- Paperback: 348 pages
- Publisher: CreateSpace Independent Publishing Platform; First edition (2 Sept. 2013)
- Language: English
- ISBN-10: 1492306797
- ISBN-13: 978-1492306795
- Product Dimensions: 15.2 x 2 x 22.9 cm
- Average Customer Review: 4.6 out of 5 stars See all reviews (5 customer reviews)
- Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 1,944,617 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)
The Executioner's Heir: A Novel of Eighteenth-Century France Paperback – 2 Sep 2013
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About the Author
Susanne Alleyn has loved history all her life, aided and abetted by her grandmother, Lillie V. Albrecht, an author of historical children’s books in the 1950s and 60s. Susanne is the author of the Aristide Ravel historical mystery series, set in revolutionary Paris; A FAR BETTER REST, the reimagining of Dickens’s A TALE OF TWO CITIES; the nonfiction MEDIEVAL UNDERPANTS AND OTHER BLUNDERS: A WRITER’S (AND EDITOR’S) GUIDE TO KEEPING HISTORICAL FICTION FREE OF COMMON ANACHRONISMS, ERRORS, AND MYTHS; and A TALE OF TWO CITIES: A READER'S COMPANION, an annotated guide to the classic novel. Happy to describe herself as an “insufferable knowitall” about historical trivia, Susanne has been writing about and researching eighteenth-century and revolutionary France for nearly three decades. Read more at www.susannealleyn.com.
Top Customer Reviews
REVIEW: I was directed to Susanne Alleyn's Aristide Ravel mysteries by a kindly soul who'd read several of my reviews of very bad historical fiction set during the French Revolution, and who empathized with my despair about ever finding something not only historically accurate but also well-written. After devouring the four books in about a week, I wondered if that happy experience could ever be repeated. It was, not with another mystery, but with an eloquent, often stark, often very human story of a conflicted young man, his family, its occupation, and the burdens and constraints that singular occupation placed on them all. The novel moved between the darkness of the deeds Sanson was obligated to perform, and the light of his close-knit family life, the notion of sin, on the part of the guilty and on those who dispensed the king's justice, and redemption in the commingled art--and practice--of healing, and of treating the condemned with a dignity they perhaps never received in life.Read more ›
Due to the illness of his father and pressure from his grandmother, Charles-Henri Sanson is forced to assume the position and title as the fourth generation hereditary master executioner of Paris. It is a position of title and power. It is also a role into which one is born and has no choice but to assume as no other professions are open to the inheritor of that role. Yet Charles must both learn his position and strive to maintain his humanity while so doing.
Ms. Alleyn wisely provides a "Cast of Characters" at the beginning of this book. This is critical, and very helpful in avoiding confusion, as she is dealing with many members of one family. That she takes this family, whose profession is as terrible as one could imagine, and make them both human and sympathetic is a remarkable accomplishment.
Charles is the antithesis of what one would imagine for his role, yet part of the power of the book is that it breaks down stereotypes. He is, to paraphrase another character's observation, prosperous, has a good education, nice manners and is very, very handsome. He also despises what he does,..."It was rather pathetic, Charles often thought, that among the crowds who came to stare at public chastisement, the one least eager to be present was the man in charge of the business." Conversely, his grandmother and sister are very matter of fact about the profession and proud of the family's title and status. That conflict makes for a very thoughtful reading.
The story deepens with the introduction of an antagonist. Although she has so done throughout the story, it is at this point, Ms. Alleyn forcefully speaks to our emotions.Read more ›