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Thrilling story of betrayal in 1870s Paris

  • Jul 28, 2010


Dark in the City of Light by Paul Robertson is compelling historical fiction about 1870s Paris. Baron Harsanyi works for the Austrian ambassador working in Paris. His late wife owned some cinnabar mines that produce the highly prized materials that the English, Prussian, and French are all bidding for. Their political machinations fill the novel with twists and turns. His daughter Therese loves being in the City of Light, especially with her forbidden beau Auguste who may have secret intentions for their courtship. Her brother Rudolph seems to be just going through the motions, forced to accede to his father's wishes that he attend military academy instead of fulfilling his own political ambitions, until he discovers a terrible secret about his father that may destroy the entire family. Robertson writes a truly rare novel with great intelligence and suspenseful twists and turns. Just when the reader thinks they know what's going to happen next, Robertson reveals new information that throws everything into question. I wish there were more novels written like this, that stimulate the brain and thrill the senses with terrific historical detail. I didn't want it to ever end.

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More Dark in the City of Light: A N... reviews
review by . August 25, 2010
With war on the horizon, cinnabar was in high demand by both the French and the Prussians. Baron Ferdinand Haranyi's wife owned large cinnabar mines and was in complete control of them. When she became mysteriously ill and died, those mines became Ferdinand's for him to manage until their son Rudolph turned twenty-three. As an Austrian attaché to France, Ferdinand's control of the mines and his decision of which country to sell to could drastically effect the outcome of the impending war. However, …
review by . August 13, 2010
---Description---  Baron Harsanyi is a military attache at the Austrian embassy in 1870s Paris. As war between France and Prussia becomes increasingly likely, the need is high for mercury fulminate, an explosive. The Prussians already have a source. The English have the ability to manufacture it for both sides but need more cinnabar ore. France has no source.    Baron Harsanyi's wife owns a large cinnabar mine in Idria, but she refuses French and English offers to buy …
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Christy Lockstein ()
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I'm a happily married mother of three. I review books daily on my blog Christy's Book Blog. I love to read, and I love the Lord. Those four things really define my life.
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About this book


Baron Ferdinand Harsanyi, an Austrian diplomat stationed in Paris, gets control of his wife's valuable mines after her mysterious death. The mines produce mercury, a product sought by both France and Prussia as they hover on the brink of war in 1870. Harsanyi's two adult children have their own concerns: Rudolph reluctantly attends military school as his father wishes despite his own desire to attend the Sorbonne, and Therese takes up with a dashing French captain, Auguste de l'Imperator. The outbreak of war is only one of the complications that affects the family's relationships. European history buffs will appreciate this well-researched story featuring a number of real figures and events of the period. A sense of Paris under siege is nicely cinematic. But readers looking for a human story should go elsewhere; the characters evoke little empathy, and the plot gets a little slow and convoluted in its attempt to disguise the villains. The author is better at history than psychology.
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ISBN-10: 0764205692
ISBN-13: 978-0764205699
Author: Paul Robertson
Genre: Historical Fiction
Publisher: Bethany House
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