The Coral Thief by Rebecca Stott is a work of historical fiction that takes place in Paris just after the fall of Napoleon at Waterloo. Adventure, romance, history and crime are all here in one exciting novel.
This book was made for readers who like the Romantic Period of the early 19th century. At that time the city of lights was on the cutting edge of Western Civilization. Scientists were just beginning to discover ancient fossils and understand that the earth is millions of years old. The author has included fictionalized representations of historical persons like the French zoologist and paleontologist Georges Cuvier and the master criminal cum police detective Eugene-Francois Vidocq.
Daniel, a young and somewhat naive graduate student from England has come to Paris to study under the great Cuvier. Almost immediately he falls victim to a beautiful and mysterious older woman who steals the valuable coral he planned to present as a gift to his mentor. By night he searches for her and falls under her spell as she sweeps him into her strange world. By day he confronts the conflicting authority of old beliefs and new scientific discoveries.
Lucienne is the beautiful and very worldly wise siren who leads Daniel into a world of crime as she tries to recoup some of what her family lost in the French Revolution. The flavor of the period is very rich and the action builds to a crescendo making this novel very hard to put down.