- Hardcover: 615 pages
- Publisher: Wheeler Publishing; Lrg edition (Aug. 2003)
- Language: English
- ISBN-10: 1587244659
- ISBN-13: 978-1587244650
- Product Dimensions: 25.7 x 14.4 x 3.4 cm
- Average Customer Review: 3.2 out of 5 stars See all reviews (46 customer reviews)
- Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 1,849,772 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)
The Dante Club (Wheeler Hardcover) Hardcover – Large Print, Aug 2003
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|Hardcover, Large Print, Aug 2003||
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"With intricate plots, classical themes, and erudite characters...what's not to love?" (Dan Brown, author of Inferno and The Da Vinci Code)
"There are some great twists in the plot and the chase is genuinely thrilling...an unusually arresting piece of crime fiction" (Toby Clements Daily Telegraph)
"The momentum of his plot is irresistible...a most inventive page-turner" (Stephanie Merritt Observer)
"Audacious and captivating...truly admirable" (Esquire)
"Ingenious" (New Yorker) --This text refers to the Paperback edition.
A gripping thriller set in Boston, from the writer whose legion of fans include Dan Brown and Jed Rubenfeld --This text refers to the Paperback edition.See all Product Description
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Top Customer Reviews
The story takes place in 1865 Boston, where a group of friends that include poet Henry Wadsworth Longfellow, writer and physician Oliver Wendell Holmes and poet James Russell Lowell, among others, decide to form a Dante Club in order to produce an English translation of Dante's "Divine Comedy". Many people are against this endeavour, as they believe Dante's "Divine Comedy" to be dangerous reading material, but our academics are steadfast in their devotion to Dante. However, they begin to get nervous when a madman that seems to be delivering the punishments Dante Alighieri talks about in his "Inferno" (= "Hell", one of the three books in which the "Divine Comedy" is divided) starts killing people in Boston. Trying to avoid a death blow to Dante's reputation even before the American public can read his translated works, the members of the Dante Club decide to catch the killer by themselves. That is easier said than done, but makes for a very entertaining book.
From my point of view, "The Dante Club" is a perfect choice for Dante's fans, but also for those that just want to buy something interesting to read in their spare time. If you already love Dante, you will enjoy the way in which Matthew Pearl makes the "Divine Comedy" an integral part of this book; if you are new to Dante's works, you will learn about him and his books at the same time you read an original whodunit. In any case, you are highly likely to love "The Dante Club". Of course, recommended!
They are the most unlikely of heroes, but I loved their characters. They may be getting on a bit in years, but they are clever, brave and resourcful in tracking down the fiend who murders his victims using methods of punishment taken from Dante's inferno. These are also people who have a great friendship and affection for each other and you feel part of that circle of friends.
I had many theories as to the identity of the murderer, but I truly didn't guess who it was until the exciting climax of the book.
I did not want the book to end and I have been making up for that by reading poems by Longfellow that I had forgotten that I knew. These include his wonderful translation of the Divine Comedy.
It wasn't that I found the storyline and plot difficult to follow, it was more down to the fact that I just could not engage with the characters and was often confused over who was who. Whilst Matthew Pearl introduces his characters as every author would, It didn't help that the members of 'The Dante Club' all had dark unruly hair and beards (as was befitting of the late 1800's). To add to the confusion, a character would sometimes be referred to by his Surname and First name throughout the story. The switch occurring often and for reasons I could not determine.
I even had trouble picturing the Boston in which the story was set and I would forget that the tale was set in the late 1800's, 'dateless' you could almost say.
The synopsis suggested this was going to be an original literary crime novel and I'm sure for some it was, but I'm afraid for me, the characters let it down. Crime novel it was, but not without serious flaws.
The work of Dante was virtually unknown in this period of Boston's history except by the very few and equally few well educated. It was considered modern, controversial, and an affront to the classics that were taught at institutions like Harvard University. And then there is The Dante club whose members include Oliver Wendell Holmes, Henry Wadsworth Longfellow and James Russell Lowell who are in the process of bringing out the first English translation of Dante's work for American readers. Powerful forces such as Harvard, amongst others, are against it, nevertheless the group proceeds week by week and level by level through the world of Dante as they prepare their publication. The process is closely guarded with their publisher knowing the full contents of their progress and other confidants having only the knowledge that their work proceeds.
But prior to publication meticulous Dantean murders occur, but knowledge of the translation is not well known, it is not even complete, and yet the murders are carried out with an exactitude that only a scholar of Dante's work would have access to. And just as Dante fits his punishments to a crime of specificity, this murderer too follows the famous work in the most exacting detail.Read more ›
Most Recent Customer Reviews
Got 2nd hand copy after reading review in the Guardian. If you like 19th century verbose prose (Dickens et al) then this is for you. Well plotted, good characters. Read morePublished 5 months ago by JoBo
I did try. I read the four and five star reviews, which urged me to keep going, to concentrate, and it would all become intensely satisfying. Read morePublished 7 months ago by Tony Anderson
Unfair to give stars when I couldn't read past more than a few pages, but Amazon insists. I had previously read 'The Last Bookaneer' by this author, which I had thought an... Read morePublished 7 months ago by forlang
Excellent period piece. A bit too slow for my tastes, but it kept my interest overall.Published 10 months ago by Soul Device
Like with the majority of murder thrillers, the plot is contrived and far-fetched. However, what makes this book exceptional are the finer details that deal with characterisation,... Read morePublished 15 months ago by Ivan Kovacs
Not nearly as clever as it thinks it is. It took a while before it struck me what it was that really bothered me about this debut novel. Read morePublished 16 months ago by Tracy Terry
A good if slightly heavy read that demands attention. Some really good twists and a convincing 'baddie' The plot was slightly fantastic but this made it all the more believable. Read morePublished 20 months ago by D M Bullick
I read this a few years ago and the pleasure of a great plot married to good ideas and prose and with a whodunit element that is the perfect mix of being in front of you all the... Read morePublished 23 months ago by 11thman