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Arriving at the Paris Exposition of 1900, Aileen Bowman is an unusual woman. A journalist in her mid-thirties, unmarried, independent, she has been sent to cover the event for the New York Tribune, but the arrival of this woman who is unafraid to speak her mind, liberated from constraints of her gender and class, soon creates a stir in the city of lights.

In the course of a story that immerses us in the heart of the city under construction, from the emerging metropolis to neighbourhood brothels frequented by artists and bohemians, the singular personality of Aileen merges with this city that suddenly finds itself at the heart of the world. But even as Aileen revels in the sights and wonders of the Exposition, it seems the life she left behind on the distant Nevada plains may have followed her across the Atlantic, and before long she finds herself caught in a deadly tussle between the old world and the new.

Translated from the French by Sam Taylor