Book Review – Blood Royal

Book: Blood Royal: A True Tale of Crime and Detection in Medieval Paris – Author: Eric Jager

Description from Amazon:

On a chilly November night in 1407, Louis of Orleans was murdered by a band of masked men. The crime stunned and paralyzed France since Louis had often ruled in place of his brother King Charles, who had gone mad. As panic seized Paris, an investigation began. In charge was the Provost of Paris, Guillaume de Tignonville, the city’s chief law enforcement officer–and one of history’s first detectives. As de Tignonville began to investigate, he realized that his hunt for the truth was much more dangerous than he ever could have imagined.

My Review:

Though I am an avid fan of fiction, I do occasionally like to pick up a non-fiction book; and with my current fascination with mysteries, this seemed like a good contender.

Eric Jager did a magnificent job taking bits and pieces from historical documents and weaving them together to make a comprehensive story. His attention to detail was great, from describing Medieval Paris to giving exact details of the murder to explaining the court system, all of it was very well-rounded and interesting. And it was fascinating to see the details pulled directly from real documents from Guillaume de Tigonville, including statements from eye-witnesses and actual notes taken by the investigators!

I will admit, though, the title is a bit misleading. There are really only a few chapters that deal with the crime and investigation. The rest has to deal with the aftermath. But what an aftermath it was! It’s amazing how one person’s death can lead to so much tragedy. Wars, starvation, pillaging, destruction of entire cities…just because one man decided he wanted revenge on another. (I don’t want to give away too much information on the story, so I won’t say too much more. You’ll have to read it yourself for more details. 😉 )

Some reviewers on other sites say that this story is so interesting and well-written that it reads like a novel. This is not true. Though it IS very well-written, it definitely read for me more like a documentary than a work of fiction. But that is good in my opinion. It kept it real in my mind, reminded me that this really happened to these people. And it didn’t make the story dry, like some other non-fiction, it just made the story more robust.

If you like learning about history, especially Medieval France, this is a good book for you to pick up.

Similar Books:

The Johnstown Flood – David McCullough

Cadillac Desert: The American West and Its Disappearing Water – Marc Reisner


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