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Stone's Fall: A Novel by Iain Pears
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Stone's Fall: A Novel (edition 2009)

by Iain Pears

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1,102637,523 (3.8)103
Member:TotallyTea
Title:Stone's Fall: A Novel
Authors:Iain Pears
Info:Spiegel & Grau (2009), Hardcover, 608 pages
Collections:Your library
Rating:***
Tags:Historical Fiction

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Stone's Fall by Iain Pears

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English (59)  Dutch (3)  Norwegian (1)  All languages (63)
Showing 1-5 of 59 (next | show all)
Wonderfully detailed first-person narrators who are like characters from Dickens delving into the very dark corners of one man's life - a quest for a character lying underneath the rug of the super wealthy. Definitely not linear, and in fact mostly backwards chronologically which makes for an interesting progression ala _Memento_. ( )
  dbsovereign | Jan 26, 2016 |
In a span covering eighty-five years the story of Stone’s Fall moves backwards in time gradually filling in the missing pieces in this masterful novel of industrial espionage, war-mongering, international banking and, finally, tragic love.
The pre-World War One storyline is reminiscent of the mystery and suspense so aptly covered by John Buchan in Thirty Nine Steps as, by trial and error, newspaper reporter Matthew Braddock begins the quest of a dead man to find his missing child. Stone, the deceased, left a tidy sum in his will to the unknown child and his wife, Elisabeth, commissions Braddock to unravel the mystery in order to put the estate to rest.
Pears leads us on a jolly-good romp throughout England and finally throughout Europe to discover the heir to the Stone estate. His voyage of discovery unravels a life of high-stakes financial finance, munitions manufacturing and corruption.
One quickly learns that in the life of this blue-blooded British couple nothing is as it seems. Is Elisabeth really a Hungarian courtesan, why was Stone visiting the medium, Madam Boniska and exactly what information does Henry Cort have over all of them that inspires such dread? Braddock is lucky to come out of the inquiry with his life. Never before has the life a banker been so full of reckless adventure, trickery and passion.
“Stone’s Fall” challenges you on all levels and presents a modern author’s, well-rounded look at history, romance, family secrets and espionage.
( )
  MarkPSadler | Jan 17, 2016 |
In a span covering eighty-five years the story of Stone’s Fall moves backwards in time gradually filling in the missing pieces in this masterful novel of industrial espionage, war-mongering, international banking and, finally, tragic love.
The pre-World War One storyline is reminiscent of the mystery and suspense so aptly covered by John Buchan in Thirty Nine Steps as, by trial and error, newspaper reporter Matthew Braddock begins the quest of a dead man to find his missing child. Stone, the deceased, left a tidy sum in his will to the unknown child and his wife, Elisabeth, commissions Braddock to unravel the mystery in order to put the estate to rest.
Pears leads us on a jolly-good romp throughout England and finally throughout Europe to discover the heir to the Stone estate. His voyage of discovery unravels a life of high-stakes financial finance, munitions manufacturing and corruption.
One quickly learns that in the life of this blue-blooded British couple nothing is as it seems. Is Elisabeth really a Hungarian courtesan, why was Stone visiting the medium, Madam Boniska and exactly what information does Henry Cort have over all of them that inspires such dread? Braddock is lucky to come out of the inquiry with his life. Never before has the life a banker been so full of reckless adventure, trickery and passion.
“Stone’s Fall” challenges you on all levels and presents a modern author’s, well-rounded look at history, romance, family secrets and espionage.
( )
  MarkPSadler | Jan 17, 2016 |
In a span covering eighty-five years the story of Stone’s Fall moves backwards in time gradually filling in the missing pieces in this masterful novel of industrial espionage, war-mongering, international banking and, finally, tragic love.
The pre-World War One storyline is reminiscent of the mystery and suspense so aptly covered by John Buchan in Thirty Nine Steps as, by trial and error, newspaper reporter Matthew Braddock begins the quest of a dead man to find his missing child. Stone, the deceased, left a tidy sum in his will to the unknown child and his wife, Elisabeth, commissions Braddock to unravel the mystery in order to put the estate to rest.
Pears leads us on a jolly-good romp throughout England and finally throughout Europe to discover the heir to the Stone estate. His voyage of discovery unravels a life of high-stakes financial finance, munitions manufacturing and corruption.
One quickly learns that in the life of this blue-blooded British couple nothing is as it seems. Is Elisabeth really a Hungarian courtesan, why was Stone visiting the medium, Madam Boniska and exactly what information does Henry Cort have over all of them that inspires such dread? Braddock is lucky to come out of the inquiry with his life. Never before has the life a banker been so full of reckless adventure, trickery and passion.
“Stone’s Fall” challenges you on all levels and presents a modern author’s, well-rounded look at history, romance, family secrets and espionage.
( )
  MarkPSadler | Jan 17, 2016 |
Hot damn. Stone's Fall is another wonderfully baroque, things-are-not-what-they-seem, historical mystery from master storyteller Iain Pears. Be warned: It's a tad slow until the second section (200 pages in or so), and then Pears hits his stride. Don't give up until you get to the second narrator, Henry Cort.

This isn't quite the same jaw-dropping brilliance of An Instance of the Fingerpost but it has the same elaborate masonry and bones of that complex book. Pears is a seriously underrated author. This book is worth reading alone for how he turns financial chicanery and intrigue in the banking world into something so meaty and exciting. Well-researched. Pears isn't a master prose stylist or anything and his sentences won't stop you mid-read to make you marvel at their lovely figures, but none of that matters because the story—the story is king!—just envelops you. ( )
1 vote gendeg | Jan 26, 2015 |
Showing 1-5 of 59 (next | show all)
“Stone’s Fall,” ... gives the reader the expected more-than-500 pages and also what is not expected at all: a female character who might have stepped out of Balzac, along with a view of the belle époque that is neither anachronistic nor censorious. .... In the last third, Pears finds himself somewhat in the situation of the clumsy home improver who, deciding to decorate his front room, finds he has painted himself into a corner.
 
Admirers of Iain Pears's "An Instance of the Fingerpost" have waited more than 10 years for another lengthy, serpentine thriller bearing the stamp of his erudition in matters historical, artistic and financial. "Stone's Fall" generously rewards their patience.
 
This sprawling, unconventional, occasionally dazzling novel ends with an unconvincing and unnecessary denouement which serves only to undermine the foundations of the elaborate edifice he has worked so painstakingly to create.
added by geoffmiles | editGuardian, Clare Clark (May 9, 2009)
 
The assurance and invention with which this novel is written are alike remarkable. Pears manages his complicated structure with a confidence and dexterity possible only to a master of the craft of fiction. ... Better, more profound novels may be published this year, but I shall be surprised if there is one that offers more complete enjoyment.
 

» Add other authors (6 possible)

Author nameRoleType of authorWork?Status
Iain Pearsprimary authorall editionsconfirmed
Relph, LiamCover designersecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Stevens, LucindaAuthor Photographsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
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To my mother
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Paris, March 1953
The Church of St.-Germain des Prés, at the start of what was supposed to be spring, was a miserable place, made worse by the drabness of a city still in a state of shock, worse still by the little coffin in front of the altar which was my reason for being there, worse again by the aches and pains of my body as I kneeled.
Quotations
'Conscious of my failings in so many matters, and wishing to make amends for past ills, I direct that the sum of £250,000 be left to my child, whom I have never previously acknowledged.'
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Amazon.com Product Description (ISBN 0385522843, Hardcover)

A return to the form that launched Iain Pears onto bestseller lists around the world: a vast historical mystery, marvelous in its ambition and ingenius in its complexity.

In his most dazzling novel since the groundbreaking New York Times bestseller An Instance of the Fingerpost, Iain Pears tells the story of John Stone, financier and arms dealer, a man so wealthy that in the years before World War One he was able to manipulate markets, industries, and indeed entire countries and continents.

A panoramic novel with a riveting mystery at its heart, Stone’s Fall is a quest to discover how and why John Stone dies, falling out of a window at his London home.

Chronologically, it moves backwards–from London in 1909 to Paris in 1890, and finally to Venice in 1867– and in the process the quest to uncover the truth plays out against the backdrop of the evolution of high-stakes international finance, Europe’s first great age of espionage, and the start of the twentieth century’s arms race.

Like Fingerpost, Stone’s Fall is an intricately plotted and richly satisfying puzzle–an erudite work of history and fiction that feels utterly true and oddly timely–and marks the triumphant return of one of the world’s great storytellers.

(retrieved from Amazon Thu, 12 Mar 2015 18:16:08 -0400)

(see all 5 descriptions)

In this dazzling historical mystery, John Stone, financier and arms dealer, dies falling out of a window at his London home. The quest to uncover the truth behind his death plays out against the backdrop of high-stakes international finance, Europe's first great age of espionage, and the start of the twentieth century's arms race.… (more)

(summary from another edition)

» see all 5 descriptions

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