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An Amazon Best Book of the Month for March 2017
A 2017 Publishers Weekly Pick of Most Anticipated Books of Spring
A Library Journal Audio Spotlight Pick
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 backstabbing 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 on the page.
“Not only a serious, meticulously researched work of nonfiction, it is an irresistible story…full of danger, mystery, and excitement.”
Candice Millard, New York Times bestselling author
“At once bewitching and chilling, the dark story of toxic intrigue, murder, and mayhem in the Sun King’s France reads like the most gripping thriller.”
Adrienne Miller, National Book Award finalist
“Tucker vividly brings to life a slice of Parisian history in this rigorously researched true-crime epic.”
Publishers Weekly (starred review)
“Provides stunning insights into the real filth of Louis XIV’s reign, gilded, as in the Sun King’s creation of Versailles, but rotten with duplicity and murder. Completely absorbing.”
“Tucker’s exposition is a true detective story of the finest kind…For anyone interested in the darker side of the Sun King’s reign, City of Light, City of Poison will not disappoint.”
“Imagine a novel full of sex and betrayal, conspiracy and politics, murder and magic, detective work and justice…This isn’t fiction: it just reads like it.”
Malcolm Gaskill, author of Witchfinders
“A fierce tale of conspiracy and retribution…[in which] even in gilded palaces the human psyche seems familiarly deceitful and self-justifying.”
Michael Sims, author of Arthur and Sherlock