The tulip craze of 17th century Holland has a dark side! Cornelius van Baerle, a wealthy but naive tulip grower, finds himself entangled in the deadly politics of his time. Cornelius' one desire is to grow the perfect black tulip. But after his godfather is murdered, he finds himself in prison, facing a death sentence. His jailer's lovely daughter holds the key to his survival, and his chance to produce the precious black blossom. Yet he has one more enemy to contend with!
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Cornelius van Baerle, a man with a consuming passion for life, is the gentle, brilliant and focused hero in the story. He is only introduced, in the story, after a violent introduction, by the author, portraying a tumultuous political time; the fighting factions loyal to William of Orange, the one in power, versus King Louis IX. He does a blind favor for his God Father and unwittingly gets involved, years later, with the politics of the time and prison is the consequence. Cornelius' consuming passion for cultivating tulips, and his complete ignorance of political matters, causes him to become an unwitting victim of extreme jealously, that follows him for years, an innocent scapegoat of political tyranny and, by chance, and by providence, an accidental and fortunate lover, in the purest form of love. An underlying theme, throughout the book, is that Cornelius van Baerle is a man of great faith in God and his suffering, throughout the story, by no fault of his own, except in his being true to his passions and his faith, never caused him to falter in his manners, faith or passions. Focused. The Black Tulip is an excellent read and demonstrates the typical book by Dumas in his ability to weave words, ideas and events into brilliant descriptions of the scenes and the thoughts of the the characters;feelings of ardor, jealousy, cruelty and callousness. He integrates well the above with the political climate of the time. Excellent narrator but, not being European or the like, where exposure to many languages is common place, I found many of the words, with an applied Holland or French? accent, difficult to understand and found myself rewinding several times. Otherwise, the narrator was wonderful. What great characters Dumas is able to create. Complexity made simple, human nature made plain. In this latter sense, the Black Tulip was ALMOST as good as the Gold Standard, in my opinion, The Count of Monte Cristo!
This my first review.
I simply couldn't continue trying to listen to this narration. John Bolen's voice has a constant change in volume and pitch, sometimes too loud and then towards the end of a sentence he will run out out of steam (breath?) and fades almost to the point of mumbling.
This narrator has completely ruined any enjoyment I might have had from this work by Dumas.
After about 25 minutes I gave up and have called it a lost cause.
Bolens heavy use of accents only make the narration worse. I generally have no difficulty with dialects or accents (tri-lingual myself), but combined with his style of narration, well I just gave up trying to listen. Personally any further Audible choice I make will not have this narrator.