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Stone's Fall

by

Stone's Fall Cover

ISBN13: 9780385522847
ISBN10: 0385522843
Condition: Standard
Dustjacket: Standard
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Synopses & Reviews

Publisher Comments:

A return to the form that launched Iain Pears onto bestseller lists around the world: a vast historical mystery, marvelous in its ambition and ingenius in its complexity.

In his most dazzling novel since the groundbreaking New York Times bestseller An Instance of the Fingerpost, Iain Pears tells the story of John Stone, financier and arms dealer, a man so wealthy that in the years before World War One he was able to manipulate markets, industries, and indeed entire countries and continents.

A panoramic novel with a riveting mystery at its heart, Stone’s Fall is a quest to discover how and why John Stone dies, falling out of a window at his London home.

Chronologically, it moves backwards—from London in 1909 to Paris in 1890, and finally to Venice in 1867— and in the process the quest to uncover the truth plays out against the backdrop of the evolution of high-stakes international finance, Europe’s first great age of espionage, and the start of the twentieth century’s arms race.

Like Fingerpost, Stone’s Fall is an intricately plotted and richly satisfying puzzle—an erudite work of history and fiction that feels utterly true and oddly timely—and marks the triumphant return of one of the world’s great storytellers.

Review:

"British author Pears matches the brilliance of his bestselling An Instance of the Fingerpost (1998) with this intricate historical novel, which centers on the death of a wealthy financier. In part one, after John Stone falls to his death from a window in his London mansion in 1909, Stone's seductive, much younger widow, Elizabeth, hires Matthew Braddock, who works as a journalist, to trace a child of her late husband's she never knew existed until the child is named in his will. Braddock, a novice in the world of finance, uncovers evidence that Stone's actual net worth was far less than commonly believed, even as he finds himself falling for his client. In part two, set in 1890 Paris, Henry Cort, a shadowy spy, provides another perspective on the bewitching Elizabeth. Stone's own reminiscences from his time in Venice in 1867 cast further light on the circumstances of his demise. The pages will fly by for most readers, who will lose themselves in the clear prose and compelling plot. " Publishers Weekly (Starred Review) (Copyright Reed Business Information, Inc.)

Review:

Admirers of Iain Pears' "An Instance of the Fingerpost" have waited more than 10 years for another lengthy, serpentine thriller bearing the stamp of his erudition in matters historical, artistic and financial. "Stone's Fall" generously rewards their patience. A marvel of skillful agglomeration, the novel propels us backward in time to illuminate one man's rise and fall. The trajectory may be familiar,... Washington Post Book Review (read the entire Washington Post review)

Review:

"Mr. Pears's assured command of period history, language, lore, and attitudes is formidable." The Wall Street Journal

Review:

"Certainly, one of the best historical mysteries of the last several years." Booklist (starred review)

Review:

"A learned, witty and splendidly entertaining descent into the demimondes of international espionage, arms dealing, financial hanky-panky and other favorite pastimes of those without conscience." Kirkus Reviews (starred review)

Review:

"Stone's Fall is recommended to those who like to weigh down their beach towel with something extra-large, classy on the outside and just a little trashy within." Newsday

Review:

"A marvel of skillful agglomeration, the novel propels us backward in time to illuminate one man's rise and fall....Pears is an exuberant writer who cannot resist a digression whether describing an incidental character or the invention of the torpedo." The Washington Post

Review:

"This latest from Pears is in the best sense of the word an old-fashioned novel, populated with vital characters and bursting at the seams with narrative vigor. Highly recommended." Library Journal (starred review)

About the Author

Iain Pears is the author of the New York Times bestseller An Instance of the Fingerpost. He lives in Oxford, England.

What Our Readers Are Saying

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Average customer rating based on 3 comments:

mustelina, December 9, 2010 (view all comments by mustelina)
You can read it as a mystery, as a novel of ideas, or both. Like "Instance of the Fingerpost" it moves from the viewpoint of one character to others to fill in the pieces of the turn-of-the 20th-century plot. I have no idea if any of the historical details about arms manufacturers and espionage are true but it makes a really provocative read if you keep the current state of the world in the back of your mind as you read (hindsight as subtext??).
Was this comment helpful? | Yes | No
Lynne Perednia, July 25, 2009 (view all comments by Lynne Perednia)
Shipbuilder, arms merchant, industrialist, conqueror of the financial markets, Lord Ravenscliff strangely falls out a window of his London mansion one night to his death. His younger widow, who adored him, hires a young reporter to find out the truth of a new secret revealed in her husband's will. To get to the truth, the reporter looks into the life of the man who was born John Stone.

The twists and turns discovered by Matthew Braddock are only the beginning. For both Stone and his wife, a mysterious, beautiful woman who fascinates Braddock, the secrets continue to be uncovered until the last page. Lady Ravenscliff is an Irene Adler-type character, destined to not settle for the dregs of life and able to get out of the most complex pickles.

But it's not just the twists, turns and secrets that make this a rewarding read. It's the way they are used to explore ideas about the relationship between finance and government, loyalty and sabotage, money and love, that make STONE'S FALL highly entertaining. John Stone, for example, is a man who came from nothing to be a titan of industry. It's finding ways to outwit the system to discover new ways of making money that attract him. At one point, this arms dealer and shipbuilder, whose companies outfit navies around the world, tells someone that it is government's business to make his companies more secure, not for his companies to protect Britain. The question of whether everything in this world really does have a price becomes important to nearly every character, especially the person Stone loves most in the world, his wife.

The implications of Stone's financial dealings, a hornets' nest that threatens to become unraveled at his death, find counterparts in modern financial markets. Pears makes them clear to those of us without Ivy League economic degrees or Wall Street backgrounds.

At the same time, the finance is not the main focus of this story. And neither is John Stone. His widow, Elizabeth, becomes fundamental to Stone's life and its trajectory in a way not foreseen at the beginning of the tale. And that secrets continue to be revealed until the end, in a novel told in segments that go backward, rather than forward, in time is as masterful an accomplishment as Pears's ability to explain stock markets shares.

It's not often an 800-page novel can be called riveting and a page-turner, but STONE'S FALL meets that test. This is a worthy successor to Pears's publishing phenomenom, THE INSTANCE OF THE FINGERPOST.
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peter.pendergest, July 19, 2009 (view all comments by peter.pendergest)
A thoroughly enjoyable read!! While not as earth shatteringly brilliant as An Instance of the Fingerpost, I loved every minute of it.
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Product Details

ISBN:
9780385522847
Subtitle:
A Novel
Author:
Pears, Iain
Author:
Pears, Iain M.
Publisher:
Spiegel & Grau
Subject:
Historical - General
Subject:
Mystery & Detective - General
Subject:
History
Subject:
International finance
Subject:
Europe
Subject:
Mystery fiction
Subject:
Historical
Copyright:
Publication Date:
20090505
Binding:
Hardback
Grade Level:
General/trade
Language:
English
Pages:
608
Dimensions:
9.52x6.26x1.52 in. 2.13 lbs.

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Related Subjects

Fiction and Poetry » Literature » A to Z
Fiction and Poetry » Mystery » A to Z

Stone's Fall Used Hardcover
0 stars - 0 reviews
$9.95 In Stock
Product details 608 pages Spiegel & Grau - English 9780385522847 Reviews:
"Publishers Weekly Review" by , "British author Pears matches the brilliance of his bestselling An Instance of the Fingerpost (1998) with this intricate historical novel, which centers on the death of a wealthy financier. In part one, after John Stone falls to his death from a window in his London mansion in 1909, Stone's seductive, much younger widow, Elizabeth, hires Matthew Braddock, who works as a journalist, to trace a child of her late husband's she never knew existed until the child is named in his will. Braddock, a novice in the world of finance, uncovers evidence that Stone's actual net worth was far less than commonly believed, even as he finds himself falling for his client. In part two, set in 1890 Paris, Henry Cort, a shadowy spy, provides another perspective on the bewitching Elizabeth. Stone's own reminiscences from his time in Venice in 1867 cast further light on the circumstances of his demise. The pages will fly by for most readers, who will lose themselves in the clear prose and compelling plot. " Publishers Weekly (Starred Review) (Copyright Reed Business Information, Inc.)
"Review" by , "Mr. Pears's assured command of period history, language, lore, and attitudes is formidable."
"Review" by , "Certainly, one of the best historical mysteries of the last several years."
"Review" by , "A learned, witty and splendidly entertaining descent into the demimondes of international espionage, arms dealing, financial hanky-panky and other favorite pastimes of those without conscience."
"Review" by , "Stone's Fall is recommended to those who like to weigh down their beach towel with something extra-large, classy on the outside and just a little trashy within."
"Review" by , "A marvel of skillful agglomeration, the novel propels us backward in time to illuminate one man's rise and fall....Pears is an exuberant writer who cannot resist a digression whether describing an incidental character or the invention of the torpedo."
"Review" by , "This latest from Pears is in the best sense of the word an old-fashioned novel, populated with vital characters and bursting at the seams with narrative vigor. Highly recommended."
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