Format Hardcover
Publication Date 04/04/23
ISBN 9781639363766
Trim Size / Pages 6 x 9 in / 352

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The Beasts of Paris

A Novel

Stef Penney

Enter the world of Haussmann's newly built City of Light: a dazzling, panoramic novel of love and survival set during the Siege of Paris in 1870.

A diverse group of memorable characters find themselves in Paris during the build up to the Franco-Prussian War of 1870. Dreamer Anne is half-Haitian, possessed of incredible gifts, but with a past she tries to bury; Laurence is desperate to spread his wings, develop his talents as a photographer, and escape the restrictions of his Canadian upbringing; Ellis, an American army surgeon, has lived through the trauma of the American Civil War and will do anything to avoid further violence. We join these characters and others as they live through, and are buffeted by, momentous historical events that will change them forever.

The Franco-Prussian War ends in a devastating defeat for the French after the Siege of Paris, in which countless Parisians die of starvation and cold during a bitter winter. This terrible time is quickly followed by yet more horror: the socialist revolution of the Paris Commune that seizes the government, briefly, until it is brutally crushed by the French Army.

Against this backdrop our characters meet, struggle, grow, fight their demons, lose their hearts, find love. The reader witnesses the ebb and flow of history as the characters confront a changing world around them. And although set in the nineteenth century, the novel explores questions that are uniquely contemporary: issues of gender, sexuality, inequality, and race.

Stef Penney’s debut novel, The Tenderness of Wolves, was a national bestseller and the recipient of the prestigious Costa Book Award. She is also the author of The Invisible Ones and Under a Pole Star. Stef was born and raised in Edinburgh, Scotland.

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Endorsements & Reviews

Praise for Stef Penney:
“Fascinating.” The New York Times
“Utterly new and utterly enthralling.” New York Times bestselling author Tana French
"An original and readable mixture of mystery and history, with a good dollop of old-fashioned adventure.” The Times (London)
"The novel has a large canvas and the story twists and turns. An entertaining and well-written adventure thriller.” The Spectator
"A fascinating, suspense-filled adventure, a refreshing contrast to the conventional murder mystery.” The Sunday Telegraph (London)
“Penney gives her plot plenty of twists and saves the best for the end, with a truly unforeseen and unpredictable conclusion.” Kirkus Reviews
"The Tenderness of Wolves stood out from a very strong shortlist. We felt enveloped by the snowy landscape and gripped by the beautiful writing and effortless story-telling. It is a story of love, suspense and beauty. We couldn't put it down.” Costa Award Committee
"An entertaining, well-constructed mystery. Sexy, suspenseful, densely plotted storytelling. A novel with far greater ambitions than your average thriller, combining as it does the themes of Conrad's Heart of Darkness with Margaret Atwood's Survival." The Globe and Mail