Andrew Miller

First Sentence:     A young man, young but not very young, sits in an anteroom somewhere, some wing or other, in the Palace of Versailles.

Back of the book:

Deep in the heart of Paris, its oldest cemetery is, by 1785, overflowing, tainting the very breath of those who live nearby. Into their midst comes Jean-Baptiste Baratte, a young, provincial engineer charged by the king with demolishing it.

At first Baratte sees this as a chance to clear the burden of history, a fitting task for a modern man of reason. But before long, he begins to suspect that the destruction of the cemetery might be a prelude to his own.

Quote from the book:

Below them, the theatre-goers are fighting their way through the doors like scummed water draining out of a sink.

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Last Sentence:     Then he turns away from him, wipes the flies from his face and hurries back to that soft line at the edge of the shed where the light begins.