"The Hunchback of Notre-Dame" by Victor Hugo (1831)
"Or rather, his whole person was a grimace. A huge head, bristling with red hair; between his shoulders an enormous hump, a counterpart perceptible in front, a system of thighs and legs so strangely astray that they could touch each other only at the knees, and, viewed from the front, resembled the crescents of two scythes joined by the handles; large feet, monstrous hands; and, with all this deformity, an indescribable and redoubtable air of vigor, agility, and courage, strange exception to the eternal rule which wills that force as well as beauty shall be the result of harmony. Such was the pope whom the fools had just chosen for themselves."
Victor Hugo also wrote "Les Miserables," the much-adapted story of the French Revolution. He was very concerned with social justice, and also the preservation of Paris's architectural heritage. He is one of France's best-known authors, though his reputation in France largely rests upon his poetry.
"The Hunchback of Notre-Dame" is set in Paris in the late Middle Ages. Most of the action is set in the great cathedral, and the plot unfolds around a love triangle involving Claude Frollo, the archdeacon of the cathedral, the gypsy Esmerelda, and Phoebus, the vain captain of the king's archers. Along the way the hunchbacked Quasimodo also falls in love with Esmerelda, with the religious life of Paris serving as a backdrop for their thwarted passions and fleeting triumphs.
It's a good book, though I must add that I read the author's "restored version" which includes two added chapters on the architectural history of Paris. These two added chapters bring the narrative to a screeching halt, and the author's musings on the future of architecture are at best quaint, and at worst tiresome. Aside from these two chapters, however, the remainder of the book is excellently written, and everything builds to a satisfyingly tragic climax.
I've also read Hugo's "Les Miserables," and I'd have to say that I liked that book much better. "The Hunchback of Notre-Dame" is a great novel, but it's much longer, much more burdened with detail, and requires a lot more concentration.