Dauphin. Historical fiction usually leads me to want to learn more about the historical period in which a novel is set. Louis Bayard stimulated that interest for me again in his novel, The Black Tower. The tumultuous period is early 19th century France, after the Reign of Terror and Restoration. Bayard chooses a first-person narrator, Hector Carpentier, a doctor, whose father of the same name was a physician to Louis-Charles, the son of Louis XVI and Marie Antoinette. The title refers to the place where Louis-Charles was imprisoned. Bayard lays out a mystery and a question as to whether or not Louis-Charles died in prison, or was secreted away and hidden. The famous Francois Vidocq, master detective, is presented as a larger-than-life character whose skills unravel much of the mystery. Vidocq and Carpentier follow all leads and their journey will entertain readers and likely lead to interest in this historical period and to learning about what really happened.
Rating: Three-star (Recommended)