The Black Tower

  • by Louis Bayard
  • Narrated by Simon Vance
  • 9 hrs and 49 mins
  • Unabridged Audiobook

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.

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Customer Reviews

Most Helpful

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thriller, but a mystery with more than enough interesting characters brought to life by Vance with enough plot and historical references to make the listen interesting and enjoyable.
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- Jana

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.
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- Bonny

Book Details

  • Release Date: 08-26-2008
  • Publisher: Blackstone Audio, Inc.