Paris, in the 1600's. The Cemetery of Les Innocents is overflowing, the result of hundreds of years of over-use. Bones litter the ground and thousands of decomposing bodies foul the air, water and people living in its proximity. Miles away, in the cavernous depths of the Versailles Palace, a decision is made to empty Less Innocents of it's human remains and tear down the church. Jean-Baptiste Baratte is the engineer given the task of purifying this pocket of Paris.
The year of working at Les Innocents will be a year like no other of Baratte's life - Friends, loyalties, love, sickness and obstacles are all encountered as if for the first time, all set against the Gothic backdrop of Paris and her decomposing population.
This is a sweet, rather simple book - A historical novel and a tale of self-discovery. Essentially this is a journey to manhood for Baratte, and though he lacks the complexity to make him a truly interesting and memorable protagonist, he is likable enough. It is beautifully written, horribly eerie and grim at times, touching and acutely observant at others.
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