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The Rhetoric of Death (Charles Du Luc #1)

3.71  ·  Rating Details ·  470 Ratings  ·  71 Reviews

Paris, 1686: When The Bishop of Marseilles discovers that his young cousin Charles du Luc, former soldier and half-fledged Jesuit, has been helping heretics escape the king's dragoons, the bishop sends him far away-to Paris, where Charles is assigned to assist in teaching rhetoric and directing dance at the prestigious college of Louis le Grand.

Charles quickly embraces hi

ebook, 384 pages
Published October 1st 2010 by Berkley Books (first published September 11th 2010)
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I thought this was an excellent book. Very little is known about the people or the events. It is just recorded for the most part that they happened. She did a beautiful job with it. Charles deLuc was a former soldier (fictional), then Jesuit. It was during the Hugenot Hundred Years period, and there was their own holocust in spite of the kings edicts of tolerance. Families were on opposite sides, and the dragoons were the equivalent of Hitler's Gestapo as far as rounding up the people and gettin ...more
Dana Stabenow
Good characterization and good period detail make this an engaging read. It's France, 1686, in the middle of Louis XIV's secretly continued persecution of the Protestant Huguenots. Jesuit father-in-training Charles du Lac connives at the escape to Protestant Switzerland of Huguenot cousin (and childhood love) Pernelle. For his -- and their -- own safety fearful relatives hustle him out of southern France to Paris, where he takes up a position at the Jesuit college Louis Le Grand. Trouble follows ...more
Deborah Swift
Sep 24, 2011 Deborah Swift rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Judith Rock has certainly led an eventful life. She has been a dancer and choreographer, a police officer in the NYPD and also holds a doctorate in art and theology. You might think it would be difficult to weave ballet, crime and Jesuit theology into one novel, but Judith Rock does it with aplomb.

Her main character, the delightful Charles du Luc, is rather too good looking to stay as a Jesuit priest without encountering romance, and without it causing him problems. He is also blessed with a fie
Description: Paris, 1686: When The Bishop of Marseilles discovers that his young cousin Charles du Luc, former soldier and half-fledged Jesuit, has been helping heretics escape the king's dragoons, the bishop sends him far away-to Paris, where Charles is assigned to assist in teaching rhetoric and directing dance at the prestigious college of Louis le Grand.

Charles quickly embraces his new life and responsibilities. But on his first day, the school's star dancer disappears from rehearsal, and th
Barbara Tiede
Mar 15, 2013 Barbara Tiede rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: 2013
This is the debut of former soldier and novice Jesuit Charles du Luc. His illustrious cousin, the Bishop of Marseilles, has made the horrifying discovery that Charles has been helping Huguenots escape the king’s dragoons and, rather than consigning him to the galleys, the bishop settles for sending him far away---to Paris, where Charles is assigned to assist in teaching rhetoric and directing dance at the college of Louis le Grand.
But no sooner does Charles arrive at the college when the school’
Susanna - Censored by GoodReads
Really appreciated the setting, unusual for a historical mystery (in English, anyway).
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
Dec 27, 2010 Dorie rated it really liked it
Overall a great first book and I look forward to the next from this author.

Former soldier and Jesuit in training Charles du Lac helps some Protestants (including a former love) escape King Louis XIV’s dragoons. When his cousin the Bishop of Marseilles finds out, he arranges Charles to be transferred to Paris to teach rhetoric and assist in directing dance at the prestigious Louis Le Grand. On his first day one of the dancers leaves class and is later found murdered.

Charles was a likeable protago
Oct 24, 2010 Jacqie rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
This is a great first book, with an interesting, conflicted protagonist. We've got a young Jesuit priest with family ties to the Huguenots, sent to Paris after he gets a bit too involved with a Protestant cousin and gets dangerously close to being linked with heretics (this was during the Catholic crackdown by Louis XIV).
Young Charles is a sympathetic character, and the author draws the reader quickly into the world of the Jesuit Parisian school. I didn't know that Jesuits had such an interest i
Valerie Campbell Ackroyd
The author writes "The past is a patchwork of what we know, what we may guess, and what we can never know." As I read The Rhetoric of Death I asked myself many times if this was really the way that the 17th century was, especially the descriptions of the Jesuits. My knowledge of French history is fuzzy but this book has awakened my interest in it, in the Jesuits, in classical knowledge, tremendously. The mystery wasn't a deep one--we know early on who one of the "nasties" is but it is the settin ...more
The end saved this book. The mystery was a decent one but the book itself could have been about 100 pages shorter.
Oct 07, 2010 Bridget rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
I thoroughly enjoyed this book. The plot was engaging and the characters were memorable. Judith's writing style is unique and addicting. I would give this book five stars.
Nov 03, 2010 Kathy rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Wonderful sense of time and place, intriguing and believable mystery. I liked the hero's internal dialogues w/ God and his growth as a believer while also being smart and observant.
Interesting time period, 17th century Paris, and setting, the Jesuit school of Louis le Grand, plus a full cast of intriguing characters made this an engrossing historical mystery.

Mary G.
Apr 04, 2011 Mary G. rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
I really liked the book. Charles the main character is flawed but smart. The period is well thoughout and I will be looking forward to his next adventure.
Toni Osborne
Book 1, in the Charles Du Luc series

This debut novel is a patchwork of known events and a lot of imagination by a very active mind. This historical fiction spins a tale of interesting and rich details set in the sumptuous Paris of the 17th century France.

The opening act is staged at the college of Louis le Grand, where the Jesuits produced drama, lavish ballets and opera as part of their teaching rhetoric. The main player is the delightful fictional character Charles du Luc, a good looking Jesu
Jun 20, 2011 Lucinda rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
The Rhetoric of Death (Berkley 2010) introduces Charles Matthieu Beuvron du Luc, on the path to become a Jesuit priest after a shoulder wound ended his army career. Louis XIV has revoked the Edict of Nantes, denying freedom from persecution to French Protestants, known as Huguenots, and declaring those who help them guilty of treason. When his cousin, the Bishop of Marseilles, learns that Charles has helped his Huguenot cousin Pernelle escape to Geneva, the bishop sends Charles from Provençal to ...more
The Rhetoric of Death
3 Stars

A former soldier and half-hearted Jesuit, Charles du Luc is relocated to Paris after he is caught aiding fugitive Huguenots. As the new teacher of rhetoric at a Jesuit school, Charles soon finds himself embroiled in a deadly game of cat and mouse when one of the students is murdered and another is the victim of a near fatal accident.

The premise of a murder at a Jesuit school is compelling and the book touches on some interesting themes including religious wars, polit
M Christopher
I very much enjoyed this first book in a series of mysteries by Judith Rock. The protagonist is a young Jesuit in training for the priesthood. Like a young Cadfael, he brings a military background and a keen eye for details to his new life in a religious order. Also like Cadfael, he enjoys the trust of his superior and has a first-antagonistic but slowly warming relationship with the head of local law enforcement. His fellows regard him with a mixture of disdain and admiration but he always seem ...more
Astronomica Peripatetica
Loved the historical detail, feel that the place and circumstances were very well-researched. Appreciate the long-term plotting the author has done to tie the series together so that not only are there individual story arcs but the main characters have relationships that develop over the course of several books. So what holds me back from "loving" these books? So far, just a couple of things. The hero, in some ways. Tall, handsome, blonde, excellent dancer, noble, former soldier now Jesuit maitr ...more
Aug 09, 2013 Rich rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: 2013
The Rhetoric of Death is a tightly spun mystery that the details and clues funnel into a precise conclusion and exciting end. This novel features a very well written plot involving a questioning Jesuit that has been ostracized due to his beliefs of what is right and wrong.

While shipped off to a prestigious Jesuit college in Paris, Charles is confronted with a murder and a puzzling mystery that touches not only his education but his personal secrets as well. He must solve the mystery surrounding
This debut novel had a few problems, but overall it was a quick and entertaining read with some really great characters. Set in Louis XIV's Paris, at a well known Jesuit school, it features a young, idealistic Jesuit maître who has Huguenot sympathies. Charles is a bundle of internal conflict, yet he remains supremely likable, which is refreshing. I was quite impressed with Rock's integration of historical figures into the fictional plot, and I found myself learning a lot about French (and Engli ...more
Nancy Adams
A Jesuit priest investigates murder in 17th-century Paris. Everything you want in a historical mystery: a compelling, three-dimensional hero, fascinating setting, fabulous writing, and a twisty plot that never fails to surprise.

Actually, the hero, Charles du Luc, isn't yet a full-fledged priest. He's completed his preliminary training as a novice and has arrived at the stage of "scholasticus" in his Jesuit formation. His life is complicated by his Huguenot relations, whom he genuinely cares for
Martha Bryce
Feb 16, 2012 Martha Bryce rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
I loved this book! Set in France in the late 17th century, Charles du Lac, a former soldier and now Jesuit who has not yet taken his final orders to become a priest, helps his cousin and first love escape the Hugeunot persecution in France. To protect Charles, his bishop transfers him to a wonderful Jesuit school in Paris where he will teach rhetoric and assist in teaching theater and ballet. Almost as soon as he arrives, Charles is thrust into danger and intrigue when the school's premier danc ...more
The war between personal and socially (constructed and given) revelation are central themes in this book. That little battle that goes in our mind when socially, we are told something is moral, but we inside feel it is immoral, or vise versa. Really challenges the works of moralist, Immanuel Kant.

But the novel was very slow moving in the beginning and I quickly lost interest (I finished because it had a due date for the library).

The novel was not my type of "plateau", but I liked it never the l
Sue Mccormack
Aug 06, 2014 Sue Mccormack rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
It took awhile for me to warm up to this one. I would pick it up, put it down, and pick it up again. There was a lot going - Jesuits, Huguenots, politics, ballet, etc. It was a period of time with which I was totally unfamiliar and it took time to find my way. Then I stayed the course and the last half just flew - there were murders, chases, tidbits about Paris. At the end I found myself very satisfied - it was the sort of historical mystery I like, one based almost totally on real events and pe ...more
Yves Fey
Aug 01, 2013 Yves Fey rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
I just recently discovered this series, and have eagerly embarked on them all. It’s a dramatic series, but possesses a great deal of charm. The prose is elegant, the characters vivid and varied, the sense of period fabulous. I loved Charles du Luc, the Jesuit hero, with his earthly passions and spiritual longings, and the portraits of the other teachers at the school were also intriguing. The depiction of the Jesuit school and in particular the dance program within it, are fascinating. The myste ...more
I had a ton of trouble getting through this one. It's difficult to enjoy a book when you don't enjoy the main character and, for the longest time, Charles was pretty bland. I think the story started integrating aspects of his past way too late to really qualify this as an interesting read for me. I loved the ending, these are the sort of endings I love seeing in a book that's part of a series, you have all the information you need to form a complete narrative and it doesn't act as a "Buy the nex ...more
Mitch McCrimmon
Feb 13, 2014 Mitch McCrimmon rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Well written historical novel, convincing depiction of 17th century France and convent life. Good murder mystery and enjoyable main character. The only reason I can't give it 5 stars is the amount of detail about the monks putting on musical theatre productions. I guess they did that sort of thing but it is a digression from the main plot. The author is into that sort of thing which explains why she spends so much time on it, but I personally found the dance and music parts rather boring. Howeve ...more
Kristen Schrader (Wenke)
This is a mystery about a French Jesuit priest who arrives at a new school just as a student is murdered. He ignores orders to leave it alone, and investigates the mystery independently.

This novel was poetic and descriptive, and I identified with the main character. But as a mystery it was very bland. There was only ever 1 suspect. No surprises. And all of the best action or big "aha!" moments in the story happened outside of the narrative. Then a supporting character would inform the protagonis
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Judith Rock has written on dance, art, and theology for many journals, and has been artist-in-residence and taught and lectured at colleges, seminaries, and conferences across the United States and abroad. After years in New York, she and her husband currently split their time between Louisville, Kentucky, and Sarasota, Florida.
More about Judith Rock...

Other Books in the Series

Charles Du Luc (4 books)
  • The Eloquence of Blood (Charles Du Luc, #2)
  • A Plague of Lies
  • The Whispering of Bones

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