Toilers of the Sea is a novel by Victor Hugo published in 1866. The book is dedicated to the island of Guernsey, where Hugo spent 19 years in exile. Hugo uses the setting of a small island community to transmute seemingly mundane events into drama of the highest caliber. The story concerns a Guernseyman named Gilliatt, a social outcast who falls in love with Deruchette, the niece of a local shipowner, Mess Lethierry. When Lethierry's ship is wrecked on the Roches Douvres, a perilous reef, Deruchette promises to marry whoever can salvage the ship's steam engine. Gilliatt eagerly volunteers, and the story follows his physical trials and tribulations (which include a battle with an octopus), as well as the undeserved opprobrium of his neighbors.