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The Twelve Children of Paris (Tannhauser Trilogy #2)

3.87  ·  Rating details ·  535 Ratings  ·  84 Reviews
Paris, August 23rd, 1572.

What do you do when your wife disappears?

In the middle of the bloodiest massacre in European history?

And you know she is about to give birth to your only child?

Three wars of religion have turned Paris into a foetid cauldron of hatred, intrigue and corruption. The Royal Wedding, intended to heal the wounds, has served only to further poison the fana
Hardcover, 768 pages
Published May 23rd 2013 by Jonathan Cape (first published 2012)
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Asteropê Looks like Kindle is only available in the UK -
Which can be found here: …more
Looks like Kindle is only available in the UK -
Which can be found here:

I didn't check Amazon Canada or might be available there too.

Community Reviews

(showing 1-30)
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Kristen McDermott
I'm really conflicted about this one. I loved The Religion, and this sequel has many of its good qualities -- a macabre sense of humor, memorable, surprising characters, and a keen sense of period values and morals. The premise -- that Mattias becomes increasingly encumbered by brave, precocious, endangered children in his quest to navigate the labyrinth of Paris and rescue his very pregnant wife -- is compelling, sometimes hilarious, and touching without being overly sentimental. The story is c ...more
Robin Carter
Apr 12, 2013 rated it it was amazing

When I first heard about this book, the first thing I did was email and ask for a review copy, by ask I mean beg. Apparently after taking pity on me for my pitiful email or just to stop me emailing any-more Tim’s publicist sent me a copy.
There are two reasons I wanted to read this book so badly.
1) This book while in my favourite genre, takes me well outside my comfort zone. It is so much more visually detailed that my usual read.
2) Tim Willocks last book Religion was so good and so long ag
Keith Currie
Mar 14, 2017 rated it it was ok
First do as much harm as you possibly can, or, The science of butchery

This is an overblown, overwritten, over-violent, bloated mess of a novel, which despite its ghastly message manages to conceal the occasional gem beneath a rising mountain of ordure, blood and lopped off body parts.

You get 750+ pages of pretty much non-stop slaughter, lovingly described in the most lurid of detail. The author is a trained surgeon and (worryingly) it shows: ‘Tannhauser…clove him square through the web of the ne
Jonathan Trinder
Sep 22, 2013 rated it liked it
First things first - I like Willocks. I went to the trouble to write a positive review of The Religion on Amazon, responding to someone who described it as a mere 'bodice-ripper'. I thought it was a beautifully written action novel about a man who starts out interested mostly in profit and women, and ends up caring more about family. I was really looking forward to this sequel.

Alas, I've been a little let down. Twelve Children has its moments, but they're matched by problems. To wit - its length
Jun 18, 2015 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: middle-ages, owned
This book was exhausting! It's unendingly gory, dark and definitely qualifies for doorstop status, but this was definitely an improvement on the promising-but-frustrating Religion. More to come when the gelid cake of blood left on my psyche by this book flakes off.
Jan 28, 2013 rated it it was amazing
I've waited years for this,the return of Matthias Tannhauser. If I'd lived in the middle ages the last thing I'd want to do is upset this one man army but some people never learn. What I love about Tim Willocks books is not just the violence,and believe me there's loads of it,it's the way he conjurs up the sights and smells of the world he describes. This isn't your usual wham,bam historical romp. It's so much more than that. I loved it so much,if I hadn't had a queue of people waiting to read i ...more
Magda Kossakowska
Bloody perfect read:-)
Adam Nevill
May 21, 2017 rated it it was amazing
Book Recs: Extended action scenes, battle scenes, meaningful depictions of large scale violence, can be hard to depict in prose. I don't tend to enjoy reading them; maybe the screen is a better medium in this area. But there are some masterly literary practitioners of combat on a large scale (Abercrombie, McCarthy, Doctorow spring to mind). Willocks is another writer who excels in this area, and not only does he excel at depicting the appalling savagery of historical warfare, he also excels at r ...more
Todd Bronson
Aug 05, 2016 rated it it was amazing
Tim Willocks writes with very gruesome action married to literary beauty. Yet in doing so he relates to all of us on the most basic of the human condition...depravity. A very intense read that I had to force myself to govern the speed I could have read, to delay its ending. Only one of three books that brought me to tears.
Nov 06, 2017 rated it it was amazing
Quite possibly better than The Religion.
Nathan Flamank
Feb 22, 2013 rated it it was amazing
Best novel of 2013 so far...

This stunning sequel to the epic that was THE RELIGION continues in the same hard, bloody vein.

Set in Paris in 1572 during one of Europe's bloodiest massacres never has so much blood been spilt by one man as he searches for his wife through the ravaged streets of a stinking Paris. Every page drips visceral imagery; the descriptions of the cesspit that was Paris at that time is a million miles from any image you may have had in your own mind prior to reading this novel
Tom Richards
May 31, 2013 rated it liked it
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
Jun 18, 2014 rated it it was ok
Recommended to Sylvain by: Télérama
Shelves: historical
I'm sorry to say I didn't enjoy The Twelve Children... as much as the first book in the trilogy: The Religion. In my opinion, the latter reached a better balance between fighting scenes, historical background, characterization and even political & theological discussions.
This one seems to be mostly about the fighting in the streets of Paris in the midst of the St. Bartholomew's Day massacre & there was only so much I could take about main character Tannhauser's fighting skills & the
Alan Marchant
Jun 30, 2017 rated it it was amazing
When I was a kid, I wanted to be a surgeon - heart, brain, whatever. That helps explain why I so enjoyed this 750 page anatomy lesson.

We first met Mattias Tannhauser in The Religion as a slave trained in the arts of war as a Janissary and transmogrified during the Siege of Malta as a Knight Hospitaler. In Twelve Children, Tannhauser has matured, but his untrammeled sense of morality is more idiosyncratic than ever. The story spans just two days as Tannhauser searches for his pregnant wife who ha
Jun 29, 2014 rated it liked it
endless gore interspersed with fascinating and wry ruminations of the great Mattias Tannhauser. I enjoyed Willocks' black humor and philosophy that living exactly in the moment is enough (though I truly doubt anyone would agree that a moment of true knowledge of the world is enough to prepare one for death). However, the historical premise of St Bartholomew's Day Massacre was slim to support a 700 page tome like this, and the unrelieved killing was not enough balanced by historical interest or s ...more
Jo Barton
Jun 20, 2013 rated it really liked it
Set in Paris in 1572, the story focuses on the quest by Mattias Tannhauser to find his wife, Carla, who has disappeared. Without knowing Mattias arrives in Paris on St Bartholomew’s Eve and is unwillingly drawn into one of the bloodiest massacres in European history.

This book is a sequel to Tim Willcocks' previous book, The Religion, and whilst some of the characters are the same, this is an entirely different story, but is no less powerful. There is the same fine attention to historic detail, a
Antony Kelly
May 19, 2017 rated it it was amazing
Showtime, HBO, Chris Hemsworth, Penelope Cruz, Javier Bardem.
I would love to have 200 million euro and adapt this in to a movie.
Tannhauser does a "Taken" meets "Rambo 5" and with every weapon known
to mortal man goes forth and wreaks havoc in a Paris overtaken by a long forgotten genocide in
search of his wife.

It's a bit like Orpheus descent into hell to find Eurydice, except in this case
Orpheus, is armed to the teeth and has been through the wars, literally.

If you like your men, men and you have
Sean Irwin
Jan 11, 2014 rated it it was ok

That was my reaction after finishing the book. The first half of TCoP was true historical fiction. The latter half was a 14th century literary version of Call of Duty. The graphic detail in which the author describes the kills is too in depth. However, what did it for me was the fact that the author denies us the reason for the conspiracy. I hope the third book returns to the original Religion style format.
May 30, 2013 rated it it was amazing
Incredibly bloody and violent. Tannhauser carries on a war almost single handed as he searches for Carla, his wife, throughout the terrors of the St Bartholomew's Eve Massacre in Paris. All the action takes place within a day and night. The violence is gruesomely portrayed, but you keep reding because you have become so involved with the characters.
Aug 24, 2013 rated it it was amazing
Most brutal book I've ever read. Absolutely unrelenting in its gore-soaked bleakness
If I have to wait 7 more years for the next book in the series I will cry.
Aug 06, 2013 rated it it was amazing
One of the best two books I've read. The other one is the first in this series. The Religion.
Jan 07, 2014 rated it did not like it
I'm admitting defeat at page 279.
Darren Turpin
May 16, 2017 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: historical
Enthralling and horrifying, brutal and beautiful. Just incredible.
Jul 26, 2017 rated it really liked it
An incredibly bloody book, probably not a surprise from Tim Willocks, but this one takes it to a new level of gore. It carries on the story of Mattias Tannhauser from Willocks' "The Religion" book, this time the guy happens to arrive in Paris just before the massacre of the Huguenots (Protestants) - not something I knew a lot of before reading this.

The book is thick and heavy and took some getting through, but I think it just covers something like a 24-48 hour period as Mattias slaughters his wa
Andrew Doohan
As a sequel to his first book in the trilogy, The Religion, this novel was a disappointment. I rather enjoyed the first instalment, but this was just too long, too convoluted, and too bloody and violent even for my tastes.

The basic storyline was at times lost in the minutiae Willocks used to describe the various battle and slaughter scenes - of which there were many, maybe even too many - and as a result I at times felt lost among the trees instead of enjoying the forest.

I am, as yet, unsure if
Jun 27, 2017 rated it really liked it
Imagine what it would be like if the terminator was sent back to Paris in 1572 to find and protect a woman and her baby during a bloody uprising. Lacking guns, it would probably have gone a lot like this book did with Mattias slaughtering his way through the city to save his wife and the wayward children he meets along the way. Very entertaining but it's too bad no one really seemed to provide Mattias with much of a challenge as he mows them all down by the score.
Jason Freeze
Sep 13, 2017 rated it liked it
Overall it was an entertaining book and I enjoy the way the author approaches his historical fiction. The only downside to it for me was the exaggerated battle scenes. While I can appreciate the capabilities of a trained and experienced warrior far surpassing those of militia, the sheer volume of slaughter is beyond belief. In that way it needs to be approached more like a Mathew Reilly book.
Jan 13, 2018 rated it it was ok
Moins intéressant que le 1er tome. Beaucoup trop de combats, sang, violence.
Jennifer Roberts
May 19, 2017 rated it liked it
Good, but not as good as the first one.
Jun 23, 2017 rated it did not like it  ·  review of another edition
Moins bon que le premier tome " la religion". Livre de vacances facile à lire, prenant, sur fond historique
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British doctor and novelist.
More about Tim Willocks...

Other Books in the Series

Tannhauser Trilogy (2 books)
  • The Religion (Tannhauser, #1)

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