Excerpt: The Siren of Paris by David LeRoy

The Siren of Paris
By: David LeRoy
Publisher: David Tribble Publishing
Published: July 9, 2012
Genre: Historical Fiction

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Born in Paris and raised in the United States, 21-year-old Marc Tolbert enjoys the advantages of being born to a wealthy, well-connected family.. Reaching a turning point in his life, he decides to abandon his plans of going to medical school and study art in Paris. In 1939, he boards a ship and heads to France, blissfully unaware that Europe — along with the rest of the world — is on the brink of an especially devastating war.

When he arrives at l’École Nationale Supérieure des Beaux Arts, more ominous signs surface. There are windows covered with tape, sandbags shielding the fronts of important buildings, whispers of Parisian children leaving the city, and gas masks being distributed. Distracted by a blossoming love affair, Marc isn’t too worried about his future, and he certainly doesn’t expect a Nazi invasion of France.

Marc has a long journey ahead of him. He witnesses, first-hand, the fall of Paris and the departure of the French government. Employed by an ambassador, he visits heads of state, including the horribly obese gray-haired Mussolini and the charismatic Hitler. He witnesses the effects of the tightening vise of occupation, first-hand, as he tries to escape the country. He also participates in the French resistance, spends time in prison camps, and sees the liberation of the concentration camps. During his struggles, he is reunited with the woman he loves, Marie, who speaks passionately of working with the resistance. Is she working for freedom, or is she not to be trusted?


“Marc, Marc,” a voice called out from the bustling Metro crowd. Marc turned, but could not see who had called his name, and doubted if it was even for him. As he turned back, he heard his name again. David emerged from behind a crowd of young school children.

     “Shouldn’t you be out at Fontainebleau?”
     “Hey, yes, I am heading back now. I came into Paris to line up my next flat,” Marc said, shaking David’s hand.
     “Dora said the same, plus that she had been showing you off around town,” David said as the crowd of young school children moved around them.
     “Ah, yes, the gang. How is Nigel?”
     “Good. He is out of town right now on some banking business. I have been busy as well. I have a new supplier and have been lining up the contracts back in the States.”
     “David, I need to catch this train.”
     “No problem. When you are in Paris, we can meet up at Dora’s for a Sunday brunch.”
     “You bet.”
     Marc patted David’s shoulder and left to board the train that would take him to the southeast side of Paris. On board, a woman moved through the cabin toward the rear, passing row after row of school children. “Are all you little ones going on a holiday?” she said as she passed.
     “We are going south in case the Germans bomb the city,” a boy said, looking up at her.
     “That is absurd. Nothing will happen, but you have a good trip all the same.”
     After making a connection back to Fontainebleau, Marc spent the evening drawing.
     “How was Paris?” his roommate asked.
     “A bit tense. It appears they are sending the little ones out of the city.”
     “The drama of it all. I bet that was the government’s idea. Always trying to convince us of the impending doom.”
     “You think it is all a hoax?”
     “Don’t you?”
     A light breeze entered through the open windows of the third-floor life-drawing classroom the following afternoon of September 1, 1939. Marc could not quite figure out if the room at one time had been a drawing room, dressing room, or parlor. The gold leafing of the plaster molds was barely visible. The mirrors held cracks in the gilding. He knew it was not a valuable room; otherwise, it would never have become home to an art class. The entire school might be held within the servants’ quarters, but Marc preferred not to ask and instead allowed his imagination to run wild. “They say in the papers nearly 16,000 children have now left the city,” Marc overheard from a discussion next to him.
     “I believe they are now passing out the gas masks,” another student said in a hushed tone.


A native of California, David received a BA in Philosophy and Religion at Point Loma Nazarene College in San Diego. After returning from a European arts study program, he became interested in the history behind the French Resistance during World War Two. Writing fiction has become his latest way to explore philosophical, moral and emotional issues of life. The Siren of Paris is his first novel.
For more information about David, visit his website.

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