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The Lost King of France: How DNA Solved the Mystery of the Murdered Son of Louis XVI and Marie Antoinette Paperback – October 23, 2003


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The Lost King of France: How DNA Solved the Mystery of the Murdered Son of Louis XVI and Marie Antoinette + Marie-Therese: The Fate of Marie Antoinette's Daughter + Marie Antoinette: The Journey
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Product Details

  • Paperback: 336 pages
  • Publisher: St. Martin's Griffin; First Edition edition (October 23, 2003)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0312320299
  • ISBN-13: 978-0312320294
  • Product Dimensions: 0.8 x 5.7 x 8.4 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 10.4 ounces (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.8 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (43 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #505,049 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Editorial Reviews

Review

Praise for The Lost King of France

"Absolutely stupendous . . . This is history as it should be. I can't praise it highly enough. It is stunningly written; I could not put it down. This is the best account of the French Revolution I have ever read."
---Alison Weir, author of Henry VII: The King and His Court

"A wonderful book . . . Deborah Cadbury's fascinating account of a child victim of revolutionary brutality is a masterly synthesis of science and narrative history that provides a definitive solution to a celebrated mystery. Authoritative, lucid, and utterly absorbing."
---Anne Somerset, author of Elizabeth I

"A first-class read---informative, entertaining, and a great, grand adventure. Most noteworthy."
---Margaret George, author of The Autobiography of Henry VIII

"Unputdownable. Deborah Cadbury succeeds in conveying the human tragedy of this story more emotively than any other writer. Added to that, her book has the gripping pace of a thriller. I cannot recommend this too highly."
---Maureen Waller, author of 1700: Scenes from London Life

"The Lost King of France is a fascinating and well-told story that reads with great interest and pleasure. My congratulations on a well researched work."
---Ian Dunlop, author of Louis XIV

"An absorbing tale, combining sound history and modern science. The restrained description of the sufferings of the little prince from the officious sadism of the revolutionary officials serves only to add poignancy to his story."
---John Hardman, author of Louis XVI: The Silent King

About the Author

Deborah Cadbury is an award-winning journalist specializing in the fundamental issues of science and history and their effects on today's society. She is also the author of the highly acclaimed books Terrible Lizard and The Estrogen Effect. She has produced science programs for BBC television and has won numerous international science film awards, including an Emmy. She lives in London.

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Customer Reviews

4.8 out of 5 stars
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A very well researched and written book.
Shannon Donnelly
It never dragged on, and each page had me itching to read the next, even when I knew I had to put the book down and attend to other matters.
Vas
This book was extremely well researched on the very short life of Louis XVI and Marie Antoinette's son, Louis XVII.
bill8931

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

52 of 53 people found the following review helpful By E. A. Montgomery on December 5, 2003
Format: Paperback
This is as readable as any historical novel and far more interesting. Cadbury brings the shadowy image of Marie Antoinette's children fully to life with detail and emotional depth. Unlike most books on this topic, the parents are moved firmly to the background, coming forward only to illustrate their influence on the children and their lives. I learned more in this fast paced enjoyable read than I have in half a dozen 'scholarly' books on the period. The Lost King's resolution may not surprise you, but it's a rewarding read that immerses you as fully as an epic film. One of the finest histories I've read on any subject and more emotionally affecting than most fiction. You will not be able to forget this family or view them in the same fashion again. A true must read.
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38 of 39 people found the following review helpful By A Customer on January 20, 2004
Format: Paperback
This book provides what Antonia Frazer's biography of Marie Antoinette does not -- more about the children, more about the aftermath of Marie Antoinette's death. I thought this book would repeat much of Frazer's but, in fact, it enriches Frazer's work. And, except for some melodramatic flourishes, I think it is better written. Though I usually read 2 or 3 books at a time and can easily jump from one to the other, I could not put this book down until I finished it.
I wish there had been more to this volume. The DNA passages sometimes feel 'padded' and the 'mystery' element seems somewhat contrived. Who cares! It was so engrossing that I neglected everything this afternoon so that I could finish this book.
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73 of 86 people found the following review helpful By A. Carrozza on January 2, 2006
Format: Paperback
Whenever I hear people speaking of the "triumph" or "glory" of the French Revolution I want to scream! There was nothing wonderful about these horrible years that ruined France. The greatest proof is in how cruelly they treated the Royal Family. I have read numerous books on the French Revolution, but this one seems to give the most personal insight into what the conditions in the Temple prison were like for Louis XVI, Marie Antoinette, Princess Marie-Therese, but most especially, the horribly inhuman indignities inflicted upon the poor dauphin, Louis-Charles, King Louis XVII. It is sad to see how people could be so cruel, and to see what injustices were inflicted on a seven-year-old boy in the name of justice. Far more than finally solving the mystery of Louis XVII, it also gives a vividly clear insight into where the revolution went wrong, and of how evil will eventually destroy itself. A history and a "whodunit" rolled into one - I couldn't put it down! Marvelous - and sad - reading!
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11 of 11 people found the following review helpful By L. F. Anderton on November 23, 2004
Format: Paperback
I actually have one more chapter to go, but this book is truly extraordinary. Cadbury is one of those writers who doesn't waste a single word. In other words, every sentence, every bit of information she gives is necessary. She's a great writer who makes the story of the poor Capet family (Louis XVI, Marie Antoinette and their children -- including the unfortunate Louis-Charles) come to life. You really feel as though you were there! Unfortunately, what happens to Louis Charles while a young boy in prison is depressing and hard to read, but the entire book is so outstanding, you cannot put it down!
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7 of 7 people found the following review helpful By Boufflers63 on June 14, 2006
Format: Paperback
Deborah Cadbury has done us all a favor in writing about a familiar subject, but breathing new life into it. Instead of the brief story of Louis XVII's mysterious death in 1795, the book recounts the period between 1770, when Marie Antoinette arrived in France, to the Revolution and Restoration in 1789 and 1814 and the DNA tests of the modern era.

The book is extremely well written; it's as if you're reading a history novel. Little details most authors would overlook are included, adding to the enjoyment of learning even more about this interesting and truly revolutionary period and story.

The one fault I have with the book is that its take on the DNA extracting process from the purported heart of Louis XVII is a little dry. Granted, one of Cadbury's specialties is science nd it is an important part of the story of Louis XVII's fate. I guess I was more into the history.

After the dauphin's mysterious death in 1795, the reader is introduced to the long list of pretenders to the French throne. The infamous Karl Naundorff is included, as is the less familiar Jean Marie Hervagault, among others. Again, the book really does a good job of covering all the history, including the details. It's ideal for anyone interested in European history, science, the Bourbons, or just a good book.
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7 of 7 people found the following review helpful By bella on November 25, 2003
Format: Paperback
This was the best history lesson ! I actually felt as if I were transported to the 18th century as I read this . So many of the stories about the revolution dehumanize the royal family, or focus entirely on Louis XVI and Marie-Antoinette , with very little thought to their final days, or of their children . The Lost King Of France , includes the painful, memoirs of Princess Marie-Therese , (Louis and Marie-Antoinette's oldest child) , a witness to the full horrors of the revolution , and the fate of her brother Louis XVII . The mystery of Louis's fate , far surpasses the saga of Russia's Anastasia , and I was on the edge of my seat until the final page ! I gave it 4 stars because of the grainy , black and white photos , and that is the only reason I did not give it 5 stars . This is such an absorbing tale of one of the youngest victim of the revolution, a definite page turner!!
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