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The Black Tulip

Alexandre Dumas

Date of publication: 1850

The story begins with an historical event — the 1672 lynching of the Dutch Grand Pensionary (roughly equivalent to a modern Prime Minister) Johan de Witt and his brother Cornelis, by a wild mob of their own countrymen — considered by many as one of the most painful episodes in Dutch history, described by Dumas with a dramatic intensity.

The main plot line, involving fictional characters, takes place in the year and a half after; only gradually does the reader understand its connection with the foregoing killing of the de Witt brothers.

The city of Haarlem in The Netherlands has set a prize of 100,000 guldens to the person who can grow a black tulip.

This begins a competition between the country's best gardeners to win the money, the honour and fame.

(From Wikipedia, description text under GNU Free Documentation License (GFDL))

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