An Instance of the Fingerpost [Iain Pears] on *FREE* shipping on qualifying offers. In Oxford, a servant girl confesses to a murder. But four. A national bestseller and one of the New York Public Library’s Books to Remember, An Instance of the Fingerpost is a thrilling historical mystery. This massive, delightfully titled literary thriller (it’s a quote from Sir Francis Bacon) is the kind of gamble it’s great to see a publisher taking in these often timid.

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Amazon Drive Cloud storage from Amazon. 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. He is given the task of wrapping up the narrative and, if he can be believed, gives information that neatly solves the many threads of the plot. After years of bloody civil war, the beheading of Charles I, and the strife-ridden Protectorate of Oliver Cromwell, the restoration of the lf under Charles II saw a flourishing of art, science, and philosophy.

Yet as each of the others take their turn, we begin to question his version of events. Jan 19, Paul Bryant rated it did not like it Shelves: It’s a veritable stew of contrary beliefs and mistrust. View all 32 comments.

This historical fiction drove me to research the characters and setting as I was reading it. Please try again later.

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In An Instance of the Fingerpostwe have four narratives of the same set of events. He is a Christian man and invests his money accordingly. Pears captures not only the physical details of 17C life but also the ideas and attitudes of the period as well. A fellow of New College fingdrpost found dead in suspicious circumstances. A historical novel starts from fact, but its creator must mesh fiction with facts to create a compelling narrative. For my full review: Fi An interesting concept, meticulously executed The title is a quotation borrowed from the 17th century philosopher Francis Bacon, who in his Novum Organum wrote about the nature of reasoning and the fallibility of evidence, but accounted for instances of the fingerpost – crucial instances which pointed in only one direction, sure and indissoluble, allowing for no other possibility.


Review: An Instance of the Fingerpost, Iain Pears – Girl with her Head in a Book

You’ll be amazed at gingerpost audacity of the author as he begins his high-wire act, and you’ll be even more amazed and gratified when This is one of the most well-crafted, meticulously written, daring, busy, fun, and intriguing books I’ve ever read.

Jack Prescott, an Oxford student and the son of a lord disgraced by accusations of treason; John Wallis, a skilled mathematician and cryptographer who worked for both Cromwell and Charles II and who sees political conspiracies in everyday events; and Anthony Wood, a scholar and historian.

But with perfect mastery Pears gradually takes us ths an unexplained death in a small college town to a revelation that could shake the foundations of England and the world. Trivia About An Instance of th The fourth quotation is the source of the title. What a marvelous book. A murder in 17th-century Oxford is related from the contradictory points of view of four of the characters, all of them unreliable narrators.

If you buy the book using that link, I will receive a small commission from the sale. Who poisoned garrulous Oxford Don Robert Grove?

He also met young Sarah Blundy and tasked himself with trying to heal her mother’s broken leg, free of charge, but also exploring some of his own ideas about the transfusion of blood. Already have an account? In the final segment, a decent character came back into play, and things started looking up — until, that is, the author decided to cheer the reader by introducing the Theology card.

He lives in Oxford, England. An unfortunate outcome, which those who believed in her guilt considered divine Providence. Alexa Actionable Analytics for the Web.

We are witnessing a transformational age where conspiracy theories and discredited ideologies are resurgent, proven science is up for debate, and propaganda floods our screens, and only a devoted minority labor to apply logic, reason, and expertise. Robert Grove of Oxford’s New College. I would like ths note that none of these reviewers expect to “like” the 17th century characters that play in the novel.


It is one of those cities which keeps one foot proudly in the past. There is the brash and arrogant young James Prescott, obsessed with clearing his father’s name of treachery, then the cold and manipulative Dr Wallis, also consumed with his own quest for revenge. Such is the case with the book – although I felt a little instqnce by the ending: Customers who bought this item also bought. Not only is this bastard a frumpy, misogynistic, boring prick with a dessicatingly dry writing style, he’s a stupid Christian to boot.

Apr 24, Karen rated it it was amazing Shelves: At its heart it is a thriller, full of twists and turns and dark alleys full of danger yet it is the reader who gets to play detective, to judge each of the witnesses and reach their own conclusions. Two of the narrators are the mathematician John Wallis and the historian Anthony Wood. The squalor and grime of seventeenth century society seem to ooze from the page and we instnce a real sense of Restoration Oxford.

Why did he even come to Oxford in the first place? The first account is from Marco da Cola, a Venetian physician who is treating Sarah’s mother and experimenting with blood transfusions. Fourth — Anthony Wood — a socially pathetic man with somewhat-hidden intellectual abilities and an historian.

Review: An Instance of the Fingerpost – The Oxford Culture Review

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An Instance of the Fingerpost is a novel to savour and consider and rabbit about at length to friends – it is a true tour de force. He is followed by a third narrator who does the same, and then a fourth who seems more reliable than the other three though who knows, really? The suspicion of Catholics remained like the modern threat of Islamic extremism and always the worry of how close they were to the King.