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Paris, 1686: When The Bishop of Marseilles discovers that his young cousin Charles du Luc, former soldier and half-fledged Jesuit, has been helping heretics escape the king's dragoons, the bishop sends him far away-to Paris, where Charles is assigned to assist in teaching rhetoric and directing dance at the prestigious college of Louis le Grand. Charles quickly embraces Paris, 1686: When The Bishop of Marseilles discovers that his young cousin Charles du Luc, former soldier and half-fledged Jesuit, has been helping heretics escape the king's dragoons, the bishop sends him far away-to Paris, where Charles is assigned to assist in teaching rhetoric and directing dance at the prestigious college of Louis le Grand. Charles quickly embraces his new life and responsibilities. But on his first day, the school's star dancer disappears from rehearsal, and the next day another student is run down in the street. When the dancer's body is found under the worst possible circumstances, Charles is determined to find the killer in spite of being ordered to leave the investigation.


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Paris, 1686: When The Bishop of Marseilles discovers that his young cousin Charles du Luc, former soldier and half-fledged Jesuit, has been helping heretics escape the king's dragoons, the bishop sends him far away-to Paris, where Charles is assigned to assist in teaching rhetoric and directing dance at the prestigious college of Louis le Grand. Charles quickly embraces Paris, 1686: When The Bishop of Marseilles discovers that his young cousin Charles du Luc, former soldier and half-fledged Jesuit, has been helping heretics escape the king's dragoons, the bishop sends him far away-to Paris, where Charles is assigned to assist in teaching rhetoric and directing dance at the prestigious college of Louis le Grand. Charles quickly embraces his new life and responsibilities. But on his first day, the school's star dancer disappears from rehearsal, and the next day another student is run down in the street. When the dancer's body is found under the worst possible circumstances, Charles is determined to find the killer in spite of being ordered to leave the investigation.

30 review for The Rhetoric of Death

  1. 4 out of 5

    Elli

    I thought this was an excellent book. Very little is known about the people or the events. It is just recorded for the most part that they happened. She did a beautiful job with it. Charles deLuc was a former soldier (fictional), then Jesuit. It was during the Hugenot Hundred Years period, and there was their own holocust in spite of the kings edicts of tolerance. Families were on opposite sides, and the dragoons were the equivalent of Hitler's Gestapo as far as rounding up the people and gettin I thought this was an excellent book. Very little is known about the people or the events. It is just recorded for the most part that they happened. She did a beautiful job with it. Charles deLuc was a former soldier (fictional), then Jesuit. It was during the Hugenot Hundred Years period, and there was their own holocust in spite of the kings edicts of tolerance. Families were on opposite sides, and the dragoons were the equivalent of Hitler's Gestapo as far as rounding up the people and getting what they wanted out of them. The country was in turmoil, and very few were happy. The police were the people who followed Cardinal Richelieu, and their confessors were right in on everything, and usually a part of it. It didn't help James II of England to be a Catholic either and pressure was put on him by the Catholic League, the name given to this group of fanatics. At any rate he was deposed and his Protestant daughter became the ruler. Good picture of history and a page turning read!

  2. 5 out of 5

    Deborah Swift

    Judith Rock has certainly led an eventful life. She has been a dancer and choreographer, a police officer in the NYPD and also holds a doctorate in art and theology. You might think it would be difficult to weave ballet, crime and Jesuit theology into one novel, but Judith Rock does it with aplomb. Her main character, the delightful Charles du Luc, is rather too good looking to stay as a Jesuit priest without encountering romance, and without it causing him problems. He is also blessed with a fie Judith Rock has certainly led an eventful life. She has been a dancer and choreographer, a police officer in the NYPD and also holds a doctorate in art and theology. You might think it would be difficult to weave ballet, crime and Jesuit theology into one novel, but Judith Rock does it with aplomb. Her main character, the delightful Charles du Luc, is rather too good looking to stay as a Jesuit priest without encountering romance, and without it causing him problems. He is also blessed with a fierce intelligence which he puts to use to solve the murder of a young boy at the Jesuit college of Louis le Grand where he is employed to teach Rhetoric. The story has many notable and well-drawn characters, most of whom, including the police officer that dogs Charles' investigation, were real people of the time. The past is brought beautifully to life in Rock's evocation of 17th century France. She obviously knows the geography of Paris well and the college feels authentic. I had no idea that colleges put on ballets of such lavish proportions, but evidently they did. This is a novel with texture - a fast-moving exciting plot which keeps you guessing who-dunnit, alongside the deeper theological questions of who to serve when the holy orders demand one thing and your conscience another. There is a dash of politics and romance too, which made the novel my perfect in-flight entertainment travelling home from Seville. Judith Rock's new novel, "The Eloquence of Blood," another in the Charles du Luc series, is out now and I bought this after reading Judith talking about it online. I chose this earlier book on the basis of her interesting article and wasn't disappointed. Highly recommended for francophiles and historical crime fans.

  3. 5 out of 5

    Dana Stabenow

    Good characterization and good period detail make this an engaging read. It's France, 1686, in the middle of Louis XIV's secretly continued persecution of the Protestant Huguenots. Jesuit father-in-training Charles du Lac connives at the escape to Protestant Switzerland of Huguenot cousin (and childhood love) Pernelle. For his -- and their -- own safety fearful relatives hustle him out of southern France to Paris, where he takes up a position at the Jesuit college Louis Le Grand. Trouble follows Good characterization and good period detail make this an engaging read. It's France, 1686, in the middle of Louis XIV's secretly continued persecution of the Protestant Huguenots. Jesuit father-in-training Charles du Lac connives at the escape to Protestant Switzerland of Huguenot cousin (and childhood love) Pernelle. For his -- and their -- own safety fearful relatives hustle him out of southern France to Paris, where he takes up a position at the Jesuit college Louis Le Grand. Trouble follows him, however -- a student is murdered, the student's brother attacked, and Charles is caught up in a power-play between religion and politics that reaches as high as the Sun King's court, and he must navigate it safely and see the guilty brought to justice if he and his family are to survive. In the author's note Rock says, "I have tried to make the story's people true to their own century, and not just us in costume." She succeeded.

  4. 5 out of 5

    Bettie

    Description: Paris, 1686: When The Bishop of Marseilles discovers that his young cousin Charles du Luc, former soldier and half-fledged Jesuit, has been helping heretics escape the king's dragoons, the bishop sends him far away-to Paris, where Charles is assigned to assist in teaching rhetoric and directing dance at the prestigious college of Louis le Grand. Charles quickly embraces his new life and responsibilities. But on his first day, the school's star dancer disappears from rehearsal, and th Description: Paris, 1686: When The Bishop of Marseilles discovers that his young cousin Charles du Luc, former soldier and half-fledged Jesuit, has been helping heretics escape the king's dragoons, the bishop sends him far away-to Paris, where Charles is assigned to assist in teaching rhetoric and directing dance at the prestigious college of Louis le Grand. Charles quickly embraces his new life and responsibilities. But on his first day, the school's star dancer disappears from rehearsal, and the next day another student is run down in the street. When the dancer's body is found under the worst possible circumstances, Charles is determined to find the killer in spite of being ordered to leave the investigation. Opening: The sun of Languedoc poured down like molten brass. As the sound of water began to murmur in the still air, the man huddled under his wide-brimmed clerical hat straightened in his saddle and sighed with relief. Evocative description. An unusual setting for this hist-myst involving the Labours of Hercules as ballet where the rhetorical sub-text is The Sun King vanquishing the hydra-headed heretics. The prose style is light and engaging, so all-round, a nice treat.

  5. 4 out of 5

    Dorie

    Overall a great first book and I look forward to the next from this author. Former soldier and Jesuit in training Charles du Lac helps some Protestants (including a former love) escape King Louis XIV’s dragoons. When his cousin the Bishop of Marseilles finds out, he arranges Charles to be transferred to Paris to teach rhetoric and assist in directing dance at the prestigious Louis Le Grand. On his first day one of the dancers leaves class and is later found murdered. Charles was a likeable protago Overall a great first book and I look forward to the next from this author. Former soldier and Jesuit in training Charles du Lac helps some Protestants (including a former love) escape King Louis XIV’s dragoons. When his cousin the Bishop of Marseilles finds out, he arranges Charles to be transferred to Paris to teach rhetoric and assist in directing dance at the prestigious Louis Le Grand. On his first day one of the dancers leaves class and is later found murdered. Charles was a likeable protagonist, kind and good-hearted. He tried to do the right thing regardless of religious or legal restrictions. He had a natural curiosity coupled with intelligence that served the plot well and the accusations against him were a good reason to have him involved in the investigation. The secondary characters were fairly well formed. I especially liked the baker’s wife and her young daughter. The historical information in the book was interesting as well. I’m not that familiar with France during this time period so I can’t swear how well researched it was, but it was interesting enough I was looking up Wikipedia entries to get more information on Louis XIV and the dragoons.

  6. 5 out of 5

    Barbara Tiede

    This is the debut of former soldier and novice Jesuit Charles du Luc. His illustrious cousin, the Bishop of Marseilles, has made the horrifying discovery that Charles has been helping Huguenots escape the king’s dragoons and, rather than consigning him to the galleys, the bishop settles for sending him far away---to Paris, where Charles is assigned to assist in teaching rhetoric and directing dance at the college of Louis le Grand. But no sooner does Charles arrive at the college when the school’ This is the debut of former soldier and novice Jesuit Charles du Luc. His illustrious cousin, the Bishop of Marseilles, has made the horrifying discovery that Charles has been helping Huguenots escape the king’s dragoons and, rather than consigning him to the galleys, the bishop settles for sending him far away---to Paris, where Charles is assigned to assist in teaching rhetoric and directing dance at the college of Louis le Grand. But no sooner does Charles arrive at the college when the school’s star dancer disappears from rehearsal, and the next day another student is run down in the street; he wonders whether some enemy is targeting the college and its students. And when the dancer’s body is found, Charles is determined to find the killer despite being ordered away from the investigation. He soon finds himself trying to save his vocation---and his life. Not only is Charles enormously likeable, Rock’s writing is imbued with telling detail and a deep feeling for time and place. That the place is the 17th-century France from which my ancestors departed for the New World (many of them fleeing religious persecution) only adds to my appreciation.

  7. 4 out of 5

    Gretchen

    The end saved this book. The mystery was a decent one but the book itself could have been about 100 pages shorter.

  8. 4 out of 5

    Susanna - Censored by GoodReads

    Really appreciated the setting, unusual for a historical mystery (in English, anyway).

  9. 5 out of 5

    Rebecca

    This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here. I had initially intended to give this book a much stronger rating. Charles du Luc is an endearing character, devout but troubled with a sense of wonder and curiousity that will continue to get him in trouble throughout the book. The portrait of historical Paris, from the progressive Jesuit school in the Latin Quarter to the beggar-inhabited Louvre, is fascinating and beautifully drawn. (Although there are some passages that I sensed were included solely because the author came across factoids in I had initially intended to give this book a much stronger rating. Charles du Luc is an endearing character, devout but troubled with a sense of wonder and curiousity that will continue to get him in trouble throughout the book. The portrait of historical Paris, from the progressive Jesuit school in the Latin Quarter to the beggar-inhabited Louvre, is fascinating and beautifully drawn. (Although there are some passages that I sensed were included solely because the author came across factoids in her research that she wanted to include. It was ok; they were sufficiently interesting that I was glad she did so, even if it was not always perfectly graceful.) A nice mystery gets set up when the lead dancer in the upcoming ballet for the king bolts from the classroom and mysteriously disappears. When the vanished student's little brother is nearly trampled in the street, Du Luc suspects there is more going on. The plot thickens at a good rate, introducing politics, religious wars, seduction, false priests, adultery, royal displeasure, and shocks from Du Luc's own past to increasingly raise the stakes and muddy the waters. However, given how believable many of the motives are of some of the suspects and how many red herrings are thrown in, I was terribly disappointed by the final revelation of the murderer. (Slight spoilers) Finding that he's basically an Iago evil-for-the-lulz type seems a cheat. There were lots of excellent reasons for murder, from religious conviction to sexual jealousy to ambition to desperation to desire for order. The actual conclusion was abrupt, mostly unguessable, and unworthy of the characters. Also, I found Charles' last desperate act to be rather ineffectual and foolish. But overall, it's still a fairly enjoyable book packed full of fascinating tidbits. It's a pity the end did not quite live up to the rest.

  10. 5 out of 5

    Jacqie

    This is a great first book, with an interesting, conflicted protagonist. We've got a young Jesuit priest with family ties to the Huguenots, sent to Paris after he gets a bit too involved with a Protestant cousin and gets dangerously close to being linked with heretics (this was during the Catholic crackdown by Louis XIV). Young Charles is a sympathetic character, and the author draws the reader quickly into the world of the Jesuit Parisian school. I didn't know that Jesuits had such an interest i This is a great first book, with an interesting, conflicted protagonist. We've got a young Jesuit priest with family ties to the Huguenots, sent to Paris after he gets a bit too involved with a Protestant cousin and gets dangerously close to being linked with heretics (this was during the Catholic crackdown by Louis XIV). Young Charles is a sympathetic character, and the author draws the reader quickly into the world of the Jesuit Parisian school. I didn't know that Jesuits had such an interest in ballet as a useful addition to verbal rhetoric. I didn't know about the dragonnade pogroms in France against the Huguenots. And I loved reading about a lively Paris before the Eiffel Tower, before Napoleon's Arc d'Triomph, and before the Sacre Couer. The characters, from the baker's wife to the noble child at risk, seemed to breathe. I'm looking forward to more in this series.

  11. 4 out of 5

    Christine

    The war between personal and socially (constructed and given) revelation are central themes in this book. That little battle that goes in our mind when socially, we are told something is moral, but we inside feel it is immoral, or vise versa. Really challenges the works of moralist, Immanuel Kant. But the novel was very slow moving in the beginning and I quickly lost interest (I finished because it had a due date for the library). The novel was not my type of "plateau", but I liked it never the l The war between personal and socially (constructed and given) revelation are central themes in this book. That little battle that goes in our mind when socially, we are told something is moral, but we inside feel it is immoral, or vise versa. Really challenges the works of moralist, Immanuel Kant. But the novel was very slow moving in the beginning and I quickly lost interest (I finished because it had a due date for the library). The novel was not my type of "plateau", but I liked it never the less because of the challenging afterthoughts about "what is the right thing to do?", or what is a good person really? Is it someone who could go to sleep in peace at night? Or someone, as Judith Rock proposes, someone who isn't necessarily noble or heroic, but just a person who does what they can to address the wrongs and rights of the world like our protagonist Matre Charles?

  12. 4 out of 5

    Valerie Campbell Ackroyd

    The author writes "The past is a patchwork of what we know, what we may guess, and what we can never know." As I read The Rhetoric of Death I asked myself many times if this was really the way that the 17th century was, especially the descriptions of the Jesuits. My knowledge of French history is fuzzy but this book has awakened my interest in it, in the Jesuits, in classical knowledge, tremendously. The mystery wasn't a deep one--we know early on who one of the "nasties" is but it is the settin The author writes "The past is a patchwork of what we know, what we may guess, and what we can never know." As I read The Rhetoric of Death I asked myself many times if this was really the way that the 17th century was, especially the descriptions of the Jesuits. My knowledge of French history is fuzzy but this book has awakened my interest in it, in the Jesuits, in classical knowledge, tremendously. The mystery wasn't a deep one--we know early on who one of the "nasties" is but it is the setting around the story that drew me in. This is a book for people who like good writing and who like history. I will be starting the next book in the series later on this week.

  13. 4 out of 5

    Bridget

    I thoroughly enjoyed this book. The plot was engaging and the characters were memorable. Judith's writing style is unique and addicting. I would give this book five stars.

  14. 5 out of 5

    Kathy

    Wonderful sense of time and place, intriguing and believable mystery. I liked the hero's internal dialogues w/ God and his growth as a believer while also being smart and observant.

  15. 4 out of 5

    Donna

    Interesting time period, 17th century Paris, and setting, the Jesuit school of Louis le Grand, plus a full cast of intriguing characters made this an engrossing historical mystery.

  16. 5 out of 5

    Mary G.

    I really liked the book. Charles the main character is flawed but smart. The period is well thoughout and I will be looking forward to his next adventure.

  17. 5 out of 5

    Lucinda

    The Rhetoric of Death (Berkley 2010) introduces Charles Matthieu Beuvron du Luc, on the path to become a Jesuit priest after a shoulder wound ended his army career. Louis XIV has revoked the Edict of Nantes, denying freedom from persecution to French Protestants, known as Huguenots, and declaring those who help them guilty of treason. When his cousin, the Bishop of Marseilles, learns that Charles has helped his Huguenot cousin Pernelle escape to Geneva, the bishop sends Charles from Provençal to The Rhetoric of Death (Berkley 2010) introduces Charles Matthieu Beuvron du Luc, on the path to become a Jesuit priest after a shoulder wound ended his army career. Louis XIV has revoked the Edict of Nantes, denying freedom from persecution to French Protestants, known as Huguenots, and declaring those who help them guilty of treason. When his cousin, the Bishop of Marseilles, learns that Charles has helped his Huguenot cousin Pernelle escape to Geneva, the bishop sends Charles from Provençal to Paris to serve as a teacher of rhetoric at the Jesuit College of Louis le Grand. In 1868 France, the study of rhetoric, the art of communication, included instruction in Latin and French as well as in ballet, and Charles arrives at the school a mere two weeks before the annual ballet and tragedy production. He is quickly caught up in the production, a ballet based on the The Labors of Hercules in which Hercules (representing King Louis XIV) subdues the evil Huguenots. During the rehearsal, Père Joseph Jouvancy squabbles with ballet director Pierre Beauchamps over a chiming clock headdress that threatens to topple the dancer, and student Philippe Douté vanishes through the window. Charles chases the fleeing boy, but can't catch him. The next day, Philippe's younger brother Antoine is nearly killed by a man on a horse, and Charles suspects that someone is targeting the family. While trying to protect Antoine, Charles struggles with his vocation, his forbidden love for Pernelle, and fights against rumors that Charles is both a heretic and a murderer spread by Guise, a powerful Jesuit and confessor to the royal family. This fascinating historical thriller is a finalist for the 2011 Barry Award for Best Paperback Original. http://www.stopyourekillingme.com/R_A...

  18. 5 out of 5

    Toni Osborne

    Book 1, in the Charles Du Luc series This debut novel is a patchwork of known events and a lot of imagination by a very active mind. This historical fiction spins a tale of interesting and rich details set in the sumptuous Paris of the 17th century France. The opening act is staged at the college of Louis le Grand, where the Jesuits produced drama, lavish ballets and opera as part of their teaching rhetoric. The main player is the delightful fictional character Charles du Luc, a good looking Jesu Book 1, in the Charles Du Luc series This debut novel is a patchwork of known events and a lot of imagination by a very active mind. This historical fiction spins a tale of interesting and rich details set in the sumptuous Paris of the 17th century France. The opening act is staged at the college of Louis le Grand, where the Jesuits produced drama, lavish ballets and opera as part of their teaching rhetoric. The main player is the delightful fictional character Charles du Luc, a good looking Jesuit priest who is employed as a teacher of rhetoric and dance director at the college. All goes well till one day a student star dancer disappears to later be found murdered in a very unusual place and an attempt made on his younger soon after. Charles curiosity and skills lead him to explore the connections between the two incidents. As he gets more and more involved, he faces up all sorts of hazards…..cassocks flies in the chases and a lot of hanky panky go on behind the scenes…….We reach the closing act …..a play and a ballet for the final moments…. For the first 100 pages or so the author sets the stage and provides overwhelming details on the politics and religious conflicts of the time and introduces at a monastic rhythm her characters. Most interesting but this introduction lingered and became a laborious experience, too much information dumping. I persisted in my mental effort and was rewarded as soon as the mystery kicked in and Charles’ investigation began. The plot may have been rather slow in pace it nonetheless was quite compelling. Charles is a wonderful protagonist a Jesuit torn between is vows and his manly needs… The rich prose with the engaging and intriguing dialogue save the day along with the wonderful trip through the Paris of 17th century…..Slow start for this series but not a bad one, will see what “The Eloquence of Blood” has in store for me.

  19. 4 out of 5

    M Christopher

    I very much enjoyed this first book in a series of mysteries by Judith Rock. The protagonist is a young Jesuit in training for the priesthood. Like a young Cadfael, he brings a military background and a keen eye for details to his new life in a religious order. Also like Cadfael, he enjoys the trust of his superior and has a first-antagonistic but slowly warming relationship with the head of local law enforcement. His fellows regard him with a mixture of disdain and admiration but he always seem I very much enjoyed this first book in a series of mysteries by Judith Rock. The protagonist is a young Jesuit in training for the priesthood. Like a young Cadfael, he brings a military background and a keen eye for details to his new life in a religious order. Also like Cadfael, he enjoys the trust of his superior and has a first-antagonistic but slowly warming relationship with the head of local law enforcement. His fellows regard him with a mixture of disdain and admiration but he always seems to get along well with children... and the ladies. This series is set in late 17th century Paris, during the reign of the Sun King, Louis XIV. Hostility between Catholics and Protestants is part of the backdrop which comes to the fore in this book, providing a further point of interest for those interested in church history, like myself. I was also delighted by the look into theatre history provided by the author, herself a former performing artist. In addition to the wealth of historical details and the interesting characters, the mystery plot was well handled. I look forward to following this series of Whodunnits.

  20. 4 out of 5

    Astronomica Peripatetica

    Loved the historical detail, feel that the place and circumstances were very well-researched. Appreciate the long-term plotting the author has done to tie the series together so that not only are there individual story arcs but the main characters have relationships that develop over the course of several books. So what holds me back from "loving" these books? So far, just a couple of things. The hero, in some ways. Tall, handsome, blonde, excellent dancer, noble, former soldier now Jesuit maitr Loved the historical detail, feel that the place and circumstances were very well-researched. Appreciate the long-term plotting the author has done to tie the series together so that not only are there individual story arcs but the main characters have relationships that develop over the course of several books. So what holds me back from "loving" these books? So far, just a couple of things. The hero, in some ways. Tall, handsome, blonde, excellent dancer, noble, former soldier now Jesuit maitre, solves crimes for his rector, he's a little too close to a Gary Sue for my tastes. Go figure. Maybe it's just one too many gifts from the bon dieu, but there it is, I have trouble sympathizing with him. The second thing? I'm on the third book, so I can't speak for that one, but I figured out who dunnit before the hero did on the last two -- in "Rhetoric," long enough before that I felt our hero must have been hit on the head; it was sort of agonizing waiting for him to figure it out. Must say the second book was better than the first at masking who the guilty party/ies must be.

  21. 5 out of 5

    Rich

    The Rhetoric of Death is a tightly spun mystery that the details and clues funnel into a precise conclusion and exciting end. This novel features a very well written plot involving a questioning Jesuit that has been ostracized due to his beliefs of what is right and wrong. While shipped off to a prestigious Jesuit college in Paris, Charles is confronted with a murder and a puzzling mystery that touches not only his education but his personal secrets as well. He must solve the mystery surrounding The Rhetoric of Death is a tightly spun mystery that the details and clues funnel into a precise conclusion and exciting end. This novel features a very well written plot involving a questioning Jesuit that has been ostracized due to his beliefs of what is right and wrong. While shipped off to a prestigious Jesuit college in Paris, Charles is confronted with a murder and a puzzling mystery that touches not only his education but his personal secrets as well. He must solve the mystery surrounding a dead student in order to answer questions about his faith, to keep himself in good graces with local authorities and to preserve his secrets that he wishes to keep buried. I found the book to be rich in details, characterizations, and plot. The mystery itself is top-notch. The plot is highly political, suspenseful, and imaginative. My only problem is the book starts out really slow, but by page 80 or so, it has gained it's momentum and is highly enjoyable the rest of the way. I recommend it to anyone who loves a well developed mystery.

  22. 4 out of 5

    Stina

    This debut novel had a few problems, but overall it was a quick and entertaining read with some really great characters. Set in Louis XIV's Paris, at a well known Jesuit school, it features a young, idealistic Jesuit maître who has Huguenot sympathies. Charles is a bundle of internal conflict, yet he remains supremely likable, which is refreshing. I was quite impressed with Rock's integration of historical figures into the fictional plot, and I found myself learning a lot about French (and Engli This debut novel had a few problems, but overall it was a quick and entertaining read with some really great characters. Set in Louis XIV's Paris, at a well known Jesuit school, it features a young, idealistic Jesuit maître who has Huguenot sympathies. Charles is a bundle of internal conflict, yet he remains supremely likable, which is refreshing. I was quite impressed with Rock's integration of historical figures into the fictional plot, and I found myself learning a lot about French (and English) history, which I haven't studied in more than 20 years. The city itself came alive as a character, and things I vaguely remembered from rote memorization suddenly made sense as Rock wove political intrigues into her story. I was disappointed that Rock resorted to monologuing at the end and that she totally spaced off a major clue she'd planted at the beginning. However, Charles does do a pretty decent job of figuring things out on his own. I look forward to reading more of him.

  23. 4 out of 5

    Martha Bryce

    I loved this book! Set in France in the late 17th century, Charles du Lac, a former soldier and now Jesuit who has not yet taken his final orders to become a priest, helps his cousin and first love escape the Hugeunot persecution in France. To protect Charles, his bishop transfers him to a wonderful Jesuit school in Paris where he will teach rhetoric and assist in teaching theater and ballet. Almost as soon as he arrives, Charles is thrust into danger and intrigue when the school's premier danc I loved this book! Set in France in the late 17th century, Charles du Lac, a former soldier and now Jesuit who has not yet taken his final orders to become a priest, helps his cousin and first love escape the Hugeunot persecution in France. To protect Charles, his bishop transfers him to a wonderful Jesuit school in Paris where he will teach rhetoric and assist in teaching theater and ballet. Almost as soon as he arrives, Charles is thrust into danger and intrigue when the school's premier dancer disappears only days before a major production. Later, Charles finds the child's garrotted body submerged in the latrine. Determined to protect the child's younger brother and find the murderer, Charles becomes involved in intrigue and danger. The pacing of the book is quite brisk, the characters are wonderful and I am going to read the next book by Judith Rock as soon as I can.

  24. 4 out of 5

    Nancy Adams

    A Jesuit priest investigates murder in 17th-century Paris. Everything you want in a historical mystery: a compelling, three-dimensional hero, fascinating setting, fabulous writing, and a twisty plot that never fails to surprise. Actually, the hero, Charles du Luc, isn't yet a full-fledged priest. He's completed his preliminary training as a novice and has arrived at the stage of "scholasticus" in his Jesuit formation. His life is complicated by his Huguenot relations, whom he genuinely cares for A Jesuit priest investigates murder in 17th-century Paris. Everything you want in a historical mystery: a compelling, three-dimensional hero, fascinating setting, fabulous writing, and a twisty plot that never fails to surprise. Actually, the hero, Charles du Luc, isn't yet a full-fledged priest. He's completed his preliminary training as a novice and has arrived at the stage of "scholasticus" in his Jesuit formation. His life is complicated by his Huguenot relations, whom he genuinely cares for without feeling a need to convert them, a nice way of dramatizing the religious controversies of the period, when Huguenots in France were actively persecuted, without bogging the narrative down in complicated explanations. I read a lot of historical mysteries, and this is one of the best debut novels I have come across in the genre. A must-read, if historical fiction is your cup of tea!

  25. 4 out of 5

    Sue Mccormack

    It took awhile for me to warm up to this one. I would pick it up, put it down, and pick it up again. There was a lot going - Jesuits, Huguenots, politics, ballet, etc. It was a period of time with which I was totally unfamiliar and it took time to find my way. Then I stayed the course and the last half just flew - there were murders, chases, tidbits about Paris. At the end I found myself very satisfied - it was the sort of historical mystery I like, one based almost totally on real events and pe It took awhile for me to warm up to this one. I would pick it up, put it down, and pick it up again. There was a lot going - Jesuits, Huguenots, politics, ballet, etc. It was a period of time with which I was totally unfamiliar and it took time to find my way. Then I stayed the course and the last half just flew - there were murders, chases, tidbits about Paris. At the end I found myself very satisfied - it was the sort of historical mystery I like, one based almost totally on real events and people. It resulted in me reading a bit more about the actual events - in this case the persecution of Protestants, the rise and then fall of James II in England, the planting of the seeds of the French Revolution, and the role of dance and theater in education and court life. Stick with this one and you will be rewarded.

  26. 5 out of 5

    Jorge

    I had a ton of trouble getting through this one. It's difficult to enjoy a book when you don't enjoy the main character and, for the longest time, Charles was pretty bland. I think the story started integrating aspects of his past way too late to really qualify this as an interesting read for me. I loved the ending, these are the sort of endings I love seeing in a book that's part of a series, you have all the information you need to form a complete narrative and it doesn't act as a "Buy the nex I had a ton of trouble getting through this one. It's difficult to enjoy a book when you don't enjoy the main character and, for the longest time, Charles was pretty bland. I think the story started integrating aspects of his past way too late to really qualify this as an interesting read for me. I loved the ending, these are the sort of endings I love seeing in a book that's part of a series, you have all the information you need to form a complete narrative and it doesn't act as a "Buy the next one!" advert. Because of this...I might actually buy the next one! I found that the last quarter or so of the book was really enjoyable and read at a great pace. I'm not sure how different the formula in the follow-up is going to be, but I'll definitely give it a try.

  27. 4 out of 5

    Yves Fey

    I just recently discovered this series, and have eagerly embarked on them all. It’s a dramatic series, but possesses a great deal of charm. The prose is elegant, the characters vivid and varied, the sense of period fabulous. I loved Charles du Luc, the Jesuit hero, with his earthly passions and spiritual longings, and the portraits of the other teachers at the school were also intriguing. The depiction of the Jesuit school and in particular the dance program within it, are fascinating. The myste I just recently discovered this series, and have eagerly embarked on them all. It’s a dramatic series, but possesses a great deal of charm. The prose is elegant, the characters vivid and varied, the sense of period fabulous. I loved Charles du Luc, the Jesuit hero, with his earthly passions and spiritual longings, and the portraits of the other teachers at the school were also intriguing. The depiction of the Jesuit school and in particular the dance program within it, are fascinating. The mystery was well-constructed, and the path to the solution led through widely varying settings—including the slums of the abandoned Louvre. Reading the novel, I felt completely immersed in 17th century France, its sights, smells and its conflicts of flesh and spirit.

  28. 5 out of 5

    David

    A great read! Super-well-researched history combined with a great murder mystery, no surprise that it would appeal to me. Add in the fact that it is set in France, and what more could I ask for? A plot that involves Huguenots (like my paternal great-grandmother), you say? Yup, this one's got it all. I have had a copy of this at home in San Francisco for years, but I only got around to actually reading it when it was lent to me by my colleague, Andrea. Always helps if someone you know vouches for A great read! Super-well-researched history combined with a great murder mystery, no surprise that it would appeal to me. Add in the fact that it is set in France, and what more could I ask for? A plot that involves Huguenots (like my paternal great-grandmother), you say? Yup, this one's got it all. I have had a copy of this at home in San Francisco for years, but I only got around to actually reading it when it was lent to me by my colleague, Andrea. Always helps if someone you know vouches for the book, doesn't it?

  29. 5 out of 5

    Rannie

    A child is murdered in a 17th century Parisian Jesuit school, and Maitre Charles Du Lac is determined to find the killer even if he must break his vows. 4 stars on the historical detail, 3 for the pacing, and 1 on the mystery itself.

  30. 4 out of 5

    Shana Hormann

    Power and religion The story is interesting, the characters well developed, and I learned another chapter of history. Starts a bit slowly, as the characters take shape. Hang in there—the story is worth it.

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