When tulip-grower Cornelius van Baerle is framed for treason and sentenced to death, he is powerless against the brutal factional politics that put him in prison. But Rosa, the jailer’s daughter, is beautiful and strong-willed, and when they fall in love she determines not only to save him but also to grow the near mythical flower: the black tulip.S et in the savage turmoil of Holland’s late 17th century, this intimate novel celebrates the power of integrity over obsession, and tolerance over violence; and it creates in the black tulip a symbol of humanity’s potential.
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The quest to grow a black tulip doesn't have the same narrative appeal as Dumas's Count of Monte Cristo or Three Musketeers, but it provides adventure enough for those who love the great melodramas of the nineteenth century. Peter Joyce delivers a fine rendition of Dumas's meaty prose and is especially good at depicting villains and brutal jailers, less effective at conveying his nubile heroine. Although this is a lesser work by Dumas, the author's judicious detachment, voiced so well in Joyce's calm and untroubled delivery, holds the promise throughout that innocence will triumph and justice eventually prevail: The villain will be vanquished, and the power of the black tulip will somehow open the prison doors and unite the fateful lovers.
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- Marina Johnson