Cornelius von Baerle lives only to cultivate the elusive black tulip and win a magnificent prize for its creation. But when his powerful godfather is assassinated, the unwitting Cornelius becomes caught up in a deadly political intrigue. Falsely accused of high treason by a bitter rival, Cornelius is condemned to life in prison. His only comfort is Rosa, the jailer's beautiful daughter, who helps him concoct a plan to grow the black tulip in secret. As Robin Buss explains in his informative introduction, Dumas infuses his story with elements from the history of the Dutch Republic (including two brutal murders) and Holland's seventeenth-century "tulipmania" phenomenon.
My thoughts: If you have read "The Three Musketeers," "The Count of Monte Cristo," and/or "The Man in the Iron Mask by Alexander Dumas you might be expecting and adventurous swash buckling type of story. You would be wrong. It is actually, as the title indicates, about events surrounding a black tulip. The main character to me is somewhat self centered and unaware of things around him that did not have to do with tulips. At first I didn't really like him but he grew on me. His love interest, Rose was a strong character.
I liked learning about the time period, becoming acquainted with "tulipmania." The killings at the beginning of the book were quite brutal and depicted in gory detail. These, I later read, were actual events. Wow.
Over all I liked this book, I enjoyed the sense of time and place, the romance was sweet, the story woven through actual historical events was interesting. I recommend it.
Read it online