An Instance of the Fingerpost

An Instance of the Fingerpost Set in Oxford in the s a time and place of great intellectual religious scientific and political ferment this remarkable novel centres around a young woman Sarah Blundy who stands accused of t

  • Title: An Instance of the Fingerpost
  • Author: Iain Pears
  • ISBN: null
  • Page: 361
  • Format: Kindle Edition
  • Set in Oxford in the 1660s a time and place of great intellectual, religious, scientific and political ferment this remarkable novel centres around a young woman, Sarah Blundy, who stands accused of the murder of Robert Grove, a fellow of New College Four witnesses describe the events surrounding his death Marco da Cola, a Venetian Catholic intent on claiming creditSet in Oxford in the 1660s a time and place of great intellectual, religious, scientific and political ferment this remarkable novel centres around a young woman, Sarah Blundy, who stands accused of the murder of Robert Grove, a fellow of New College Four witnesses describe the events surrounding his death Marco da Cola, a Venetian Catholic intent on claiming credit for the invention of blood transfusion Jack Prescott, the son of a supposed traitor to the Royalist cause, determined to vindicate his father John Wallis, chief cryptographer to both Cromwell and Charles II, a mathematician, theologian and master spy and Anthony Wood, the famous Oxford antiquary Each one tells their version of what happened but only one reveals the extraordinary truth Brilliantly written, utterly convincing, gripping from the first page to the last, An Instance of the Fingerpost is a magnificent tour de force.

    One thought on “An Instance of the Fingerpost”

    1. ”When in a Search of any Nature the Understanding stands suspended, then Instances of the Fingerpost shew the true and inviolable Way in which the Question is to be decided. These Instances afford great Light, so that the Course of the Investigation will sometimes be terminated by them. Sometimes, indeed, these Instances are found amongst that Evidence already set down.” --Francis Bacon, Novum Organum Scientarum, Section XXXVI, Aphorism XXIOliver Cromwell, not really relevant to this book ex [...]

    2. Still one of the best books I've ever read, this has something for everyone. It's a mystery, it's history, it's science, it's drama, it's amazing. It's really long too, but that just makes it better- by the time you finish it you'll be sorry it wasn't longer.

    3. What sticks in my mind about this book is being consumed with fury for 1/4th of it--and then having the following conclusion be the greatest revenge. A really excellent novel with some very unreliable narrators and detailed characterization. I was amazed at how everything fit together by the end.

    4. Onvan : An Instance of the Fingerpost - Nevisande : Iain Pears - ISBN : 1573227951 - ISBN13 : 9781573227957 - Dar 704 Safhe - Saal e Chap : 1997

    5. A "novel" novel (please pardon the attempted humor), where unreliable narrators outnumber purported reliability by a long shot. Once again my happiness at not living in the 17th century is validated as I read of the physical squalor, the political and religious unrest and distrust in England after the restoration of Charles II, the relative worthlessness of the average person's life. Amidst that there is the glimmer of new knowledge and education at Oxford the seat of "Instance". Along with the [...]

    6. There is a murder and there is a dispossessed heir. Frankly, I couldn’t give a stuff if some shouldabeen rich young sprog got hornswoggled in the 17th century, I mean, the goodly realm of Great Britain had just been through 20 years of civil war and there was an awful lot of horns swoggled, of that you can be sure. I’d say more horns were swoggled than not swoggled. Vast estates yanked from under the noses of their rightful heirs and all of that. Who cares. Alas, the whole plot of this very [...]

    7. 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 700 pages.The story of this thriller is retold, in succession, by four different people. One of them lies and not until the very end does the reader know who is falsifying the story. And that is why I wanted to read it again: to pay attention to the structure and to how the story is woven by different points of view, and see where the liar has fabric [...]

    8. Iain Pears is an Oxford-born and educated art historian and author of historical mysteries, and An Instance of the Fingerpost is his most famous novel. Good historians are not necessarily good authors and good authors are not necessarily good historians, but in Fingerpost Pears manages to strike a comfortable balance between both professions. An Instance of the Fingerpost is a long but involving book, which pays great attention to its historical setting and theme, but at the same time manages to [...]

    9. Edit Jan 2018: Added the right version of the audio bookOne murder.One young woman, Sarah Blundy, suspected to be the murderer and already found guilty by almost everyone before her trial starts.Four men of different backgrounds who recount the events that led to the murder and beyond.One of them is lying.Up until now, I’ve always considered The Name of the Rose as the best historical fiction I ever read. I’m omitting the word ‘mystery’ on purpose here, as - though definitely a murder/my [...]

    10. An extremely engaging historical novel set in 1660s Oxford, with a side trip to London. Told from four viewpoints of varying reliability, this murder mystery gets gradually revealed as the story unfolds. The murder itself is consequential only in that it serves as a device to tie the main characters together. Mystery fans may wish to know if the novel sets out clues leading to whodunnit - but I can't help here as I did not try to solve it. This novel wears very well upon re-reading - and may be [...]

    11. well, I guess it's sort of read.I mean, I read as damn much as I could. which was roughly 1/3. it was going nowhere, and honestly, I didn't find it compelling enough to move much further. there's a sort of mystery I couldn't really get into, and there's regular (and, at the end of the book, carefully cited) appearances by british scientists and philosophers of the period, but there was nothing that actually made me want to pay attention. I didn't care about the characters or their progress.

    12. A story told in four sections, each told in the first person by a different character, and set in England during the Reformation, this is a gripping tale and intriguing mystery. What you think the story is about after reading the first section mutates and evolves to a quite surprising ending. If you like mystery, beautiful prose, and fascinating characters, pick this up. You won't easily be able to put it down.

    13. Uses multiple narrators to tell the story, each one revealing a bit more of the truth, which is intriguing. The only problem is the book is tedious and the payoff is not worth the ride.

    14. Historical fiction tends to gather around the Tudors and Victorians but often skirts the Stuarts. They had an awful lot of messy Civil Wars and their personalities were not what one would call attractive. Unlike writers attempting valiantly to fashion together something new from the fall of Anne Boleyn or similar, An Instance of the Fingerpost offers fresh material even for the hardened historical fiction fiend such as myself. However, even without the refreshing setting and context, Pears' nove [...]

    15. For ages, everyone told me that ‘An Instance of the Fingerpost’ is Iain Pears’ best novel. Partly because of this I sort of ‘saved it up’ and held off on reading it for a while. (The other factor in this decision was that this book, even in paperback, weighs about 10 pounds. It’s enough to make me want a Kindle!) But, because of this expectation-of-awesomeness (and maybe a tiny smidgin because of sore wrists?) I was a little bit disappointed. This is definitely Iain Pears’ most amb [...]

    16. An Instance of the Fingerpost had been on my radar for quite some time before I actually picked it up. It's a critically acclaimed murder mystery that takes place in England right after Cromwell's death and the king's return to the throne (as is the current book I'm reading - I'm not too sure how that happened!). The book is divided into four parts, each part narrated by a different character. The premise is that different people can all see one event and take completely different things from it [...]

    17. This mystery, set in England around 1660, is described four times -- once each from the perspectives of four characters, some based on real personalities and others fictitious. The biases, motives, and flaws of the narrators are compelling, to be sure, but what really makes this book click is Pears' thorough understanding of the time, place, and cultural flow in which the story reveals itself.The measured revelation -- and eventual closure -- of what ends up being a complex event, initially disg [...]

    18. This is one of the most well-crafted, meticulously written, daring, busy, fun, and intriguing books I've ever read. It combines shifting points of view, murder, early experiments with blood transfusion, international intrigue, hidden identities, the Restoration and Catholic/Protestant politics, and insanity into a rollicking, erudite, challenging, and delightful read. You'll be amazed at the audacity of the author as he begins his high-wire act, and you'll be even more amazed and gratified when [...]

    19. This is a good book, don't let the measly three stars tell you any differently. The author juggles the contrasting views of the unreliable narrators with veritable finesse, so the solution to the mystery isn't revealed till the very last pages. However, I do not like unreliable narrators, especially those that largely treat anyone that isn't an affluent man with outright disrespect. So, this was very well-written; I just spent too much time being pissed at the narrators to be bothered to give a [...]

    20. Iain Pears was recommended to me by a highly intelligent academic I know, someone whose opinion I respect when it comes to the intellectual. So I guess it fits that I find his books to be high quality fiction that's excellent and sometimes just a little above my head.I actually liked An Instance of the Fingerpost even better than the previous Iain Pears book I read, Stone's Fall, which I also found enjoyable and impressive and just a bit beyond me at times but not to the point where I couldn't a [...]

    21. short review on 3rd read in 2015:- after Arcadia which the author hyped as a complex novel needing an app and which to me seemed actually a simpler novel than his earlier 3 superb complex multi-layered novels (Instance of the Fingerpost, Dreams of Scipio, Stone's Fall), I decided to reread this one - as the one of the three I last read a while ago (some 10 years ago easily, maybe more) - to see if I maybe remember it wrong after all and Arcadia was indeed more sophisticated; and it turned out th [...]

    22. This is still the gold standard of all historical fiction for me. I've tried to find its equal and haven't come up with it. The four contemporary accountings of the same events, the disagreement between the various witnesses, the lofty intellectual language, the extensive historical accuracy of the period and location this is just what great historical fiction is supposed to be. I've read several of this author's other works now and they're all good, but this is simply that much better. Fascinat [...]

    23. There's a lovely bit in the musical film "Call Me Madam", when a lyrical ballad is succeeded by a contrasting upbeat number - both good - then, miraculously they are sung at the same time, working brilliantly together (watch it here - if you're interested, but ignore Ethel Merman's over-acting). And, in AIotF, Pears carries off the same trick. Four stories - each well told, but completely different personalities and atmospheres. And then - this is the technical tour de force - they are overlaid, [...]

    24. 735 pages, and it wasn't even worth one star.For the first hundred pages, the book was so dull that I trudged along, hoping it would get better. It didn't, and by then I was trapped. After that, it stopped being boring and became shockingly offensive instead. The writer killed off the only charismatic character in the book, and showcased the most villainous. In the final segment, a decent character came back into play, and things started looking up – until, that is, the author decided to cheer [...]

    25. The conceit of this book -- 4 different narrators each telling his version of the same set of events -- was novel and well-executed, and the rendering of Restoration England was obviously well-researched. However, the story dragged at times as a result of the detailed explorations of 17th-century politics and mannerisms. I would recommend this only to a those with a serious interest in historical fiction.

    26. Жертвата е една, но виновните са много: knigolandiafo/book-review/pТова е сложен период в британската история (сякаш някой не е, ама хайде). Гражданската война е сякаш приключила, монархията е възстановена, повечето поддръжници на Кромуел са загубили влиянието (че и живота си), само някои [...]

    27. Pears offers an historical fiction set in 1663, primarily in the university town, Oxford. For the last few decades, the residents of Oxford (as well as many of the subjects throughout England) are wrestling over questions of religion, politics, and science. Yes, there is a murder to be solved, but there are multiple mysteries within the novel: What is each character's true politics? (Royalist or Cromwell sympathizer?) What is each character's true religious affiliation (Anglican, Catholic, Anaba [...]

    28. 3.5/5. Well-written tour de force set in Restoration England--17th century.Four "memoirs" written by four of the main characters. All are connected by the same figures and also by the murder of an Oxford don and the execution of a young woman. Each narration is given by a separate character: an Italian medical student; a young man attempting to restore his father's good name; a cryptographer; and an archivist/antiquarian. None of these people is completely reliable; each tells the story as he se [...]

    29. An interesting concept, meticulously executedbut it didn't work well for me. The book is split between four narrators, each describing essentially the same set of events from his own perspective. The storyline is relatively interesting, particularly towards the end. But I didn't find any of the four narrators to be particularly compelling and the story ended up feeling slow and disjointed. Also, perhaps due to the book's structure, the revelation felt anticlimactic when it finally arrived. Final [...]

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