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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View all 58 comments. A young woman is accused of his murder. In the original Latin, the term “fingerpost” is simply “cross” crucisechoing the decisive “crucifixion” revealed in the story:.

As each section unfolds, a new layer of information—and at times misinformation—is added, often throwing what has gone before into doubt.

The events center around the tale of Sarah Blundy; a poverty-stricken young woman accused of murder; but encompass a host of political machinations and conspiracies, going up to the highest level. Get to Know Us. The Civil War has just ended.

It is in this climate of change, unrest, and religious intolerance that Pears has set insatnce story, and its conflicts and complexities provide the book with its dramatic substance. These Instances afford great Light, so that the Course of the Investigation will sometimes be terminated by them. Yet there are other ideas which are most disturbing; one woman who has complained of rape is discovered to be lying as she has fallen pregnant by her supposed attacker and everyone knows that this only happens if the woman experiences an orgasm during the act.

Thanks for telling us about the problem. There’s a problem loading this menu right now. Samson’s Shardlake mysteries, you’ll find this equally rewarding. This is one of those exceptionally rare historical novels that actually do seem to blend in with their intended time period.

The victim is Dr.

This was one of those books that made me ache slightly when I got to the end, which is no mean feat given that it stretches to nearly seven hundred pages. Kindle Cloud Reader Read instantly in your browser.

People were pragmatic about what had to be done — there was little romance to it and few personalities to warm to. One of the bigger surprises for me would probably not surprise a history buff very much, but it’s still presented in a neat way that should interest someone who saw it coming.


Pair’s characters are as xenophobic, ignorant, blustering, vain, bigoted, full of certitude, and as selfish as Donald Trump. Sarah Dunant’s Mapping the Edgebut the fourth narrator gives a sense of finality to the entire book.

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

The testimony related in the final section shares its title with that of the novel. Apr 24, Karen rated it it was amazing Shelves: 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.

Just a insatnce while we sign you in to your Goodreads account. Alexa Actionable Analytics for the Web. There are so many moments that I loved in this novel. Ironically enough, the novel’s conclusion did not feel as much of a deus ex machina – as Wood’s final words come to 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.

Fasci This is still the gold standard of all historical fiction for me. It is not surprising that the grudges cherished by those who had felt hard done by festered. Iain Pears was recommended to me by a highly intelligent academic I know, someone whose opinion I respect when it comes to the intellectual. An extremely engaging historical novel set in s Oxford, with a side trip to London.

Review: An Instance of the Fingerpost

Pears explores the nature of truth and its dependency on the perspective of the observer in this ingenious and meticulously researched novel set in Restoration England. There is something, though, not quite right about Marco da Cola. Thank you for your feedback.

Religion inspires a different kind of fear now but it is almost impossible to imagine a society governed by religious ritual. Be the first to ask a question about An Instance of the Fingerpost. Mass Market Paperback Verified Purchase. He also goes on rounds with Lower – travelling from town to town.

We smirk silently as he reacts in horror to piece of theatre he has been taken to; we can recognise by description that he is criticising King Lear. There is a murder and there is a dispossessed heir. What I vingerpost is that each part of the whole doesn’t read as part of an academic exercise; each story is perfectly rounded, beautifully told, and peopled with fully realised characters.


It is just that in plowing through the plot, I often concluded that the four narrators were far tooo detailed in matters tye to inxtance plot.

An Instance of the Fingerpost Reader’s Guide

He witnesses several trials including one which fngerpost around the central mystery – all the jurors are property owners no women of course. A contrast portrayed in the novel is, on one hand, a philosophy based on ancient and medieval learning, and, on the other, the scientific method that was beginning to be applied in physics, chemistry and medicine.

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Now that I have earned the wrath of the literati, let me conclude that I would highly recommend this book to serious readers, not only of the mystery genre, but of the historical novel genre as well. Question is, of course, did the author leave any clues? By continuing to use this website, you agree to their use. By using this site, you agree to the Terms of Use and Privacy Policy. Oh also, people did not write stuff like this in the 17th century, not even slightly.

Do you see any parallels between the world invoked in King Lear which was written in and the world of Fingerpost? Oxford is the intellectual seat of the country, a place of great scientific, religious, and political ferment.

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

His fihgerpost novel series features Jonathan Argyll, art historian, though international fame first arrived with his best selling book An Instance of the Fingerpostwhich was translated into several languages. Did he really speak all of the wise wise words he claimed to have, or was he a tongue-tied foreigner?

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.

The narrators give each of the other characters their own voices; the way the four men perceived the people they are rhe about.