The Paris Commune’s “bloody week” sees the climax of the savagery of the clashes between the Communards and the French Armed Forces loyal to Versailles. Amid the shrapnel and the chaos, while the entire west side of Paris is a field of ruins, a photographer fascinated by the suffering of young women takes “suggestive” photos to sell to a particular clientele. Young women begin disappearing, and when Caroline, a seamstress who volunteers at a first aid station, is counted among the missing, her fiancé Nicolas, a member of the Commune’s National Guard, and Communal security officer Antoine, sets off independently in search of her. Their race against the clock to find her takes them through the shell-shocked streets of Paris, and introduces them to a cast of fascinating characters. In the Shadow of the Fire traces the Communards’ tragic odyssey, while following a breathless criminal investigation.
“Le Corre is an aquafortist. From beginning to end of this dazzling novel, he deepens the shadows in his Paris of soot and night. Here and there, touches of colour: the bloody red of the Communards’ flag, the incandescence of a fire, the flame of a hurricane lamp. Glimmers of hope flicker and don’t go out.” —Le Monde
“In a perfectly constructed historical frame, supported by breathless intrigue, Hervé Le Corre offers up a fascinating red and black novel. To be read passionately!” —aVoir-aLire
“A true history lesson served by extremely precise writing, In the Shadow of the Fire is an astounding epic in which the reader, constantly confronted with suffering, misery, and violence, is taken above all with the strength of the solidarity and heroism of ordinary people, and the infinite hope of those who believe to the end in the causes they are fighting for.” —L’Express
Hervé Le Corre
Hervé Le Corre was born in Paris and currently teaches in the suburbs of Bordeaux. He is the author of several crime fiction novels, including Talking to Ghosts (2014), and After the War (Maclehose Press, 2015). He also writes for the literary magazine Le Passant Ordinaire.