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Pure by Andrew Miller
Pure begins in 1785 and the young engineer Jean-Baptiste Baratte is called to Paris and given the assignment to clear out the ancient cemetery of Les Innocents and demolish its church. The cemetery is overflowing with corpses, infesting that part of the city with its putrid stench and pollution. Baratte is an earnest and ambitious man who subscribes to the power of reason. As he and his mining crew begin their unenviable job, they find that not all the locals are sympathetic to their cause. The interactions with his crew and the people who lives are affected by the disinterment of the corpses often baffle Baratte, and the revolutionary atmosphere already begins to surround them all. Andrew Miller's novel has received positive reviews with The Telegraph saying, "Pure is a near-faultless thing: detailed, symbolic and richly evocative of a time, place and man in dangerous flux. It is brilliance distilled, with very few impurities."