The Beasts of Paris

Stef Penney

The Beasts of Paris
Quercus Publishing
United Kingdom
6 July 2023

The Beasts of Paris

Stef Penney

A dazzling, panoramic epic of love and survival set in late 19th century Paris in the vein of Hilary Mantel and Susanna Clarke from the award-winning author of THE TENDERNESS OF WOLVES and UNDER A POLE STAR. Immerse yourselves in Haussmann’s newly built, beautiful City of Light on a mesmerizing journey with a peerless storyteller.

A diverse group of characters find themselves in Paris during the build up to the Franco-Prussian War of 1870, connected by their proximity to the Menagerie in the Jardin des Plantes, home and prison to the glamorous predators that draw visitors from all walks of life.

Anne is a former patient from the women’s asylum, La Salpetriere, trying to carve out a new life for herself in a world that doesn’t understand her. Newcomer Lawrence is desperate to develop his talent as a photographer and escape the restrictions of his puritanical Canadian upbringing. Ellis, an army surgeon, has lived through the trauma of the US Civil War and will do anything to avoid another bloodbath.

The Franco-Prussian War ended in humiliating defeat for the French after the Siege of Paris in which civilians were subjected to sustained bombardment, barely surviving a long winter of hunger and bitter cold. This terrible time was followed by yet more bloodshed: the socialist government of the Paris Commune that briefly seized power was crushed by the French Army with devastating violence.

Against this tumultuous backdrop our characters meet, fight their demons, lose their hearts and find love against the rules. We witness the ebb and flow of history and the characters whose lives are forever changed by it. And though set in the past, the novel explores contemporary issues of gender, sexuality, inequality and race. This eagerly awaited novel will delight Stef Penney’s legions of devoted fans.

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