An Instance of the Fingerpost

An Instance of the Fingerpost

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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 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 more

Product details

  • Paperback | 704 pages
  • 128 x 198 x 44mm | 439.99g
  • Vintage Publishing
  • London, United Kingdom
  • English
  • 009975181X
  • 9780099751816
  • 16,257

About Iain Pears

Iain Pears was born in Coventry 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 several highly praised detective novels, a book of art history, countless articles on artistic, financial and historical subjects, and The Dream of Scipio and Stone's more

Review Text

This multilayered literary thriller is nothing short of superb. Four key characters relate the circumstances surrounding the mysterious death of a fellow of New College in 17th-century Oxford: the first, a dilettante Venetian gentleman, finds himself under suspicion in the close-knit academic community. What seems in his account to be a straightforward murder case turns out to be a national religious and political conspiracy. An entertaining and learned novel; comparisons with The Name of the Rose are justified. (Kirkus UK)show more

Review quote

"Anyone who reads this will want to tell their friends about it... This is a novel that combines the simple pleasures of Agatha Christie with the intellectual subtlety of Umberto Eco, don't let it pass by unread" Sunday Times "A fictional tour de force which combines erudition with mystery" -- P D James "The kind of book that has you reading it by torchlight under the bedclothes. An historical detective story set to rival The Name of the Rose, it provides the rare pleasure of combining an intricate plot with insight into the political intrigues of Restoration England" The Times "Pears brings to life a vibrant 17th-century world...a tour de force" Daily Telegraph "Brilliantly researched and imagined...a remarkable achievement" Sunday Telegraphshow more