The Coral Thief

Rebecca Stott, Author . Random/Spiegel & Grau $25 (286p) ISBN 978-0-385-53146-7

At once an engrossing historical, a love story about an unlikely passion and a novel of ideas that lucidly presents philosophical speculation about natural science, Stott's second novel (after Ghostwalk ) is a powerful offering from an immensely talented writer. Narrated by young Englishman Daniel Connor, fresh out of medical school and traveling to a coveted research position in post-Napoleonic Paris in 1815, the novel begins with his realization that his scientific credentials, including a priceless coral specimen, have been stolen by the beautiful woman who sat next to him in the coach. She turns out to be Lucienne Bernard, a notorious thief being pursued by the chief of the Bureau de la Sûreté, Henri Jagot (based on a real figure and bound to make readers think of Javert). A cat and mouse game ensues, as Jagot tries to enlist Connor to trap Lucienne, but Connor falls deeply in love with the philosopher-thief and eventually makes a decision that might cost him his career, his freedom and his spiritual beliefs. Vividly atmospheric, propulsive and intricately plotted, this is a surefire page turner with literary heft and wide appeal. (Sept.)

Reviewed on: 07/20/2009
Release date: 09/01/2009
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MP3 CD - 978-1-4001-6338-0
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Compact Disc - 978-1-4001-1338-5
Hardcover - 461 pages - 978-1-4104-2207-1
Paperback - 310 pages - 978-0-385-53148-1
Pre-Recorded Audio Player - 978-1-61637-737-3
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Hardcover - 489 pages - 978-1-4084-6088-7
Hardcover - 224 pages - 978-0-297-85137-0
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