Historical novel and black novel: an effective symbiosis | Babelia


Marius Pontmercy and his friend Enjorlas were convinced in The Miserables that the progress initiated a few years before with the French Revolution was inexorable, that the world born of that outbreak would survive. Niklas Natt Och Dag puts his gaze in the center of that hurricane but in Sweden, at a key moment. There it places this swedish aristocrat 1793 (Salamandra), an ambitious novel that resorts to a crime and an investigation to tell a time, a change. In another essential point of that world in full birth the action of Under the flames, by Hervé Le Corre (Reservoirbooks, translation by Teresa Clavel), in which a commissioner chosen by the people in the Paris Commune is determined to find a murderer of women and justice is done in the middle of the end of the world.

The two books have very different origins. Natt Och Dag’s is a first novel that is part of a trilogy and has already become a sales phenomenon throughout Europe, while Le Corre is part of a much broader career, that of a classic I live from not to go French. However, the two are part of a subgenre that hybridizes the history with the police to take the best of each, a trend in which the publishers have set themselves with intensity and that, according to their bets for the near future, will give More good news.

Swedish writer Niklas Natt Och Dag.


Swedish writer Niklas Natt Och Dag.

Cecil Winge is a physical researcher, with a scheduled date of death, of implacable memory and admirer of Rousseau and new ideas, a lover of truth and justice who insists on 1793 in finding the truth about a torso they have found in the river. The impeccable procedural that develops from this idea has as co-star Mickell Cardell, a war veteran, manco, alcoholic and quarrelsome with which the author covers another essential part of the Swedish society of the time. Divided into four parts, the structure raises the events that occurred in autumn of 1793 and goes back twice (to the summer and spring of the same year) to present the other pieces of the puzzle and proceed in the final part to its resolution. Most of the characters star short lives, surrounded by death and doomed to a cruel end. Through the plot, the author dives into the hypocrisy and corruption of the kingdom of Sweden at the time, and shows how the powers allied with the wicked or nourished them and made the truth unattainable, an approach that contemporary craving. “There are things in this world that no one can change and the privilege of the strong is one of them, whatever your beloved Rousseau says,” a corrupt policeman tells Winge to reflect all this.

Herve runs.


Herve runs.

“We may not leave this one alive, but at least we will have done what we had to do,” says the honest circumstantial policeman who stars Under the flames. Antoine Roques is a former bookbinder chosen by the curator in the Paris Commune “for his integrity.” He is also a good man who knows that the Commune will be defeated, but that he has the opportunity to find the monster he is kidnapping, raping and killing young people and restore some justice in the world. The protagonist of the Le Corre novel responds to the model of Bernie gunther or Martin Bora, men for whom any death matters as much as the others and who seek to solve ordinary crimes in the midst of the end of the world. In Under the flames We know from a very early age who is being persecuted and why, but that does not detract from the plot of interest. Like in 1793, the author uses dialogues and history to show a world in constant reinvention. Parallel to the resolution of the intrigue is a polyhedral account of the fall of the Commune that moves the reader to the barricades of The Miserables. Pujols, a brutal life-assassin murderer who has tasted the taste of evil and is unable to disengage, is the anarchist counterpoint to all revolutionaries idealism. A coachman from the dark past who knows that only redemption is left complete a very remarkable first group of characters. But there is more: there is not a revolutionary without profiling, nor a reason without arguing and each character thus built enriches the historical part of the plot.

Two books, in short, that prove that in good hands the hybridization of the police genre with the historical yields editorial and literary revenues.





SEARCH ON-LINE ‘Under the flames’

Author: Herve runs
Translator: Teresa Clavel Lledó
Editorial: Reservoir Books, 2020
Format: Paperback 464 pages / 20.90 euros – e-Book 9.9 euros

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