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The Dream of Scipio

by

The Dream of Scipio Cover

 

Staff Pick

"This is a most unusual plotline — three men's lives are paralleled throughout history at times of great spiritual and political crisis and how each comes to terms with their significant roles that must be played out. So, we have the fall of the Roman Empire, the Black Death, and World War II all set against France as the backdrop. It is an intricate and beautifully thought through story."
Recommended by Mark, Powell's Books at Cedar Hills Crossing

Synopses & Reviews

Publisher Comments:

"May well be the best historical mystery ever written," proclaimed The Sunday Boston Globe about Iain Pears's An Instance of the Fingerpost, while Booklist called its publication "a major literary event." Iain Pears's international bestseller was greeted with front-page reviews ("A crafty, utterly mesmerizing intellectual thriller"-The Washington Post Book World), named a New York Times Notable Book, and hailed as a Book to Remember by the New York Public Library. Now he returns with a greatly anticipated novel that is so brilliantly constructed, the author himself describes it as "a complexity."

The centuries are the fifth (the final days of the Roman Empire); the fourteenth (the years of the Black Death); and the twentieth (World War II). The setting for each is the same-Provence-and each has at its heart a love story. The narratives intertwine seamlessly, but what joins them thematically is an ancient text-"The Dream of Scipio"-a work of neo-Platonism that poses timeless philosophical questions. What is the obligation of the individual in a society under siege? What is the role of learning when civilization itself is threatened, whether by acts of man or nature? Does virtue lie more in engagement or in neutrality? "Power without wisdom is tyranny; wisdom without power is pointless," warns one of Pears's characters.

Review:

"[Pears's] latest novel, The Dream of Scipio, is another category-buster, a work of such philosophical and cultural complexity that its greatest mystery is 'How can Pears know so much?' Pears's canvas has never been larger (Western culture), or his concerns more profound (What is civilization?). Summarizing this complicated story risks intimidating readers away, but — while it's good to be prepared for some work — this is another wildly entertaining novel....Each of these three story lines is so compelling that every break inspires a little regret that you have to leave one and a little thrill that you get to rejoin another....This is a novel for our time about all time. Those who ignore Iain Pears are doomed to repeat the past." Ron Charles, The Christian Science Monitor (read the entire CSM review)

Review:

"The Dream of Scipio is complex, surprising and thought-provoking, a dream of a novel in more senses than one." The Wall Street Journal

Review:

"Pears' elaborate narrative triptych is dazzling for its structure, its complexity, and the richness of thought that gives it texture. But, finally, it is the passion of the love stories, undercutting bloodless philosophy while embracing the messiness of life, that lets the novel soar." Bill Ott, Booklist (Starred Review)

Review:

"Pears has a nice sense of what it means to live in a time when things fall apart, and not only the center but even the peripheries will not hold. But the readers who flocked to An Instance of the Fingerpost might not find the pages turning so fast in this less mystery-driven outing." Publishers Weekly

Synopsis:

The bestselling author of "An Instance of the Fingerpost" intertwines three intellectual mysteries, three love stories--and three of the darkest moments in human history: the final days of the Roman Empire, the grim years of the Black Death, and the direst hours of World War II.

About the Author

Iain Pears was born in 1955. Educated at Wadham College, Oxford, he has worked as a journalist, an art historian and a television consultant. He is the author of seven highly praised detective novels, a book of art history and countless articles on artistic, financial and historical subjects, and the international phenomenon An Instance of the Fingerpost.

Product Details

ISBN:
9781573222020
Author:
Pears, Iain
Publisher:
Riverhead Hardcover
Location:
New York
Subject:
Historical
Subject:
World war, 1939-1945
Subject:
Jews
Subject:
Historical - General
Subject:
Antisemitism
Subject:
Historical fiction
Subject:
Love stories
Subject:
Provence
Subject:
General Fiction
Copyright:
Edition Number:
1st
Edition Description:
Hardback
Series Volume:
107-202
Publication Date:
June 3, 2002
Binding:
Hardback
Grade Level:
from 12
Language:
English
Pages:
398 p.
Dimensions:
9.6 x 6.4 x 1.31 in 1.58 lb
Age Level:
from 18

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Related Subjects


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

The Dream of Scipio Used Hardcover
0 stars - 0 reviews
$2.95 In Stock
Product details 398 p. pages Riverhead Books - English 9781573222020 Reviews:
"Staff Pick" by ,

"This is a most unusual plotline — three men's lives are paralleled throughout history at times of great spiritual and political crisis and how each comes to terms with their significant roles that must be played out. So, we have the fall of the Roman Empire, the Black Death, and World War II all set against France as the backdrop. It is an intricate and beautifully thought through story."

"Review" by , "[Pears's] latest novel, The Dream of Scipio, is another category-buster, a work of such philosophical and cultural complexity that its greatest mystery is 'How can Pears know so much?' Pears's canvas has never been larger (Western culture), or his concerns more profound (What is civilization?). Summarizing this complicated story risks intimidating readers away, but — while it's good to be prepared for some work — this is another wildly entertaining novel....Each of these three story lines is so compelling that every break inspires a little regret that you have to leave one and a little thrill that you get to rejoin another....This is a novel for our time about all time. Those who ignore Iain Pears are doomed to repeat the past." (read the entire CSM review)
"Review" by , "The Dream of Scipio is complex, surprising and thought-provoking, a dream of a novel in more senses than one."
"Review" by , "Pears' elaborate narrative triptych is dazzling for its structure, its complexity, and the richness of thought that gives it texture. But, finally, it is the passion of the love stories, undercutting bloodless philosophy while embracing the messiness of life, that lets the novel soar."
"Review" by , "Pears has a nice sense of what it means to live in a time when things fall apart, and not only the center but even the peripheries will not hold. But the readers who flocked to An Instance of the Fingerpost might not find the pages turning so fast in this less mystery-driven outing."
"Synopsis" by , The bestselling author of "An Instance of the Fingerpost" intertwines three intellectual mysteries, three love stories--and three of the darkest moments in human history: the final days of the Roman Empire, the grim years of the Black Death, and the direst hours of World War II.
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