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 from Iain Pears. AN INSTANCE OF THE FINGERPOST [Iain Pears] on *FREE* shipping on qualifying offers. Set in Oxford in the s – a time and place of great. An Instance of the Fingerpost [Iain Pears] on *FREE* shipping on qualifying offers. In Oxford, a servant girl confesses to a murder. But four.

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The first of the four long narratives we have here is actually pretty good stuff, a perky Italian geezer getting involved with blood transfusions and the said murder in when King Charles has just been restored to the throne and the air was thick with a great many cloaks and accompanying daggers. An unfortunate outcome, which those who believed in her guilt considered divine Providence. 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.

For example, I do not have the stomach for politics: Apr 26, K rated it really liked it Shelves: In fact, he periodically receives offers to work for other governments, but he is as fervently patriotic for England as he is about saving the souls of black slaves.

This is one of the few books that I felt compelled to start immediately again, from page one, after reaching the end — even though it has close to pages. Through Lower, da Cola also meets philosopher John Locke, architect Christopher Wren, and chemist Robert Boyle, three men whose ideas and discoveries helped shape the age in which they lived.

This is a wildly unrealistic smoothed down scrubbed and washed version of something no 17th century person would ever have written. Add to that a death that may or may not have been suspicious, apparent witnesses who may or may not have seen anything, and multiple reporters on the event who give us their views on what happened.

Though written inthe book’s theme has a renewed relevance considering how the current White House administration, social media, and cable news have contributed to the decimation of objective truth. I can feel it hiss in the night and taste its coldness in the day. Read more Read less. Amazon Renewed Refurbished products with a warranty.


Maybe so, but I am not afraid of a long read. King Lear tells the story of a once-powerful monarch humiliated and unraveled by his own weakness and the treachery of his children.

An Instance of the Fingerpost by Iain Pears – Reading Guide – : Books

I hope pearrs read it at least a third time. This was one of those books that made me ache slightly when it got to the end, which is no mean feat given that it stretches to nearly seven hundred pages. And, in AIotF, Pears carries off the same trick.

He carries a torch for Sarah. Anthony Wood, a witness to these events, is reconciled to the verdict calling for her execution in the belief that the divine plan will be fulfilled.

An Instance of the Fingerpost – Wikipedia

View all 14 comments. And I checked and saw that the fourth long narrative is a third farty old cingerpost, who no doubt will probably contradict the other three and reveal their narratives to be shocketty shock a tissue of deliberate fabrication and self-deception.

ComiXology Thousands of Digital Comics. Someday I will likely read this again to try to trace how Pears did this slight of hand. Dare I say it? Pears does a fabulous job asking these questions about truth-making, and he picks an appropriate historical setting for such questions.

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Set up a giveaway. Uses multiple narrators to tell the story, each one revealing a bit more of the truth, isin is intriguing. More than most books, this vividly brings to light the unenviable situation of simply being a woman without means in this time and place. After reading 3 different versions of the same events, only one conclusion prevailed.

Torturing a corpse seems like an odd thing to do. Get fast, free shipping with Amazon Prime. Oxford is the intellectual seat of the country, a place of great scientific, religious, and political ferment. The “witch” is Sarah Blundy whose father was a Cromwell intriguer and who has fallen on hard times since his death. As more information emerged I kept changing my beliefs about people and events.

Ironically enough, the novel’s conclusion did not feel as much of a deus ex machina – as Wood’s final words come finngerpost an end, we feel as though we have been told a delicious and wonderful secret, a secret to be held close as we are assured that all of evidence of it has been destroyed.


A really excellent novel with some very unreliable narrators and detailed characterization. The device of four differing perspectives of the “murder” is ingenious and satisfying. The protagonist was reintroduced — as a inatance of god.

An Instance of the Fingerpost

To be honest, vast screeds of Oxford have not changed. How do people handle perspectivity since no one is omniscient? What do these events suggest about how a society defines and administers justice? Like Lower and his friends, both Wallis and Wood are historical figures, while Prescott is a fictional character based loosely on fingerpots. Yes, there is a murder to be solved, but there are multiple mysteries within the novel: Such is the case with the book – although I felt a little disappointed by the ending: The descriptions of the superstitions that were still dictating prescribed treatment by a physician of this time period made inwtance very clear that one had to be very desperate to seek care at all.

The first testimony comes from Marco de Cola and indeed the discovery of his papers is what prompts the other three narrators to write their accounts in the first place. Iain Pears was recommended to me by a instqnce intelligent academic I know, someone whose opinion I respect when it comes to the intellectual. As a philosopher and physician-in-training, his major obsession is the quest for scientific truth. So begins Iain Pears’s crafty, utterly mesmerizing intellectual thriller, An Instance of the Fingerpost.

In the final segment, a decent character came back into play, and things started looking up — until, that is, the author decided to cheer t pages, and it wasn’t even worth one star. I learned a great deal. The events of the novel are set in motion by the death of Robert Grove, an fellow of the New College.