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Publisher's Summary

Appointed to conquer the "crime capital of the world", the first police chief of Paris faces an epidemic of murder in the late 1600s. Assigned by Louis XIV, Nicolas de La Reynie begins by clearing the streets of filth and installing lanterns throughout Paris, turning it into the City of Light.

The fearless La Reynie pursues criminals through the labyrinthine neighborhoods of the city. He unearths a tightly knit cabal of poisoners, witches, and renegade priests. As he exposes their unholy work, he soon learns that no one is safe from black magic - not even the Sun King. In a world where a royal glance can turn success into disgrace, the distance between the quietly back-stabbing world of the king's court and the criminal underground proves disturbingly short. Nobles settle scores by employing witches to craft poisons and by hiring priests to perform dark rituals in Paris' most illustrious churches and cathedrals.

As La Reynie continues his investigations, he is haunted by a single question: could Louis' mistresses be involved in such nefarious plots? The pragmatic and principled La Reynie must decide just how far he will go to protect his king.

From secret courtrooms to torture chambers, City of Light, City of Poison is a gripping true-crime tale of deception and murder. Based on thousands of pages of court transcripts and La Reynie's compulsive note taking, as well as on letters and diaries, Tucker's riveting narrative makes the fascinating, real-life characters breathe and live.

©2017 Holly Tucker (P)2017 Blackstone Audio, Inc.

What members say

Average Customer Ratings

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  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars
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Great historic non-fiction

Well researched, well written, and well executed. There are lots of moving parts in this story, so you need a crib sheet of characters I suggest you consult Wikipedia, "affair of the Poisons."
Good read.

115 of 118 people found this review helpful

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Taking one's job seriously

This book was fascinating! The first police chief of Paris, appointed by King Louis XIV, began cleaning up crime in Paris by installing street lamps to make the streets safer. While investigating crime whose victim were upperclass citizens, he began investigations which led him to discovering that poison was often being used. The purveyors of the poisons were many and some of the customers were close to the king. The author did voluminous research, resulting into a deep insight of the culture at this point in history. You'll be amazed at how well this police chief did his job!

103 of 109 people found this review helpful

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Historical Records of Scandal & Disembowelment

I was stunned to hear some of the things written, accounts of babies killed outright upon birth, their bodies torn apart and turned into powders. SHOCKING!

So, we here in the modern age, learning of aborted fetus cells in vaccines... well, I guess there really isn't anything new under the sun, is there?

The fact that these records exist at all from the 1600's is a story indeed, which the author describes in the epilogue.

And the narrator? Phew! Those French names are a mouthful indeed, and I was born a "Du Bois," so I kept an ear out for that name, but never heard it, yay.

Overall quite interesting. To say that a lot of work went into this book is an understatement.

4 of 4 people found this review helpful

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So the Versailles TV series IS based on facts!

Fascinating and extensive research based on judicial documents. I had been wondering how much of the great Versailles TV series is based on fact, because it’s almost too crazy to believe, and now I know the true stories of the poisonings, satanism, baby killing, and magic that actually was rampant in the late 1600’s, even in the court of the Sun King. A well told story that makes the Salem Witch trials look tame. Highly recommend to history buffs, anyone who likes a good story of trials, torture and execution that are based on historic documentation, and certainly anyone watching the Versailles series on TV.

3 of 3 people found this review helpful

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The punishment was worse than the crime

It is a well researched account of a brutal time in history. The police chief is something between a principled intelligent man who is doing his best to bring order to the city and a ruthless tyrant who seeks justice as the result of torture, fear and brutality. A difficult book to listen to because it isn’t fiction. I found myself wondering what kind of men could inflict such means of torture and death especially on the testimony of others. Sometimes I am not convinced that knowing how cruel people can be is helpful.

3 of 3 people found this review helpful

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Took some time to get invested, but then I was hooked!

It took a little bit for me to get invested into the book, but thanks to the writing and narrator it happened fairly easily. I loved the use of historical primary sources as it helped everything feel more real. The descriptions at time made me gasp and shudder—not 100% for the faint of heart!

2 of 2 people found this review helpful

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Appreciate all of the research

If you enjoy true history with a fascinating story, you will enjoy this book. The author went through great pains researching and translating Bastille documents for many years to complete this book. The reader is also very good even with the difficult French names. Highly recommend!

2 of 2 people found this review helpful

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Educational

Any additional comments?

I think the author did two things very well. 1: Research, from the content you can tell that she did extensive research on this topic. 2: Delivery, she wrote the book in a manner that people beyond academia could enjoy it

1 of 1 people found this review helpful

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so so

I found it hard to keep track of who was doing what to whom. not really so hard to track the what but the whos were very hard to keep up with. the best part was the afterward. more interesting to hear about writing the book than the book itself.

3 of 4 people found this review helpful

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I wish every city had a book like this!

Would you consider the audio edition of City of Light, City of Poison to be better than the print version?

educational, interesting, accurate

Who was your favorite character and why?

King Louis, of course!

What about Kate Reading’s performance did you like?

She is just a really really good narrator.

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

History the way it should be taught! Through anecdotes!

Any additional comments?

I wish there were books like this for all major cities! It makes learning about history interesting.

1 of 1 people found this review helpful