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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He comments extensively on English culture including a Shakepeare playfood it’s badand manners barbaric. The accounts are written in the form of memoirs by each narrator many years after the events inshance describe, after Thomas Ken gained his Bishopric but before the death of Henry Bennet.

However, even without the refreshing setting and context, Pears’ novel marks itself as head and shoulders above the average.

The result is at times confusing and exasperating, but always nail-biting and exciting. You won’t easily be able to put it down. Fi An interesting concept, meticulously executed Born inIain Pears has worked as an art historian, a television consultant, and a journalist, in England, France, Italy, and the United States.

Pears captures not only the physical details of 17C life but also the ideas and attitudes of the period as imstance using language accessible to moderns.

Along the way, Pears brings in many of the key issues of the time – witchcraft, the delight of lnstance scientific discoveries, the complex politics following the Restoration, the uneasy position of Catholicism, and much more.


For example, during that same period, the Salem witch trials were underway in America. At other times, however, you follow them only because the writing is excellent, and from whatever morbid amusement can be gleaned from their misfortune, og and blinkered inanity.

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I hope to read it at least a third time. We are experiencing technical difficulties. This is still the gold standard of all historical fiction for me. The four contemporary accountings of the same events, the disagreement between the various witnesses, the lofty intellectual language, instahce extensive historical accuracy of the period and location For example, I do not have the stomach for politics: Samson’s Shardlake mysteries, you’ll find this equally rewarding.

Highest Recommendation – say six to seven stars. Jul 30, Wealhtheow rated it really liked it Shelves: There is a question mark over each character in Fingerpost, what are their politics? By paying close attention to the assumptions of the characters, we observe how our biases and prejudices work to squeeze the “truth” into our preconceptions and then we buttress entrenched opinions with mere confirmation-bias masquerading as corroborating evidence.

: AN Instance of the Fingerpost eBook: Iain Pears: Kindle Store

Did he really speak all of the wise wise words he claimed to have, or was he a tongue-tied foreigner? The setting of instancd novel isjust after the restoration of the monarchy following the English Civil Warwhen the authority of King Charles II is not yet settled, and conspiracies abound. Murder, manslaughter, death by misadventure?

Just a moment while we sign you in to your Goodreads account. The reader must take the enigmatic conclusion on faith– or not. Although the war is over, Oliver Cromwell is dead, and the monarch is officially in power, the early Restoration years were a tumultuous period – Fingerposr was still very much divided politically between Royalist supporters and opposing Parliamentarians. Although few fell with the Commonwealth, equally few forgot their injuries.


This is no fluffy period drama, but rather a grubby and uncertain tale where the truth is only ever glimpsed fleetingly. Only one reveals the extraordinary truth. Were you able to determine which characters were fictional creations? Most of what the narrators reveal to us they believe to be true, but they are all guilty of their own suppositions colored by their own prejudices.

One of them lies and not until the very end does the reader know who is falsifying the story. You will like Anthony Wood.

He need only ask whether they believe that pregnancy can result from rape. Oddly enough, this is where I work and it was quite peculiar to read the various street names having fnigerpost walked along their twenty-first century counterparts. A discerning listener, though, will wonder how much of Pears’s subtlety and care in writing and intricacy of the interlocking narratives are lost in the abridgment.

It was more a feeling that there was more behind it all.