Debuted as number 5 on the Associated Press list of audiobook best sellers!
PONT NEUFAvailable in print and audiobook
The splendidly gifted (and faintly scandalous) writer Martha Gellhorn, Hemingway’s famously unhappy third wife, is the presiding spirit over a great romance. Two American soldiers, torn apart by the war, meet and fall in love with Martha’s protégé—the irresistibly charming and vulnerable young reporter, Annie March.
Their story begins and ends on the beautiful Pont Neuf, the oldest and best-loved bridge in Paris. For Annie, every bridge connects two different worlds; to cross a bridge is to make a choice. For her, crossing Pont Neuf means choosing one man over the other, one life over another. It is a haunting love story that will move readers to tears.
Permuted Press, June 2020, ISBN 978-1682619216
"Escape to Another Century! These Historical Novels Are Your Ticket. Martha Gellhorn and Ernest Hemingway are slugging out the last days of their marriage but their personal combat is a sideshow to the encounter that will alter the lives of three young Americans in the brutal final winter of World War II... Annie March is a fledgling war correspondent paddling in Martha’s professional wake, a convenient acolyte and companion both in newly liberated Paris and as close to the front lines as a reluctant military will allow... Martha may be an adroit deployer of feminine wiles, but Annie is an amateur when it comes to romantic triangles. Moving deftly between her and her two suitors, Byrd sets their to-ing and fro-ing against the larger maneuvers that will determine both the outcome of the war and the resolution of her quandary. One split-second battlefield decision can yield salvation or ruin—or both. And, as Annie comes to know all too well, emotional wounds may be the most difficult to heal."
"From start to finish, Max Byrd's engrossing historical fiction novel, Pont Neuf, had me in its grip. Byrd deftly weaves together a love triangle involving Annie March, a plucky photo journalist covering the final days of World War II in France, and a pair of soldiers—each one more compelling than the other, with real historical figures of the stature of Ernest Hemingway and Martha Gelhorn. Eros and Thanatos, Byrd reminds us, are the twin players in wartime and I found myself unable to put down this story of Love and Death set against the sweep of history. In vivid prose that transported me to the settings—I felt like I was standing on the Pont Neuf with the characters!—Byrd gives readers a meticulously crafted history overlaid with a first-rate romance. I loved this book!"
"I so enjoyed Max Byrd's Pont Neuf, with its superb writing about battle and the perennially interesting through-line of a love triangle, all made more dramatic by the parts played by two of history's most fascinating characters, Hemingway and Martha Gelhorn. Annie March, the lovable young woman at the center is the perfect observer of all but her own heart. And Byrd's account of the last WWII battle is riveting."
"It is hardly a surprise that Max Byrd has produced a novel in which the historical atmosphere is made exciting and alive in a story perfectly told. An intriguing subject combined with a deceptively simple style is what we have come to expect of this extraordinary writer. In every sense, Pont Neuf is thrilling."
"[A] sophisticated historical novel... witty... elegant storytelling...."
THE SIXTH CONSPIRATOR
The assassination of Abraham Lincoln set off a hysterical burst of international conspiracy theories, with all eyes turning first to Canada—once a hotbed of Confederate plots—and then, as evidence mounted, to the Catholic Church and Rome.
Now from bestselling author, Max Byrd, comes a long forgotten true story: a confidential mission to track down and capture any Europeans (and fugitive Confederates) who may have aided John Wilkes Booth.
Drawn from State Department archives and personal letters and diaries, The Sixth Conspirator recounts the dramatic journey of George H. Sharpe, General Ulysses S. Grant's real-life spymaster, to three European capitals. Three people travel with him—calculating banker Daniel Keach, Sharpe's Civil War protegé Quintus Oakes, and former Pinkerton agent Maggie Lawton.
One step ahead of them is a mysterious Confederate courier, Sarah Slater, known during the war as "the Veiled Lady," who may or may not have been Booth's lover. Behind Sharpe's team, breathing grimly over their shoulders, are Secretary of State William Seward, brutally mutilated by the knife of one of Booth's henchmen, and the perversely vengeful, guilt-ridden Secretary of War Edwin Stanton.
Along the way Byrd creates a panorama of wonderfully-realized characters, great and small, fictional and real. In deeply researched, fascinating historical detail, he carries us back to another reality—the far away mid-nineteenth century world from which our America slowly emerged.
Permuted Press, August 2019, ISBN 978-1682618783
"Every page is an opportunity to dust off and display some delicious tidbit of Civil War arcana...The result will delight any Civil War buff...Byrd is clearly a meticulous and devoted student of history..."
"From its brilliant and devastating opening scene to its surprising and breakneck conclusion, The Sixth Conspirator takes the last tendril of the Lincoln assassination and weaves it into a compelling, erudite, witty, and wise novel that should secure Max Byrd's place among the premier writers of historical fiction working today. Not to be missed!"
"Taking us through the hideaways and haunts of European capitals in the mid-nineteenth century, this intriguing historical mystery—the search for Lincoln's "Sixth Conspirator"—keeps us guessing right up to the last page. As in his highly acclaimed novels, Jefferson, Jackson and Grant, Max Byrd tells the tale with witty and fast-paced writing that kept me turning pages—eager to know more about the "real" men and women of the era along with the fictional characters of his creation."
THE PARIS DEADLINE
Named one of the top 10 crime novels of 2012 by J. Kingston Pierce of Kirkus Reviews!
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.
Turner, October 2012, ISBN 978-1618580122
"Wow! This is storytelling at its very best. Max Byrd uses the whole deck of cards—character, place, history, humor, intrigue—to weave his magical story. You want a good ride? The Paris Deadline is your ticket!"
"Max Byrd's The Paris Deadline is the best 'code and cipher' novel I've ever read, a wonderful historical thriller!"
"Some of the things I love most about the book—the wit and erudition, the scholarship, the interesting things about the underground war and automates—are not the things other people will like best. They'll be caught up in the mystery of the duck and the love story between the appealing Toby and Elsie, and the fact that it's set in Paris. Of course, I love that too!"
"[Byrd] delivers a sparkling and suspenseful caper with a mystery plot well-rooted in a loving re-creation of Jazz Age Paris."
"Byrd is a best-selling historical novelist, and he excels at presenting little-known historical tidbits that serve to enhance the narrative. He really brings Paris of the 1920s to life, and his portrayal of the times is flawless."
SHOOTING THE SUN
No Presidents (well, Martin Van Buren has a scene), but a brave heroine. Young Selena Cott, sponsored by the eccentric English inventor of the computer, Charles Babbage, sets out in a wagon train on the Santa Fe Trail in 1840. Her goal: to photograph an eclipse of the sun. Obstacles include the great empty and unmapped spaces of the West, a roving band of Kiowa Indians, and Babbage's own uncle.
Bantam Books, October 2004, ISBN 978-0553380187
"Full of insights and laced with subtle humor... The novel is a winner."
"Part thriller, part scientific adventure, and all enchanting."