Wednesday, August 1, 2012

The Siren of Paris, the debut work of historical fiction by David LeRoy

Summary of the Novel (from Amazon):

In German occupied Paris, a group of unlikely people join in collaboration to smuggle Allied airman south to Spain. One of those intrepid heroes happens to be American. The Siren of Paris, the debut work of historical fiction by David LeRoy, tells a searing story of love, betrayal, forgiveness, and war that brings to vivid life the shimmering City of Lights during its darkest hours during World War II.

The story starts in 1939, when Marc Tolbert, the French-born son of a prominent American family, takes off for Paris to follow his dream of becoming an artist. Marc’s life soon sparkles in the ex-pat scene in Paris. His new friend Dora introduces him to a circle that includes the famous Sylvia Beach, owner of the bookstore Shakespeare & Company; and he accepts a job with William Bullitt, US ambassador to France. At art school, he finds himself further enchanted by the alluring model Marie.

Marc’s Parisian reverie, however, is soon clouded over by the increasing threat from Germany. As Americans scramble to escape Paris, he finds himself trapped by the war, and nearly meets his fate on the disastrous day of June 17, 1940, aboard the RMS Lancastria. Upon returning to Paris, his fate grows more troubled still, as he smuggles Allied airman through the American Hospital to the Paris Resistance underground, until a profound betrayal leads him into the hands of the Gestapo and onto Buchenwald.

Rigorously researched and vibrant in historical detail, The Siren of Paris reimagines one of history’s most turbulent times through the prism of an American abroad in Europe’s most harrowing days. Poignant, gripping, and thought-provoking, The Siren of Paris mines the human dilemma of revenge versus forgiveness, and vividly captures the conflicted state of survival.


     “Marc, I have a question for you,” Marie said. “Yes,” he said nervously, wondering if the argument would escalate. “I model for another class, and the male model has been called up. There is a session tomorrow night and I need a model for some classic poses. There will be a few seven-minute poses and likely one longer pose of thirty or forty minutes. I think you would be perfect.”
     “I have never modeled before,” he stammered. “Oh, it is cake. Don’t worry. Besides, it will give you a new appreciation when you are drawing your subject. It is important to know what life is like on the other side. Your work is very good and this will make it even better. What do you say? Class is at six in the evening.”      “Uh … what kind of poses?” he asked, relaxing a little.

     “Classical,” Marie said. Marc arrived before Marie. The instructor showed him the dressing room. Marie entered a few minutes later.

     “Are you nervous?” she asked. “A little,” he said, shaking out his hands. “I’m not sure how I will do.”
     “I am always nervous just before, but it goes away.” Marie removed her blouse and dropped her dress. “Do I strip here?” Marc looked left and right nervously.

     “Of course. I know. It is odd, but it makes sense since we are going to model together.” Her slip dropped to the ground. Marc removed his pants and shirt, neatly folding them before putting on the robe. He found himself getting slightly aroused, but quickly focused on an art object in the window, willing his arousal to pass. The full impact of the stupidity of agreeing to her request hit him as his heartbeat quickened.
     “If you get hard, don’t worry. It is not like the first time,” she joked.

     “Thanks, you’re really helping here,”

     “I am just trying to help you relax, Marc. You have to see the humor in all this at times.” She laughed a bit more as she put on a dressing robe.
   “We are ready,” the instructor called. Marc and Marie walked into the center of the room to the circular stage, around which sat twenty students behind easels. Marc stood over Marie like a soldier in the first pose. Then Marc posed, looking back at Marie as she was turned away. Marc sank to a point where he became relaxed posing nude with her. It seemed as if the students’ eyes disappeared, as if no one else was in the room and he was safe with her.
 “Marc, I need you to put this around your neck. Don’t worry, we will not pull it.” The instructor gave him a rope. “Marie, you are going to be standing above him, with this staff extended over him. Make sure it is comfortable for you.” The instructor turned to his students. “Now, class, when you combine two classic poses such as this, it adds a new element to the composition. There is a relationship to ponder.” Marc posed, lying horizontal on the stage with his right arm bent at the elbow, torso straight, his legs crossed and extended, and his head bent downward with the rope around his neck. Marie stood over him with a vertical staff and her head slightly downturned, yet looking directly forward.
     “Marc’s pose clearly is the classical death of Gaul,” the instructor explained, “but Marie’s posture is intentionally uncertain. Is she his rescuer, or betrayer? Is she the one who pardons Gaul, or condemns him?” The long scream of the air raid sirens rose throughout the city just then, and the lights started to go out through the districts of Paris.      “And the reason the pose is neutral is that the composition is stronger if you leave the question of the relationship to the viewer,” the instructor said. The whining howl grew louder as sirens closer to the building joined in the chorus. Shouts and hollers filled the streets outside the windows.      The instructor took a deep breath of frustration and ran his hands over his face and hair. He said, “Can one of you get the lights? It appears we have another blackout.”

LeRoy, David. The Siren Of Paris

David Leroy did extensive research on the German occupation of France for his debut novel The Siren of Paris. This historical novel follows the journey of one American from medical student, to artist, to political prisoner at Buchenwald Concentration Camp during World War Two.  

About The Author:

My first passion in life is art. I started taking photographs when I was very young, until one day, I just started drawing and painting. It was my love of art that brought me to Europe in 2010. I never suspected that my art studies would lead me to writing a novel. I consider myself more of an accidental author, and I approach the task of writing with all the same creative visual tools I have from art studies.
In writing my first novel, The Siren of Paris, I drew upon my longtime interest in philosophy, the visual arts, myth, storytelling, psychology, and Ocean Liner travel. During a visit to France to study art in the fall of 2010, I became increasingly intrigued by the French Resistance, particularly when my research revealed the role of Americans in the Resistance, as well as the limited means of escape from Europe as the war escalated. I hold a bachelor of arts in philosophy and religion.
I am drawn to stories of struggle, resistance, and overcoming incredible odds. My choice of scene creation is absolutely impacted by my visual mind. I pre-visualize the scenes in my mind first, and then use what tools I have through the written word to describe the action.

You can purchase The Siren of Paris in Kindle e-book format from Amazon -- HERE - - and learn more about this author and novel at

For more information about this virtual book tour, please visit --


1 comment:

  1. I have never heard of this book- but it sounds fantastic. I enjoy HF and books set in this time period. I am very curious to know more! Great trailer and excerpt.


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