City of Crows
A woman's heart contains all things. Her heart is tender and loving, but it has other elements. It contains fire and intrigue and mighty storms. Shipwreck and all that has ever happened in the world. Murder, if need be... 1673. Desperate to save herself and her only surviving child Nicolas from an outbreak of plague, Charlotte Picot flees her tiny village in the French countryside. But when Nicolas is abducted by a troop of slavers, Charlotte resorts to witchcraft and summons assistance in the shape of a malevolent man. She and her companion travel to Paris where they become further entwined in the underground of sorcerers and poisoners - and where each is forced to reassess their ideas of good and evil. Before Charlotte is finished she will wander hell's halls, trade with a witch and accept a demon's fealty. Meanwhile, a notorious criminal is unexpectedly released from the prison galleys where he has served a brutal sentence for sacrilege...

City of Crows Details

TitleCity of Crows
Author
LanguageEnglish
ReleaseAug 29th, 2017
PublisherPan Macmillan
ISBN-139781760551100
Rating
GenreHistorical, Historical Fiction, Fantasy, Fiction, Cultural, France, Literature, 17th Century

City of Crows Review

  • Lisa
    January 1, 1970
    I feel really bad about abandoning this book because I've met Chris Womersley and he's a really nice man, and a really good author too. I met him at the Miles Franklin Awards ceremony when Bereft was shortlisted, and I really liked his next novel after that which was Cairo (not the city, a block of flats in my city of Melbourne).But, although I made my way to page 129, City of Crows lost me with its occult elements. I'm not keen on the Gothic, but I liked the beginning which was reminiscent of G I feel really bad about abandoning this book because I've met Chris Womersley and he's a really nice man, and a really good author too. I met him at the Miles Franklin Awards ceremony when Bereft was shortlisted, and I really liked his next novel after that which was Cairo (not the city, a block of flats in my city of Melbourne).But, although I made my way to page 129, City of Crows lost me with its occult elements. I'm not keen on the Gothic, but I liked the beginning which was reminiscent of Geraldine Brooks' Year of Wonders, and I was interested to find out how the mother Charlotte was going to rescue her son Nicolas from the slave traders and whose fate was so vividly depicted with the chapters about a man inexplicably freed from captivity. But I can't take seriously magic and witches and whatnot - even though I know that what's they believed in C17th France and elsewhere - and there was just too much of it for the book to hold my interest. Still, it's beautifully written and has an authentic feel for its period, and I'm quite sure that there will be plenty of people who love it, maybe more than they loved his previous books...
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  • Di
    January 1, 1970
    This book was compared to the books of Hannah Kent and Ian McGuire and so I had high expectations. Also, I enjoyed Womersley's earlier book Bereft very much. I was unsure of the genre that Womersley intended with the book. At first I thought it was intended to be historical fiction and beginning as it did with a plague stricken village, I was reminded of The Year of Wonders. But it soon moved into the realms of the occult as Charlotte's son Nicholas was stolen from her and she was given a book o This book was compared to the books of Hannah Kent and Ian McGuire and so I had high expectations. Also, I enjoyed Womersley's earlier book Bereft very much. I was unsure of the genre that Womersley intended with the book. At first I thought it was intended to be historical fiction and beginning as it did with a plague stricken village, I was reminded of The Year of Wonders. But it soon moved into the realms of the occult as Charlotte's son Nicholas was stolen from her and she was given a book of magical spells by an old crone.The afterward shows the historical origins of the characters and explains why there were 3 female characters all with names beginning with C - very confusing.I liked the clever way in which Womersley allowed that the spells could have had an effect or could have been chance and he sustained that right up to and including the final page of the book as Charlotte and Nicholas took flight.The prisoner/devil Adam Coeuret/Lesage began as an interesting character. His life in the galleys and early release were well drawn but once in Paris and returned to his old haunts and relationship with Catherine Monvoisin I found him less so.The story moves, I wanted to know what happened, but the characters didn't convince me.
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  • Julie Garner
    January 1, 1970
    Kinda interesting historical fiction. Pretty dark. Set in France in the 17th century.The question is...how far would you go to save the life of your son? Alongside the question, what can a bad person do to redeem themselves?We follow two main characters in Charlotte and Lesage. Their lives become interwined as they find their way in to Paris for different reasons. There is magic, intrigue and deception right throughout the book with some devastating consequences.It is well written and I love tha Kinda interesting historical fiction. Pretty dark. Set in France in the 17th century.The question is...how far would you go to save the life of your son? Alongside the question, what can a bad person do to redeem themselves?We follow two main characters in Charlotte and Lesage. Their lives become interwined as they find their way in to Paris for different reasons. There is magic, intrigue and deception right throughout the book with some devastating consequences.It is well written and I love that Womersley uses real characters from this point in time. It gave me more of a sense of ownership about the story. I also love that at the end, he tells where these people ended out their lives.I will be honest, this is not my normal type of book. I enjoyed the reading of it but for me, personally, it was not one of my top reads.
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  • Andrew
    January 1, 1970
    An amazing and dark journey into a world that's lost to us today: the pre-rational superstition and magic of late 17th century France. Womersley brings to life the arresting sights and odours of this vanished world and his own magic is being able to create the sudden and unpredictable collisions of peasants, criminals and innocents. This is no plot spoiler, so read on . . . Charlotte Picot is a simple, but not naive, young wife and mother. Her children and husband have died of pestilence and pla An amazing and dark journey into a world that's lost to us today: the pre-rational superstition and magic of late 17th century France. Womersley brings to life the arresting sights and odours of this vanished world and his own magic is being able to create the sudden and unpredictable collisions of peasants, criminals and innocents. This is no plot spoiler, so read on . . . Charlotte Picot is a simple, but not naive, young wife and mother. Her children and husband have died of pestilence and plague, for reasons that Charlotte can't fathom. In desperation, she leaves her damned village with her last remaining son, Nicolas. On their first days on the road, they become separated and thus begins 400 pages of Womersley's characters' attempts to influence the world they inhabit, and on the occasions when such influence seems to work, scarcely believing in their own powers. Highly recommended.
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  • Banafsheh Serov
    January 1, 1970
    loved it! Mystery, dark magic, debauchery and treachery. Not to mention exquisitely written and executed! Fans of 'Night Circus' sit up and pay attention. This one is for you!!City Of Crows is a step away from the author's previous work. But so what? Why should an author be pigeonholed into a genre? Personally, I love an artist who's willing to take risks. As long as its done well. And On this point, Chris Womersley has not failed.If you're the type of reader who's open to reading something out loved it! Mystery, dark magic, debauchery and treachery. Not to mention exquisitely written and executed! Fans of 'Night Circus' sit up and pay attention. This one is for you!!City Of Crows is a step away from the author's previous work. But so what? Why should an author be pigeonholed into a genre? Personally, I love an artist who's willing to take risks. As long as its done well. And On this point, Chris Womersley has not failed.If you're the type of reader who's open to reading something out of the ordinary, if you're open to take risks, then take the plunge, grab a copy of City of Crows, and immerse yourself into this dark, magical world.
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  • Jane Thomas
    January 1, 1970
    I was a little disappointed with this as I've enjoyed the author's previous work (especially Cairo). Grim subject matter - harsh realities of life in 1600s France - probably a contributing factor though I wasn't convinced by Charlotte's final act seemed out of character to me. Interesting idea but not a pleasant read.
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  • Tim Armstrong
    January 1, 1970
    The author is better than this.Both "Bereft" and "Cairo" were excellent books, but this is quite a departure from those relatively conventional books.I'd really struggle to find anything in this book to praise. I'm only giving this 2 stars because of my respect for the authors previous titles.
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  • Kim Pittar
    January 1, 1970
    Not as good as I expected. The story lacked depth and seemed a bit disjointed.
  • Tracey Allen at Carpe Librum
    January 1, 1970
    City of Crows by Chris Womersley is historical fiction (my favourite genre) and contains some of my favourite tropes in a novel: witchcraft and the plague. Set in late 1600s France, City of Crows is essentially a story of survival. Charlotte, recently widowed and trying to save her son from the plague and Monsieur Adam du Coeuret, a prisoner assigned to the galleys for his crimes are both seeking freedom from their harsh lives.I'm not sure whether I should have picked this up straight after read City of Crows by Chris Womersley is historical fiction (my favourite genre) and contains some of my favourite tropes in a novel: witchcraft and the plague. Set in late 1600s France, City of Crows is essentially a story of survival. Charlotte, recently widowed and trying to save her son from the plague and Monsieur Adam du Coeuret, a prisoner assigned to the galleys for his crimes are both seeking freedom from their harsh lives.I'm not sure whether I should have picked this up straight after reading Ken Follett's A Column of Fire, as it could have dampened my enjoyment of Womersley's tale somewhat. Follett is an historical fiction writing wizard and in the shadow of that great tome, City of Crows failed to reach the heights I was hoping for.A satisfactory and entertaining story, the City of Crows of the title is Paris and I absolutely love the cover art, don't you? Knowing the characters are based on real people and historical facts certainly added to my enjoyment and appreciation of the research involved. In a different world, I would have liked to have stayed with Charlotte and followed her journey through life for the next 50 years - without the involvement of Adam.This is my first novel by the Australian author Chris Womersley, and reading it has made me determined to seek out his award-winning novel Bereft in the future.* Copy courtesy of Pan Macmillan Australia *
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