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The Cavalier of the Apocalypse (Aristide Ravel - author's suggested reading order #1)

3.69  ·  Rating details ·  223 Ratings  ·  44 Reviews
In the icy winter of 1786, hunger, cold, and seething frustration with the iron grip of France’s absolute monarchy drive poor and rich alike to outright defiance. Slums, fashionable cafés, and even aristocratic mansions echo with discontent and the first warning signals of the approaching turmoil of 1789.

Paris’s cemeteries are foul and disease-ridden during the last decade
Kindle Edition, 304 pages
Published July 21st 2009 by Minotaur Books (first published 2009)
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The Just-About-Average Ms M
The Cavalier of the Apocalypse is the third book published in the Aristide Ravel series of mysteries, but it is the prequel to the other three books. I’m glad I knew that before I began reading, because reading the books in chronological order is a distinct pleasure.

I don’t recap plots—other folks have done that, so go read those reviews.

This first book is one that can, and should, be read on a number of levels. True, it’s a murder mystery that must be solved the old-fashioned way, by the judici
Tanja Berg
Rating 3.5 out of 5*. This book was a rather consistent three from the start and almost until the end. The ending almost tipped it to a four. I must admit I let the author lead me astray every which way she turned. I am also happy about the lack of guillotines in this book. Then again, the events in this crime novel take place about ten years before the French Revolution, so I don't suppose I should be surprised.

Aristide Ravel is a struggling author when he is inlisted to help solve a murder of
Nov 18, 2015 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
I'm new to this series, so reading the official prequel first was a great introduction to an unusual series.

Aristide Ravel has fled the life of a provincial lawyer, fled his parents, and is instead scraping a living writing revolutionary or grey-market texts when he is drawn to a strange fire in a nearby churchyard. Before long he is investigating not the fires but a murder, learning about a secret society, and opening his life to more than just curiousity.

I'm not overly familiar with prerevolut
Kate Bulman
Jul 10, 2009 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition

Susanne Alleyn has written a third riveting, well-plotted mystery starring
Aristide Ravel, this one set in Paris shortly before the French Revolution and
I think it is definitely the best yet in the series! For you folks who have not
yet discovered this talented author, and who like to read a series “from the beginning”,
you have the rare chance to begin with “The Cavalier..”, as it is a prequel to
the two prior books featuring Aristide Ravel and gives us a glimpse into
how Aristide is
Richard Derus
Dec 18, 2011 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
This very happy and most impressed review has been revised and can now be found at Expendable Mudge Muses Aloud.

Treat yourself to Paris in April.
First Sentence: Aristide Ravel stumbled upon the first fire early on All Hallows’ Eve.

Aristide Revel is a penniless writer who never expects to come across the body of a man lying in the snow of a graveyard with his throat slit and the body marked with Masonic symbols. Police inspector Brasseur, Revel’s former neighbor, quickly recognizes that he is not a suspect in the killing, but quickly makes Revel a subinspector to help solve the crime.

Although this is the most recent book in the series, it
Aug 01, 2013 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
The Cavalier of the Apocalypse is a great start to what may be a promising series. This is actually the first of the series, despite the publishing date and so it is the first of the Aristide Ravel books I've read.

This is a historical mystery placed in late 18th century France. The writing is fantastic, allowing the reader to get swept away to another time and place in a manner that so many historical fiction books lack. I'm sure it's no easy feat to accomplish.

I'm a fan of murder mysteries and
Dec 11, 2012 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: mystery
I liked the historical detail in this book better than in the other book by this author I've read, but I just don't think this series is for me. Mystery series have an internal formula to them (Nero Wolfe gathers everyone into his office after having sent Archie out to woo a lady into spilling all their secrets--that sort of thing). The internal formula of this series just isn't my cup of tea. I like Ravel as a character, but the two books I've read have had him have a love interest that doesn't ...more
Jan 13, 2013 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Don’t be fooled, although this novel looks like it should be the third in the series, it’s actually a prequel to Game of Patience and Treasury of Regrets. READ THIS FIRST!!

I think this book has been my favorite in the series by far. Alleyn transports us to pre-revolutionary France where expressing one’s opinion about the government is illegal, the mysticism regarding secret societies is prevalent and the pursuit of science is frowned upon.
We are introduced to the main characters and their backg
Apr 13, 2012 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Excellent work of historic fiction. The book is set in 1786, in pre-revolutionary France. Aristide Ravel, a struggling writer, is conscripted by government police to assist with the investigation of a gruesome murder. This is the third of three (as of 1/2010) Aristide Ravel novels by Alleyn, but it is the prequel to the other two. No inappropriate content except for a few grisly murder scenes. Safe to recommend without caveat.
Sep 25, 2016 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
In this prequel, the year is 1785 and Aristide Ravel helps put out a fire in a church where he meets Inspector Brasseur, an ex-neighbour of his. A few months later when Brasseur finds a body he 'invites' Ravel to view the body suspecting he might be the murderer (because of Ravel's subversive writings). Unlike other police Brasseur is convinced that he is innocent. So Ravel becomes a sub-Inspector and investigates with the Inspector to clear his name.
I enjoyed the mystery, and the style of writi
Dec 11, 2010 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: murder-mystery
This has been in my obese wish list for a while and I'm so glad I finally got hold of a copy. Or maybe I shouldn't be so glad because I am now hooked on Aristide Ravel, a tainted would-be writer in Paris during the 1700s, who reluctantly becomes a subinspector to the police. A series of fires had been set around churches and cemeteries in Paris, with masonic symbols left as evidence of who might be behind the crime. But until one fateful night, nobody had been injured in these fires. When a man ...more
I finished this today and although it was a good story I am not overly enthusiastic about it. Ravel is the main character and is a struggling writer of seditious political pamphlets. This was not really interesting to me to read about, but luckily Ravel was quickly pulled into the investigation of a murder. Police inspector Brasseur questions Ravel first as a suspect, but quickly rules him out. However, Ravel's thoughts on the crime scene impress Brasseur and he presses Ravel into service as rel ...more
An inviting story to open the series!

Admittedly, "inviting" is probably a poor word to use to describe a tale of multiple murders in pre-Revolutionary Paris. But Alleyn builds the characters and relationships in this story such that there is a very personal attachment, especially to Ravel-- he is a highly endearing man, even if some of his habits and activities are less than reputable.

I think I was expecting the story to get a little more meaty into the politics and drama of the time period, bu
Sep 11, 2009 rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
This is the third book in a series, but this is the prequel. I debated on giving this three stars. I didn't "NOT like" this book, but it'sn ot one that made me think, because I had the plot half figured out in the beggining. That was dissapointing. I was a little bored, it did however in the good parts remind me in a way of Dan Brown's writings, just a little. My biggest complaint is that I didn't feel connected to the main charachter. Maybe because this is the 3rd in the series the author didn' ...more
Pau Cevasco
Jul 21, 2016 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
I thoroughly enjoyed this book. I'm fairly new to the genre and so far few novels manages to capture my interest as much as this one did. Can't tell if it's the setting, the characters, the mystery itself to and the different paths followed to solve it or (most likely) the combination of all of the above that make this book the success I believe it to be.
The narrative is rich and interesting, one certainly feels walking down the streets of pre-revolution Paris and living the life between the nob
Zuzana Urbanek
Apr 09, 2011 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: kindle
Another wonderful installment in the Aristide Ravel canon!

(Actually, if you are about to begin the series, start with this book, which introduces Ravel and his relationship with the police that figures prominently in the rest of the series.)

CAVALIER offers an intriguing mystery with a satisfying ending, all set against the historic backdrop of unsettled times in pre-revolution France. I was so engrossed that it was quite an unhappy day when I finished this volume.

One more Ravel book to go -- I
Sep 19, 2011 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Fortunately, this was the first book I read in Alleyn's Ravel series so I started at "the beginning." I found Ravel to be a multidimensional character and took to him immediately and I knew I would want to read more of his adventures. I didn't thin I would enjoy reading about the French Revolution, but Ms. Alleyn has stirred a passion within me that I didn't know existed. Alleyn's characters are well-drawn and her plots are intriguing with several twists and turns along the way to keep even an a ...more
Aug 25, 2009 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
This was a very interesting book; it combines bits of social, political, and religious life of pre-revolutionary France. It is a actually a prequel to 2 of Alleyn's other works (which I will add to my 'to read' list soon). This historical mystery features a struggling writer who (almost accidentally) finds himself in the employ of the local police (not necessarily a good thing to be in France at that time) to help solve a particularly brutal murder. The Freemasons play a role (shades of Dan Brow ...more
Given my enjoyment of A Far Better Rest, Susanne Alleyn's novel based on A Tale of Two Citiesby Dickens, I expected a great deal of this prequel to her mystery series.

It was OK. I found it slow and overly expository at the outset. I wasn't that impressed by the Freemasonry content.
Alison Bahmüller
What a great read! I liked this book so much, that for a few days I was either reading it, or thinking about it, or wanting to read it. And when I finished reading it, I wanted to learn more about freemasonry, pre-revolutionary France and the French revolution.
This book kept me hooked throughout, and I kept changing my idea about who the killer was, till the very end.
It is impossible not to like the main character, Aristide Ravel. I definitely want to read more about him.
Nov 09, 2014 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: french-rev
I expected more from this book but it turned out to be disappointingly mediocre. The characters and the plot were dull and somewhat unrealistic, the main protagonist was rather flat, and the "mystery" easily solvable halfway through. The unwarranted appearance of real people as characters (like Desmoulins and Cagliostro) felt sensationalist at best, although the time period the book is set is fascinating. I hope the next installment will be better.
Sep 06, 2010 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
This is prequel to 2 other books. I'm glad I stumbled across this in my travels through the library as I probably wouldn't have chosen it from a review or a cruise through Amazon, etc. It's a very good absorbing story that is set in the time before the French Revolution and involves Masons, murder, infidelity, and politics.
Sep 26, 2015 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
The Cavalier of the Apocalypse was made available free of charge for Nook readers and I took advantage of the offer. What a wonderful surprise awaited - an historical mystery with good characterization, lots of twists of turns to keep me guessing until the end and historically interesting. An all around winner.
This book really evokes the era and setting. The unrest that led to the Revolution is well written and incorporated into the story.
I really like Ravel, he's a bit of a boring troublemaker, if such a thing is possible. He's smart and despite his reluctance, he's a very good detective.
Jun 18, 2016 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Believable historical mystery

Paris before the revolution is setting for tale mixing little known facets of art world and the hesitant mingling of the younger members of a changing society. Very readable.
Storyline was good, as well as the characters.
Found the description of the city very annoying in the first
chapters. Didn't nned to know the names opf streets in Paris, which no longer exisrt Amap printed at the beginning of the book would have done the job.
Sep 01, 2009 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Paris, 3 years before the revolution. A scribbler who writes screed against the gov't, treasonous Freemasons, a beautiful woman, betrayal, pseudo friends and a missing dead body. Good story twists and excellent sense of place/time
Feb 03, 2010 rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
Could be shorter with better editing. Made me want to go back to Paris. Interesting bit about veterinarian Fragonard and his weird "sculptures" of dead bodies and dead animals. Some of these apparently still exist--I'll have to look it up.
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The granddaughter of children’s author Lillie V. Albrecht (author of Deborah Remembers, The Spinning Wheel Secret, and three other historicals, all now available for Kindle), Susanne Alleyn definitely doesn’t write for children, unless, like her, they have found guillotines, high drama, and the French Revolution fascinating since the age of ten or so.

Susanne grew up in Massachusetts and New York C
More about Susanne Alleyn...

Other Books in the Series

Aristide Ravel - author's suggested reading order (4 books)
  • Palace of Justice (Aristide Ravel, #2)
  • Game of Patience (Aristide Ravel, #3)
  • A Treasury of Regrets (Aristide Ravel, #4)
“No, I mean love. Jealousy is just a form of selfishness; it’s somebody who can’t bear the knowledge that he’s lost something he thought was his. But murder for love…that’s a person acting completely against his usual nature because he has such an intense love for somebody, or something. If what he loves is an idea, then you call it a murder for principles, but it’s all the same in the end. Gain, jealousy, revenge, self-preservation, love,” he repeated, ticking them off on his fingers. “Remember that.” The” 0 likes
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