may prove that the Dauphin lives, which could change the course of history.

©2008 Louis Bayard; (P)2008 Blackstone Audio, Inc.

What Members Say

Average Customer Rating

3.8 (352 )
5 star
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Overall
3.8 (184 )
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Story
4.2 (184 )
5 star
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4 star
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3 star
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2 star
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1 star
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Performance
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  •  
    Booksmith 09-10-08
    Booksmith 09-10-08
    HELPFUL VOTES
    46
    ratings
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    133
    5
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    "Truly Engaging and Clever"

    I loved this book! Colorful, intriguing characters that come to life. You feel as if you are there in the middle of all this. And the twists!!! You never see them coming! I hope the author writes more with these characters as they are sure to become a favorite among those that adore historical, clever, intelligent detective novels. My ONLY eyebrow raise is the narrators attempt at a woman's voice, it falls a bit flat, but he is a perfect voice for the story overall.

    19 of 19 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Therese 12-05-09
    Therese 12-05-09
    HELPFUL VOTES
    22
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    7
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    "Louis Bayard: The Black Tower"

    A brilliant reading by Simon Vance whose beautiful and expressive voice brings the story-and the marvelous characters, to life. Carpentier and "Vidocq" are a partnership worthy of Dickens. Genuinely mysterious, vivid, comic.. absorbing from beginning to end. One of the very best on audio.

    9 of 9 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Lemons40 Virginia, USA 11-03-08
    Lemons40 Virginia, USA 11-03-08 Member Since 2005
    HELPFUL VOTES
    48
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    8
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    Overall
    "Superb"

    Louis Bayard has written yet another exceptional historical novel. Perhaps even more than with his previous, the main characters are very, very well drawn. The story is fast paced and the details are fascinating.
    Simon Vance is a treasure whose skills as a narrator ('narrator' is an insufficient term, 'performer' may be closer to the mark) must be protected at all costs! He, Roy Dotrice, Barbara Rosenblatt and only a few others are in a category all unto themselves.
    In this work, Mr. Vance breathes life into characters (Vidocq in particular) already well defined by Mr. Bayard.
    A truly great story and a truly great narrator.

    14 of 15 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Jana 10-19-09
    Jana 10-19-09 Member Since 2015
    HELPFUL VOTES
    136
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    37
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    "Good but not Great"

    This audiobook was well worth a credit and my time - enjoyed it quite a lot. A couple of things that were quirky for me: It's set in 1818, but written recently (although I didn't realize that when I started listening to it). Since I've listened to a lot of books written in 19th century, when I started this book, at first I thought the writer very clever, but then when the dialog contained modern swearing, I realized that this is a modern interpretation of a mystery that happened at that time. And a good mystery it is, although the climax is too sensational for me.

    The story is set in France with many references to that time and royalty and revolution, which sent me to Wikipedia to clarify some references in the story (this is not a bad thing for me, but be aware).

    Simon Vance acted all the parts (mostly all french) with his usual brillance, however, he doesn't attempt a french accent other than with the many french names (which I thought he did great with). So, a lower class french character gets a lower class English accent. I just had to remind myself in the beginning that this was set in Paris, not London.

    This isn't a fast paced action packed thriller, but a mystery with more than enough interesting characters brought to life by Vance with enough plot and historical references to make the listen interesting and enjoyable.

    5 of 5 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Bonny 12-23-14
    Bonny 12-23-14

    Addicted to books, both print and audio-.

    HELPFUL VOTES
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    "Fascinating period of history, good mystery"

    The book deals with an engrossing mystery surrounding the fate of Louis-Charles, the Dauphin of France, the son of Marie Antoinette and King Louis XVI. The detective in this case, widely believed to be the first private detective, is Vidocq, and the book is well worth reading just for this character. The writing is skillful, moving, and often very funny. It's hard to go wrong with Simon Vance, and he's chalked up another A+ with his narration of The Black Tower. Highly recommended.

    3 of 3 people found this review helpful
  •  
    KP United States 05-07-14
    KP United States 05-07-14 Member Since 2005
    HELPFUL VOTES
    249
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    85
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    "Second Half Better Than the First"

    This caught my eye because of the narrator (Simon Vance, who is always fantastic), the time period (turn of the century 1800's France), and the genre (classic detective, in this case named Vidocq). The story got off to a slow start, but ultimately was an enjoyable mystery with wonderful doses of historical fiction. If I were rating just the second half, I would give it four stars. Worth a listen!

    3 of 3 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Galadriel 01-03-14
    Galadriel 01-03-14 Member Since 2008
    HELPFUL VOTES
    289
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    102
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    "Outstanding historical mystery!!!!"
    Any additional comments?

    Brings one of history's great mysteries to life with fully realized characters that I came to care about. Suspenseful and moving, and read by one of the very best narrators in the business, Simon Vance, the story delves into the puzzle of France's Anastasia-like Lost Dauphin. So happy to have stumbled onto this author!!! Excellent in every way.

    2 of 2 people found this review helpful
  •  
    TravisD 02-28-13
    TravisD 02-28-13 Member Since 2007

    Travis

    HELPFUL VOTES
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    "Really, Really Well-Done"

    Loved this and couldn't stop listening. So well-researched and written. Buy, read, and be amazed as the story unfolds.

    2 of 2 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Cat63 08-06-10
    Cat63 08-06-10 Member Since 2008
    HELPFUL VOTES
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    "A gem"

    If not the best audiobook I have ever listened to and I've listened to a good number, certainly in the top 5. Combining a natural, seemingly effortless writing style that delivers lively, intelligent conversations as well as the protagonists personal thought process along with a thrilling story [if you like historical fiction] this book kept me always wanting to hear more. The narration was lively and well done. If you wanted to nit pick you could find fault in the fact that the narrator did not effect a French accent [all the characters are French] so all the lower class types tended to have sort of a Cockney accent [at least I think that's what a Cockney accent sounds like]. I find that when non French speaking people try to do French accents it just comes out sounding dopey so I don't regret his decision to stick to the English version.

    2 of 2 people found this review helpful
  •  
    RONALD 02-11-09
    RONALD 02-11-09 Member Since 2005
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    4
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    "Excellent"

    This starts slowly but moves at a seady pace. The style is a bit wordy but as i got into it it became a true literary masterpiece. Highly recommended.

    4 of 5 people found this review helpful
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