- Hardcover: 608 pages
- Publisher: Jonathan Cape; First Edition; 1st printing. edition (7 May 2009)
- Language: English
- ISBN-10: 0224081799
- ISBN-13: 978-0224081795
- Product Dimensions: 16.2 x 3.8 x 24 cm
- Average Customer Review: 99 customer reviews
- Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 1,598,313 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)
Stone's Fall Hardcover – 7 May 2009
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Stone’s Fall is another novel to add lustre to a career that has had few missteps – and it is a book that shows no signs the author’s skill is waning. Iain Pears’ writing won’t be to everyone’s taste, but isn't that true of anything of quality? This is historical crime of an intelligent order, with a wide, time-spanning canvas that moves from London in the Edwardian era to Paris and Venice.
In 1909, a rich manufacturer of weapons has purloined the concept of the torpedo from another man, one of the reasons for his fabulous wealth. But he falls to his death from a window, and his widow, the Countess Elizabeth, commissions a journalist to investigate her late husband’s life and death – with the mystifying will he left as the fulcrum. As the journalist, Braddock, digs deeper, he uncovers very little -- and fifty year pass before a remarkable revelation comes his way.
A glance at Iain Pears’ earlier novels such as An Instance of the Fingerpost and The Portrait reveals the customary impeccable craftsmanship, on display once again in the new book. With his admirable skill at matching clever plotting with strikingly drawn characters, Pears is clearly a different commodity from his contemporaries (a conclusion also demonstrated by the beguiling The Dream of Scipio, set in Provence at three key points of Western civilisation). What is most encouraging about the critical and (to some degree) the commercial success of Iain Pears’ books is the encouraging signal it sends about readers’ willingness to engage with fiction that demands more than just easy acquiescence. A novel such as Stone’s Fall will not reveal its secrets to you without a certain commitment – which is why the author is something special in a dumbed-down, Big Brother-watching world. --Barry Forshaw
"Learned, witty and splendidly entertaining" (Kirkus)
"Pears matches the brilliance of his bestselling An Instance of the Fingerpost with this intricate historical novel... The pages will fly for most readers, who will lose themselves in the clear prose and compelling plot." (Publishers Weekly)
"Sometimes you get a novel that is purely enjoyable. Stone's Fall is such a book. The assurance and invention with which the novel is written are alike remarkable. Utterly absorbing and a rare delight" (Alan Massie The Scotsman)
"Pears is a bold storyteller with ambitions beyond the confines of genre" (Clare Clark Guardian)
Top customer reviews
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This novel is good, very good, superb in fact.
Ian Pears is a brilliant storyteller and this book captivates and holds the reader.
So much so that I stayed up reading this book when I should have been in the arms of Morpheus getting a bit of nocturnal oblivion, and not just the once either, it was that good.
His plot lines weave through time and draw in characters that share your head for a while and his attention to historical detail embellishes the story without smothering it.
This is really good stuff. I can but recommend it.
But it should come with a 'health warning', because if you do 'get in' to this book it could easily lead to time slipping by as you 'just read another page', regardless of the hour.
Of course you won't care, at least not until you look at the clock and realise just for just how long Ian Pears has been stealing your time.
But worth it just the same
And 'Stone's Fall' has all the makings of an excellent novel. Its opening - with a mysterious death, a grieving young widow, and a journalist sent to uncover a story he doesn't entirely understand - may sound like standard mystery fare but Pears has the skill to make it fresh. And he soon begins to draw the reader into less well-known territory, where the worlds of international banking and espionage meet.
And yet if I were to recommend an Ian Pears novel, it wouldn't be this one. It would be 'An Instance of the Fingerpost'. Perhaps because I came to that novel without the weight of expectation, and was astonished at how good it was. Perhaps because, having read 'Fingerpost', I could guess where Pears might spring his narrative ambush, and this time I was ready for him. (The ending of 'Stone's Fall' wasn't as much of a surprise to this reader as it might have been.)
Or perhaps it's something else, which I'm still struggling to pin down. When I reached the end of 'Stone's Fall', I was impressed. When I reached the end of 'Fingerpost', I found myself unexpectly in tears.
'Stone's Fall' solves its central mystery; 'Fingerpost' does too, but leaves another mystery entirely in the hands of the reader, and was - for me at least - a better and more satisfying read because of it.
Probably my most satisfying serious read in the last year.
It is absolutely gripping, beautifully written and although about finance/industry/society in turn of the century Europe, it could easily be talking of today.
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