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An Instance of the Fingerpost

Iain Pears

Published by Riverhead Books March 1998, 1998
ISBN 10: 1573220825 / ISBN 13: 9781573220828
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Bibliographic Details


Title: An Instance of the Fingerpost

Publisher: Riverhead Books March 1998

Publication Date: 1998

Binding: Hardcover

Book Condition: Fine (F)

Dust Jacket Condition: Fine

Edition: First Edition.

Description:

Appears unread, crisp, clean, bright and tight. First Edition, First printing. Now protected with Durafold unattached to jacket. Near fine book/Near Fine Dust Jacket. BEAUTIFUL copy. Satisfaction guarantee. 'Genuinely astonishing . Pears brings to life a vibrant seventeenth-century world. He presents Oxford as a center of knowledge and progress, and yet one where revolutionary ideas about medicine and philosophy are shackled by superstition and religious bigotry. A tour de force.' Has been compared to 'The Name of the Rose.' (We carry a wide selection of titles in The Arts, bibliographies Literature, History,Military History, mistery, allmost all 1st Ed. Bookseller Inventory # 20100904106062

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Synopsis: We are in England in the 1660s. Charles II has been restored to the throne following years of civil war and Cromwell's short-lived republic. Oxford is the intellectual seat of the country, a place of great scientific, religious, and political ferment. A fellow of New College is found dead in suspicious circumstances. A young woman is accused of his murder. We hear the story of the death from four witnesses: an Italian physician intent on claiming credit for the invention of blood transfusion; the son of an alleged Royalist traitor; a master cryptographer who has worked for both Cromwell and the king; and a renowned Oxford antiquarian. Each tells his own version of what happened. Only one reveals the extraordinary truth. With rights sold for record-breaking sums around the world, An Instance of the Fingerpost is destined to become a major international publishing event. Deserving of comparison to the works of John Fowles and Umberto Eco, Iain Pears's novel is an ingenious tour de force: an utterly compelling historical mystery with a plot that twists and turns and keeps the reader guessing until the very last page.

Review: An Instance of the Fingerpost is that rarest of all possible literary beasts--a mystery powered as much by ideas as by suspects, autopsies, and smoking guns. Hefty, intricately plotted, and intellectually ambitious, Fingerpost has drawn the inevitable comparisons to Umberto Eco's The Name of the Rose and, for once, the comparison is apt.

The year is 1663, and the setting is Oxford, England, during the height of Restoration political intrigue. When Dr. Robert Grove is found dead in his Oxford room, hands clenched and face frozen in a rictus of pain, all the signs point to poison. Rashomon-like, the narrative circles around Grove's murder as four different characters give their version of events: Marco da Cola, a visiting Italian physician--or so he would like the reader to believe; Jack Prestcott, the son of a traitor who fled the country to avoid execution; Dr. John Wallis, a mathematician and cryptographer with a predilection for conspiracy theories; and Anthony Wood, a mild-mannered Oxford antiquarian whose tale proves to be the book's "instance of the fingerpost." (The quote comes from the philosopher Bacon, who, while asserting that all evidence is ultimately fallible, allows for "one instance of a fingerpost that points in one direction only, and allows of no other possibility.")

Like The Name of the Rose, this is one whodunit in which the principal mystery is the nature of truth itself. Along the way, Pears displays a keen eye for period details as diverse as the early days of medicine, the convoluted politics of the English Civil War, and the newfangled fashion for wigs. Yet Pears never loses sight of his characters, who manage to be both utterly authentic denizens of the 17th century and utterly authentic human beings. As a mystery, An Instance of the Fingerpost is entertainment of the most intelligent sort; as a novel of ideas, it proves equally satisfying.

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Store Description: Husband and wife that has been collecting for Fifty years more or less and now are also book sellers. Mostly first Edition. We specialize on books of Mystery, Fantasy, Sci-fi. Romance, Biography, Art, Coffee table, Poetry, literature, Humor, Kids books, Pop-ups, Advance copies,Comic Books BUT our specialty is on HISTORY and MILITARY History.