Thursday, June 28, 2012

Guestpost: The Siren Of Paris - Beginnings - David LeRoy

The Siren of Paris - Opening Excerpt

Saint-Nazaire, France

“May the Lord be with you,” the priest’s voice rang out to all gathered at Marc’s graveside in September 1967. The cloaked man stood taller than all others gathered, with the hood of his smock pulled over his head. He held in his right hand a staff with a round clock mounted on top. Marc stood beyond the gathering, gazing back upon his grave. He saw his only sister, Elda, surrounded by all his other friends from France. The body of his soul beamed a reddish-golden light, as he anticipated the final moment he would leave in peace. He strained to see the face of the priest obscured from view under the hood.
“And also with you,” Marc whispered, looking toward the release from his life. “Let us pray,” the priest asked softly. With a rush, the first eleven souls then appeared around him. They had come from the graveyards of Angoulins-sur-Mer, Les Fortes, Saint-Charles-de-Percy, Saint-Clément-des-Baleines, Saint-Palais-sur-Mer, Chatelaillon- Plage, Saint-Sever, Traize, Brest, Saint-Hilaire-de-Talmont and Saint Pancras. They wore drab olive-green uniforms, with kit bags ready for war, but they were soaked to the bone and only a few had boots. The dial on the clock stopped as a moment of Marc’s life flashed before him ...

LeRoy, David. The Siren Of Paris (Kindle).

The Siren of Paris - Beginnings

The most dreaded ghosts are those who dwell within the mind’s eye. Ghosts that haunt a house you can move away from, but the ghostsof one’s own consciousness can never be escaped. Such ghosts haunt Marc Tolbert. This is the basis of the opening chapter of The Sirenof Paris. Marc Tolbert has finally passed from life to death and is joined at his graveside by these spirits because he is just like them.

Several editors suggested that I strike out the difficult to pronounce French names of these graveyards, out of fear that I would “put off the reader.” In fact, throughout the process of writing this book, the opening chapter has been a challenge. However, eliminating this chapter would mean that I would repeat the same cycle that has continued for 72 years, ignoring those who died in the sinking of the RMS Lancastria. As a survivor of this tragedy, Marc would not be able to escape these ghosts, and that is the essence of survivor’s guilt. In opening the book from his point of view, I chose to name every single one of the graveyards where survivors are buried.

When the unknown number rise up out of the sea and the land to join the known number of dead that rest in graves, Marc cries out “WHY” to the priest. Is he asking why he must see this again? Is he asking why is this his judgment? What if, dear reader, he is not asking a question at all, but merely calling out the name of the single most horrible ghost of all: the “Why” that has no answer?

Why did Marc survive and the others die? Why did this horrible war happen at all? Why could he not save his friends, and was only able to save himself? Why did he go back to Paris when he could have left for America? These are the ghosts of survivors, the nagging “whys” that refuse to be laid to rest.

The opening line is then repeated by the priest, “may the lord be with you.” Marc witnesses himself, on June 18, 1939, crossing a threshold from a chapel to the main dinning room of the S.S. Normandie. He takes a seat at a table beneath the statue “La Pax”, or Peace, alone, within a magnificent room of Lalique crystal lights. Dora calls him away from this table, underneath the protection of peace, to dine in the grill room with his new friends. By the end of this second chapter, all of the lights are turned out in the dining room, one by one, leaving La Pax alone in the dark. Marc does not know it in 1939, but he has crossed more than just the Atlantic Ocean to take up art studies in France. He’s crossed into the hurricane of death and destruction known today as World War Two. His journey will take him into a total vacuum lacking any love, faith or hope. This is where he came to know the oldest and most powerful ghost known to man, named Why.

About the Author

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.

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

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