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Max Byrd - book author

May Byrd is the author of a number of scholarly books on 18th century English literature, including Visits to Bedlam and London Transformed. Winner of the Shamus Award for best paperback private detective novel, his oeuvre of detective novels include the Book-of-the-Month Club selection Target of Opportunity. Byrd is also the author of four historical novels: Grant: A Novel, Jefferson: A Novel, Jackson: A Novel, and Shooting the Sun. He currently serves as the president of the board of the Squaw Valley Community of Writers.

Max Byrd has taught English at Yale and UC Davis, has been a visiting professor at Stanford, and has lectured at UC Berkeley, Warwick University, the Sorbonne, and Monticello. Among the many publications featuring Byrd’s articles and book reviews are the Yale Review, New York Times Book Review, New Republic, and Woodrow Wilson Quarterly. He has served as editor of the scholarly journal Eighteenth-Century Studies.

Max Byrd is the author of books: Pont Neuf, The Paris Deadline, Jackson, Jefferson, Grant, Shooting the Sun, The Sixth Conspirator: A Novel, Target of Opportunity, California Thriller (Mike Haller #1), Fly Away Jill

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01
In the summer of 1944, Annabella “Annie” March, a young American woman, arrives in France intending to write about the war. But when she finds herself overshadowed by her sometimes-mentor, sometimes-rival Martha Gellhorn - and Gellhorn’s troublesome husband, the novelist Ernest Hemingway - Annie turns to photography in search of the professional gratification she’s looking for.
02
From bestselling historical novelist Max Byrd comes a new novel set against the dramatic backdrop of Paris in the Jazz Age—a fascinating suspense tale interwoven with rich historical detail.

Paris, 1926. Newspaper reporter Toby Keats, a veteran of the Great War and the only American in Paris who doesn’t know Hemingway, has lived a quiet life—until one day he comes into possession of a rare eighteenth-century automate, a very strange and somewhat scandalous mechanical duck. Highly sought after by an enigmatic American banker, European criminals, and the charming young American Elsie Short, the duck is rumored to hold the key to opening a new frontier in weapons technology for the German army, now beginning to threaten Europe once more. Haunted with his nightmarish past in the War, Toby pursues the truth behind the duck.

From the boites of the Left Bank to the dark prehistoric caverns of southern France, The Paris Deadline is a story of love, suspense, and mystery in a world stumbling toward catastrophe.
03
In this sweeping, marvelously written novel, Max Byrd, the celebrated author of Jefferson and Grant, presents a superb portrait of Andrew Jackson, a President remembered for his strong will and tempestuous nature—and regarded as “the most dangerous man in America” by none other than Thomas Jefferson.
 
He became a legend during the War of 1812. He was a slave owner, land speculator, and Indian fighter. He stole another man’s wife, murdered men in duels, and ordered military executions. But Andrew Jackson was also an impassioned supporter of universal suffrage and an ardent believer in the will of the people. Here the story of our controversial seventh President is told from a variety of viewpoints, including that of a young writer named David Chase who discovers, on the eve of the presidential election, a secret that could change the future of the nation. Along the way, readers encounter such notable figures as John Quincy Adams, Aaron Burr, and Sam Houston, and bear witness to an America in transition—and a man as unpredictable as democracy itself.
 
“Max Byrd’s historical novels about the third and seventh presidents bring both men alive in ways that only a literary imagination can.”—George F. Will, The Washington Post
 
“With Jackson, [Max] Byrd has vaulted . . . into the front rank of American historical novelists.”—The Wall Street Journal
 
“Vivid and compelling . . . a convincing and intriguing portrait of Jackson as he might have been.”—The Plain Dealer
 
“Full of action, emotion, and insight, Max Byrd’s Jackson deserves to stand with the finest works of historical fiction.”—San Francisco Chronicle
 
“Grounded in excellent, detailed historical research, Byrd paints a rich, multilayered portrait.”—Chicago Tribune
04
As he did with Presidents Jackson and Grant in those magnificent novels, Max Byrd now reveals Thomas Jefferson as we’ve never seen before. Byrd transports us to 1784, as Jefferson, the newly appointed American ambassador to the court of Louis XVI and Marie Antoinette, arrives in Paris—a city adrift in intrigue, upheaval, and temptation that will challenge his principles, incite his passions, and change him forever.
 
Through the eyes of his impressionable young secretary, William Short, readers watch as the future president builds his dream of America with fellow patriots John Adams and Ben Franklin, while struggling between political ambition and an unexpected crisis of the heart with a woman who has the power to destroy him. Behind the face this complex Virginian shows the world, Thomas Jefferson is an enigmatic statesman who fights for individual liberty even as he keeps slaves, who champions free will even as he denies it to his daughters, and who holds men to the highest standards of honor—even as he embarks on a shadowy double life of his own.
 
“Max Byrd’s historical novels about the third and seventh presidents bring both men alive in ways that only a literary imagination can.”—George F. Will, The Washington Post
 
Jefferson has the organic intimacy of a novel that has sprung full-blown from the imagination of its creator.”—The New York Times
 
“Superb . . . fascinating in the psychological insight it provides to one of the greatest Americans . . . a truly memorable book.”—W. Jackson Bate, Pulitzer Prize–winning author of Samuel Johnson and John Keats
 
“Absolutely splendid historical fiction that resonates with international, provincial, and individual passion and drama.”—Booklist
 
“A real tour de force.”—San Francisco Chronicle
05
Max Byrd, the renowned author of Jackson and Jefferson, brings history to life in this stunning novel set in America’s Gilded Age. Grant is an unforgettable portrait of a colorful era—and the flawed, iron-willed, mysterious giant at its center.
 
Ulysses S. Grant pursued a tragic war to its very end. But his final battle starts in 1880, when he loses his race to become the first U.S. President to serve three terms, goes bankrupt, and begins a fight against cancer that will prove to be his greatest challenge. Through journalist Nicholas Trist, readers follow Grant’s journey—and along the way meet Grant’s sworn enemy Henry Adams and Adams’s doomed wife, Clover, the old soldiers Sherman and Sheridan, and the always clever, always scheming Mark Twain. Revealed here are not only the penetrating secrets of our eighteenth president, but the intimate power-brokering that led to the end of Grant’s career, setting the stage for a new era in American history—one defined by politics, not warfare.
 
“Serious, intricate . . . gripping . . . Byrd is an expert at linking the products of his own imagination with historical facts.”—The New York Times Book Review
 
“With the license and gifts of a first-rate novelist, Max Byrd has managed in Grant to reveal the man far better than those who have tried before.”—San Francisco Chronicle
 
“A vibrant, stunning story of Grant’s last years, but best of all, a gripping tale of ‘the reborn nation on the other side of the war.’ ”—Civil War Book Review
 
“Splendid . . . nothing less than a visit with greatness.”—Associated Press
 
“Historical fiction doesn’t get any better than this.”—Booklist
06
Charles Babbage was an English genius of legendary eccentricity. He invented the cowcatcher, the ophthalmoscope, and the “penny post.” He was an expert lock picker, he wrote a ballet, he pursued a vendetta against London organ-grinders that made him the laughingstock of Europe. And all his life he was in desperate need of enormous sums of money to build his fabled reasoning machine, the Difference Engine, the first digital computer in history.

To publicize his Engine, Babbage sponsors a private astronomical expedition—a party of four men and one remarkable woman—who will set out from Washington City and travel by wagon train two thousand miles west, beyond the last known outposts of civilization. Their ostensible purpose is to observe a total eclipse of the sun predicted by
Babbage’s computer, and to photograph it with the newly invented camera of Louis Daguerre.

The actual purpose, however…

Suffice it to say that in Shooting the Sun nothing is what it seems, eclipses have minds of their own, and even the best computer cannot predict treachery, greed, and the fickle passions of the human heart.


From the Hardcover edition.
08
On a relaxing vacation at Lake Tahoe, San Francisco Police Inspector Gilman and his brother-in-law, former Washington attorney Donald Kerwin, stop into a 7-Eleven—and are met with a torrent of bullets. A gunman at the register kills Kerwin and wounds Gilman, and an illegal police search follows, leading to a dismissal of charges against the suspect. Gilman’s sister-in-law Nina is not only heavily distraught over her husband’s death but violently outraged at the illegal search. When she learns that the killer is returning to Boston, she trails him, out for revenge, leaving Gilman racing against time to stop her.

Masterfully weaving history, plot, and emotion, Target of Opportunity is an unforgettable achievement.
09
Re-released for the first time in years, the hit action-packed thriller features the unforgettable, original P.I. Mike Haller.

P.I. Mike Haller is on the case to find a newsman who suddenly went missing in Sacramento Valley. A tearful, boozy wife has paid him to find her husband, but someone else is attempting to dissuade him—using a .38 with Haller’s name and address on it. Packed with crime-stopping action, romance, and suspenseful twists and turns, California Thriller is an exhilarating journey full of snowballing leads and Mike Haller in a race to save thousands of lives.