The long-awaited return of one of our greatest historical thriller writers. A book to rival his international bestseller An Instance of the Fingerpost.
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Published: 03 June 2010
Genre: General & literary fiction
John Stone, a man so wealthy that in the years before World War One he was able to manipulate markets, industries and indeed whole countries and continents, has been found dead in mysterious circumstances. His beautiful young widow commissions a journalist to carry out an unusual bequest in his will but as he begins his research he soon discovers a story far more complex than he could have ever imagined... As the story moves backwards through time, from London in 1909 to Paris in 1809, before concluding in Venice in 1867, the mystery of John Stone's life and loves begins to unravel. The result is a spellbinding novel that is both a quest for the truth, a love story that spans decades and a compelling murder mystery.
Fireworks, inventiveness and excitement of part three and a curmudgeonly inventor of torpedoes
Philippa Stockley, Evening Standard
an indefatigably clever storyteller...witty, laconic dialogue; a galloping pace, particularly in the first and third narratives; the author's silky, fluid prose; and above all the concluding passages, which detonate a series of surprises as poignant as they are grim
Daniel Mallory, TLS
The novel is above all a romp, albeit an exceptionally intelligent and entertaining one
David Robson, Sunday Telegraph
Pears has the good journalist's knack of making high finance enthralling - he can take Robert Peston's job any day - but it is his interest in the peculiar effects that money has on human beings that makes him a good novelist.
Jake Kerridge, Daily Telegraph
absorbing and also timely
Jessica Mann, Literary Review
this thoughtful, thoroughly satisfying novel... clever storytelling to reach imaginative heights
Waterstone's Books Quarterly
Iain Pears has an uncanny historical sense ... splendid return to the grand 19th-century novel
Jane Jakeman, The Independent
Engrossing and intelligent, it's the best sort of page-turner.
Amber Pearson, Daily Mail
Pears is in a class of his own; no one else could possibly succeed in making the world of big finance so hugely entertaining.
Well worth the ride
...a complex novel of mystery and suspense narrated by three fascinating characters...I thoroughly recommend this title.
Landers Bookshop, Independent on Sunday
The novel is recounted by three different narrators and begins in 1953 in Paris when a retired journalist attends the funeral of an elderly lady that he knew several years ago in London. When her solicitor informs him that there's a package for him in London, only to be opened on her death, the story becomes intriguing.Whilst travelling home his mind goes back in time to London in 1909 when the widow of John Stone employs him to discover more about the contents of his will and thus he becomes the first narrator.Another narrator takes up the story in Paris in 1890 and finally John Stone himself narrates the last part in Venice in 1867.This is so much more than the mystery of why John Stone, a happily married man who was frightened of heights, would fall out of his window at the height of his power.The words flowed easily and I thought the characters and situations all very believable, with some twists in the tale!
This is one of those books that once you start reading, you won't be able to put down! Travelling backwards in time - from London to Paris, and then to Venice - it tells the story of a very successful banker and businessman John Stone who is found dead at the start of the novel. Mixing themes of desire, corporate greed and espionage, you get completely sucked into this fascinating story. Every time you think you've worked out why John Stone died your ideas are blown away by a new plot twist! Really good summer read.
If you've read my review of Palace Council you will know how partial I am to a really good thriller. If you loved Instance of the Fingerpost (one of my favourite books of ALL TIME) then you will love this and if you haven't been introduced to Iain Pears before then you can start with this. A wonderful, fast paced historical thriller with the mother of all twists. Picked by Cactus this is Iain Pears at his best. Stone's Fall follows the story of how and why a global financier dies in the years before World War One, it looks like a suicide but becomes more and more mysterious. I can't stress how brilliant this is and it's so topical too, following global financial markets and investigators, murderers and spies throughout Europe.
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Iain Pears was born in 1955. He is the author of seven detective novels, a book of art history and countless articles on artistic, financial and historical subjects, and three novels, An Instance of the ...