Book - 2011
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Deep in the heart of Paris, its oldest cemetery is, by 1785, overflowing, tainting the very breath of those who live nearby. Into their midst comes Jean-Baptiste Baratte, a young engineer charged by the king with demolishing it. But before long, he begins to suspect that the destruction of the cemetery might be a prelude to his own.
Publisher: London : Sceptre, 2011.
ISBN: 9781444724257
Branch Call Number: MILLE
Characteristics: 346 p. ; 23 cm.


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Sep 13, 2015

Historical fiction at its best.

ChristchurchLib Jul 24, 2014

In 1785, engineer Jean-Baptiste Baratte is brought from Normandy to Paris, where he must exhume the bodies entombed in Les Innocents in preparation for the cemetery's closure. Initially embracing the challenge - which will prevent the burial ground's noxious gases and decomposing body parts from poisoning the residents of the surrounding neighborhoods - Jean-Baptiste soon realizes that his task is more dangerous than he could have imagined. In addition to vermin, disease, fire, and cave-ins, he must also contend with political unrest that is rapidly escalating into full-scale revolution.
Historical Fiction July 2014 Newsletter.

Jun 06, 2014

This author has a really poetic way of telling a story. I didn't personally find it appealing and thus perceived the tale as a bit plodding.
I had no connection to the characters, story or writing and I felt it really skimmed the surface without offering much depth.
I did think the pre-revolution setting was fantastic. It sounds like a very interesting time in Paris and a great era to find more information on.

May 13, 2013

Conventional, traditional (not modern) storytelling. Unimaginative characters, no insight here, but an easy read nonetheless.

dead_bird_by_bird Jan 15, 2013

This left me a little disappointed and continually waiting for the book to pick up the pace.

I understand it's a move up to the French Revolution and you can see quite a lot of connections in the characters to the drudgery of the plots.

It's a good book but I kept wanting just a little more than what was delivered.

Sep 09, 2012

Not quite what I expected, but a fairly interesting book throughout. The blurb on the inside cover seemed to suggest something more was going to happen, though it never quite materialized.

msmigels Aug 01, 2012

I enjoyed this book, but was left unsatisfied. I wanted more about the politics of the time and more of an insight into the perspectives of the people in pre-Revolutionary Paris, since 'the writing was already on the wall'.

Jul 31, 2012

Paris just prior to the revolution, vividly imagined. Definitely worth hanging in past the slow start.

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