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The Coral Thief

by Rebecca Stott

Absolutely enthralling. Paris in the summer of 1815. Philosopher-thief Lucienne Bernard steals Daniel's scientific specimens, leaving in exchange a radical way of seeing that will turn his world upside down.

Extract

Desire was there from the beginning. That I remember. But that's an easy explanation for why the boy on the mail coach became the boy of the labyrinths and salons and gambling houses. A philosopher-thief took me to her bed and talked of time stretching back so far it made my head spin, talked of water moving over mountain ranges over millions of years, drip on drip, small rivulets carving rock; she whispered of colonies of corals creating continents, of the minute skeletons of chalk creatures making cliffs, of seabeds heaving up and slowly pushing fossilised oyster beds to the peak of mountains hundreds of up and away from the sea. She murmured of continents drifting apart and drifting back together again, and she entwined and enravelled mind and body so you stopped knowing where one finished and the other began.

Parallels

Pure by Andrew Miller
Virgin Earth by Philippa Gregory
 

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