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The Coral Thief by Rebecca Stott
The Coral Thief is set in Paris in 1815, just after the Napoleonic Wars, and France is undergoing radical changes. Daniel Connor, a young medical student from Edinburgh, has just arrived in Paris to study with the famous Dr. Cuvier. He shares a coach with a beautiful woman who steals his letters of introduction and his coral samples. Daniel must recover them if he's to work with Dr. Cuvier. His search for this older woman plunges him into a world he's never known and he finds love with this woman he barely knows. Ultimately, he may wish he knew her better. Rebecca Stott's novel has received positive reviews with the Washington Post saying, "With consummate skill and compassion, Stott plunges Daniel the innocent into a serpentine plot that involves spies, philosophers, revolutionaries and scientists. Treasure may be at the heart of Stott's mystery, but fossils and corals are equally precious in this hybrid novel of action and ideas. Like Daniel, the reader emerges from The Coral Thief having had an adventure and an education."