From Publishers Weekly
Starred Review. 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.)
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“A powerful offering from an immensely talented writer…Vividly atmospheric, propulsive, and intricately plotted, this is a surefire page turner with literary heft and wide appeal.”–Publishers Weekly,
“Stott again skillfully combines an intriguing love story, complex scientific concepts, and a beautifully realized historical setting…Riveting on all fronts, from its suspenseful plot to its elegant presentation of evolutionary theory.”–Booklist,
“Stott once again juxtaposes science with a tale of love, mystery and intrigue, setting this volatile mix against a backdrop of critical events in post-Revolutionary France… Skillfully embeds early 19th-century culture, history, and attitudes into a story that flows like the Seine and floods the senses.”–Kirkus Reviews,