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Paris
Cover of Paris
Paris
The Novel
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NEW YORK TIMES BESTSELLER

From Edward Rutherfurd, the grand master of the historical novel, comes a dazzling epic about the magnificent city of Paris. Moving back and forth in time, the story unfolds through intimate and thrilling tales of self-discovery, divided loyalty, and long-kept secrets. As various characters come of age, seek their fortunes, and fall in and out of love, the novel follows nobles who claim descent from the hero of the celebrated poem The Song of Roland; a humble family that embodies the ideals of the French Revolution; a pair of brothers from the slums behind Montmartre, one of whom works on the Eiffel Tower as the other joins the underworld near the Moulin Rouge; and merchants who lose everything during the reign of Louis XV, rise again in the age of Napoleon, and help establish Paris as the great center of art and culture that it is today. With Rutherfurd's unrivaled blend of impeccable research and narrative verve, this bold novel brings the sights, scents, and tastes of the City of Light to brilliant life.

Praise for Paris

"A tour de force . . . [Edward Rutherfurd's] most romantic and richly detailed work of fiction yet."--Bookreporter

"Fantastic . . . as grand and engrossing as Paris itself."--Historical Novels Review

"This saga is filled with historical detail and a huge cast of characters, fictional and real, spanning generations and centuries. But Paris, with its art, architecture, culture and couture, is the undisputed main character."--Fort Worth Star-Telegram

"Both Paris, the venerable City of Light, and Rutherfurd, the undisputed master of the multigenerational historical saga, shine in this sumptuous urban epic."--Booklist

"There is suspense, intrigue and romance around every corner."--Asbury Park Press

NEW YORK TIMES BESTSELLER

From Edward Rutherfurd, the grand master of the historical novel, comes a dazzling epic about the magnificent city of Paris. Moving back and forth in time, the story unfolds through intimate and thrilling tales of self-discovery, divided loyalty, and long-kept secrets. As various characters come of age, seek their fortunes, and fall in and out of love, the novel follows nobles who claim descent from the hero of the celebrated poem The Song of Roland; a humble family that embodies the ideals of the French Revolution; a pair of brothers from the slums behind Montmartre, one of whom works on the Eiffel Tower as the other joins the underworld near the Moulin Rouge; and merchants who lose everything during the reign of Louis XV, rise again in the age of Napoleon, and help establish Paris as the great center of art and culture that it is today. With Rutherfurd's unrivaled blend of impeccable research and narrative verve, this bold novel brings the sights, scents, and tastes of the City of Light to brilliant life.

Praise for Paris

"A tour de force . . . [Edward Rutherfurd's] most romantic and richly detailed work of fiction yet."--Bookreporter

"Fantastic . . . as grand and engrossing as Paris itself."--Historical Novels Review

"This saga is filled with historical detail and a huge cast of characters, fictional and real, spanning generations and centuries. But Paris, with its art, architecture, culture and couture, is the undisputed main character."--Fort Worth Star-Telegram

"Both Paris, the venerable City of Light, and Rutherfurd, the undisputed master of the multigenerational historical saga, shine in this sumptuous urban epic."--Booklist

"There is suspense, intrigue and romance around every corner."--Asbury Park Press

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  • Chapter One Chapter One

    1875

    Paris. City of love. City of dreams. City of splendor. City of saints and scholars. City of gaiety.

    Sink of iniquity.

    In two thousand years, Paris had seen it all.



    It was Julius Caesar who had first seen the possibilities of the place where the modest Parisii tribe made their home. The Mediterranean lands of southern Gaul had already been Roman provinces for generations at that time; but when Caesar decided to bring the troublesome Celtic tribes of northern Gaul into the empire as well, it hadn't taken him long.

    The Romans had quickly seen that this was a logical place for a town. A collecting point for the produce of the huge fertile plains of northern Gaul, the Parisian territory lay on the navigable River Seine. From its headwaters farther south, there was an easy portage to the huge River Rhône, which ran down to the busy ports of the Mediterranean. Northward, the Seine led to the narrow sea across which the island of Britannia lay. This was the great river system through which the southern and northern worlds were joined. Greek and Phoenician traders had been using it even before the birth of Rome. The site was perfect. The Parisian heartland lay in a wide, shallow valley through which the Seine made a series of graceful loops. In the center of the valley, on a handsome east-west bend, the river widened and several big mudflats and islands lay, like so many huge barges at anchor, in the stream. On the northern bank, meadows and marshes stretched far and wide until they came to the lip of low, enclosing ridges, from which several small hills and promontories jutted out, some of them covered with vineyards.

    But it was on the southern bank—the left bank as one went downstream—that the ground near the river swelled gently into a low, flat hillock, like a table overlooking the water. And it was here that the Romans had laid out their town, a large forum and the main temple covering the top of the table with an amphitheater nearby, a grid of streets all around, and a north-south road running straight through the center, across the water to the largest island, which was now a suburb with a fine temple to Jupiter, and over a farther bridge to the northern bank. They had originally called the town Lutetia. But it was also known, more grandly, as the city of the Parisii.



    In the Dark Ages after the Roman Empire fell, the German tribe of Franks had conquered the territory in the Land of the Franks, as it came to be called, or France. Its rich countryside had been invaded by Huns and Viking Norsemen. But the island in the river, with its wooden defenses, like some battered old ship, survived. In medieval times, she'd grown into a great city, her maze of Gothic churches, tall timbered houses, dangerous alleys and stinking cellars spread across both sides of the Seine, enclosed by a high stone wall. Stately Notre Dame Cathedral graced the island. Her university was respected all over Europe. Yet even then, the English came and conquered her. And Paris might have been English if Joan of Arc, the miraculous maid, hadn't appeared and chased them out.

    Old Paris: City of bright colors and narrow streets, of carnival and plague.

    And then there was new Paris.

    The change had come slowly. From the time of the Renaissance, lighter, classical spaces began to appear in her dark medieval mass. Royal palaces and noble squares created a new splendor. Broad boulevards began to carve through the rotting old warrens. Ambitious rulers created vistas worthy of ancient Rome.

    Paris had altered her face to suit the magnificence of Louis XIV, and the elegance of Louis XV. The...

About the Author-
  • EDWARD RUTHERFURD is the internationally bestselling author of seven novels, including the New York Times bestsellers New York, London, The Princes of Ireland, and The Rebels of Ireland.

Reviews-
  • Publisher's Weekly

    May 27, 2013
    This massive novel traces the evolution of the City of Light over eight centuries, lacing together the fates of a handful of families in operatic style over the decades as class, religion, and commerce are buffeted by great historical forces. From the construction of Notre Dame and the Belle Epoque to the Nazi occupation, Rutherfurd (New York), a specialist in fictionalizing great sweeps of history through a single place, weaves the family ties of a bourgeois merchant clan, a minor aristocratic lineage, and a working-class family of patriots and criminals. Augmented by a credible cast of several dozen other characters, the author spins tales of multiple of emotions over many eras. Rutherfurd dispatches these rich historical periods with grace, bringing different epochs to life through the family sagas that cleave through the sweep of time, from an era of great cathedrals to the rise of the Eiffel Tower. Though his characters are too often pressed into service as talking history textbooks, he shows great authority as to what makes Paris exciting, lively, and timeless in its appeal. Agent: Rogers, Coleridge & White (U.K.).

  • Kirkus

    April 1, 2013
    Overstuffed yarn of the ville lumiere from city-hopping epic-smith Rutherfurd (New York, 2009, etc.). Rutherfurd's latest is billed as Paris: The Novel, a designation with which the shades of emile Zola and Victor Hugo might take issue. A novel, maybe--or maybe five novels rolled up into one big saucisson--but not the novel, DeMille-an or Zanuck-ian as it may sound. For Rutherfurd, the novel form seems to be an opportunity to erect a kind of scaffolding around a sequence of flash cards devoted to, in this case, the history of Paris, and there's scarcely a paragraph of exposition that is not didactic at heart. Henry Ford, he takes pains to tell us, is "the motor manufacturer" (not "a motor manufacturer"), just so we're sure we're not talking about Henry Ford the doughnut baron of Chillicothe. The Knights Templar, for anyone who hasn't read kindred spirit Dan Brown (though Rutherfurd is far and away the better writer), "were the guardians of huge deposits in many lands. From there, it was only a step to being bankers." He even explains French to the French: "Dieudonne....It means 'the gift of God.' " Merci pour les explications, dude. Rutherfurd layers on the symbolism with a trowel: Not for nothing does the garcon at the book's beginning share a name with a certain musketeer. And much of the writing telegraphs, passively telling rather than showing: "the thought of base blood entering the noble family of de Cygne was repugnant to him." All that said, Rutherfurd's sense of epic sweep is admirable, and any book that stretches from Caesar to May 1968 is bound to need a lot of room. For all its merits, Rutherfurd's latest is too big and too professorial for comfort--Edmund White could have written his own a la recherche du temps perdu in the same space.

    COPYRIGHT(2013) Kirkus Reviews, ALL RIGHTS RESERVED.

  • Library Journal

    November 1, 2012

    Having escorted us to New York, London, and Ireland, best-selling author Rutherfurd now takes us to the City of Light. Not surprisingly, he starts in Roman times, then sweeps along from the building of Notre Dame to the Hundred Years' War, the glories of Versailles, the Revolution, the Belle Epoque, the remarkable Twenties, and, finally, World War II. For all you saga lovers.

    Copyright 2012 Library Journal, LLC Used with permission.

  • Booklist

    March 15, 2013
    Rutherfurd (London, 1997, and New York, 2009) serves up yet another meaty historical saga centering on a major international city. Since the city in question this time is Paris, the repast is sumptuous indeed. As usual, he sweeps the reader along through the centuries, recounting all the most significant transformative events as the City of Light evolves from its humble origins as a Roman trading post to the cultural epicenter of Western civilization. Utilizing his trademark combination of real-life and fictional characters, he stitches their individual stories and experiences together in order to humanize and personalize the emergence of a mighty metropolis over a period of 2,000 years. As with all great cities, both Paris and its citizens endured their share of setbacks, humiliations, and tragedies, but these necessary growing pains often resulted in substantial rewards. Anyone who has ever visited Paris or desires to do so will definitely want to dig into this movable feast. HIGH-DEMAND BACKSTORY: Both Paris, the venerable City of Light, and Rutherfurd, the undisputed master of the multigenerational historical saga, shine in this sumptuous urban epic that is sure to be another best-seller for the prolific author.(Reprinted with permission of Booklist, copyright 2013, American Library Association.)

  • Kirkus "Rutherfurd's sense of epic sweep is admirable."
  • Associated Press "Paris has been both good and bad to the aristocratic de Cygne family over the centuries. While one generation was welcome at the nearby court of Versailles, another faced the guillotine during the Reign of Terror. Edward Rutherfurd's latest historical novel tracks the de Cygnes and a few other families in Paris from 1261 to 1968 as the city evolves from a medieval outpost to world-class metropolis. His primary focus is on the cohort born later in the 19th century who grew up to witness the existential threat to Paris in two world wars. Aside from the noble de Cygnes, the book follows the merchant Blanchard family, the working-class Gascons and the lefty Le Sourd clan. Action jumps from their day to points in the past. The fates of the families intersect over the centuries like lines on a Paris subway map. The churches, gardens and back alleys of long-ago Paris are revealed through the characters' eyes...The last part of the book, is set in occupied Paris during World War II. In...
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