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Editorial Reviews

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.

Publisher's Summary

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

What members say

Average Customer Ratings

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Terrific

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.

5 of 5 people found this review helpful

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A simple story

Less complex and enjoyable than either The Count of Montechristo or The Three Musketeers. While the presenter is great with the narration, a few parts of the character voices (especially when they are weepy) are grating. But he has a strong and clear voice otherwise.

3 of 3 people found this review helpful

  • Overall

Love and romance

I enjoyed The Count of Monte Christo and Queen Margot. I liked the 3 Musketeers and the rest of that series, but I loved this book.

1 of 1 people found this review helpful

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Tulips, murder, love, and mystery

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.

1 of 1 people found this review helpful

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  • Victoria
  • Granville, NY, United States
  • 03-11-13

Don't overlook "The Black Tulip"

Would you listen to The Black Tulip again? Why?

Yes, it is a great story.

What was one of the most memorable moments of The Black Tulip?

I don't think I will ever lose the image of Cornelius and John DeWitt being murdered in the streets.

Which scene was your favorite?

I don't have a favorite.

If you were to make a film of this book, what would be the tag line be?

A man nearly destroyed by the love of Tulips.

1 of 1 people found this review helpful

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  • Jonathan
  • Santa Clara, CA, United States
  • 10-20-12

Prison, Love, and Tulips

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.

2 of 3 people found this review helpful

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Couldn't get into this book...tried twice.

Has The Black Tulip turned you off from other books in this genre?

No.

Would you listen to another book narrated by Peter Joyce?

Yes.

What reaction did this book spark in you? Anger, sadness, disappointment?

Disappointment.

Any additional comments?

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.

2 of 3 people found this review helpful

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  • Michael
  • Somewhere around the world
  • 07-27-17

Not bad, far from Dumas' best

The narrator was almost excellent, except his tone sounded like he was always giving a summary and not quite narrating the main narrative. Hard to explain...

The story wasn't that great, nor were the characters. They were kind of stupid, and it was hard to empathise when the topic was a flower, the love of which consumed the protagonist. Eventually Dumas made a decent mystery out of it, kind of.... I'm so glad this was a short book though.

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Slow beginning but worth it.

The book had an extremely slow beginning (which the narrator oddly enough warns in the first few pages). But if you can get past the first 1/3 or 1/2 of the book, things move along pretty quickly and I found it generally enjoyable!

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The Black Tulip

As an eternal fan of Dumas this book was on my list of must reads (or listen to as it would happen in this instance)

I recommend it for any and all-it was a great book!