“This one is really complicated – maybe I just like them complicated. Pears is also a really intelligent man and has oscillated between writing fiction for entertainment and academics. He’s lived in Italy and he’s a professor and this book sort of speaks to all of those things. On the face of it, it’s about a murder in 17th-century Oxford, but quite amazing things are going on that are creepy yet fascinating. There were things I hadn’t thought about before like body stealing to learn dissections and anatomy. There is a lot about this rudimentary science, well, rudimentary to us but very exciting and magical to them. The first part of the book is told by one character and you feel you’ve learned the story. You get to the next part and it’s one of the other characters telling the same story but from his point of view and it’s really different. There are four characters who each tell it and each time you learn something new. Then you’re thinking it’s a clever game, but with the final story it suddenly becomes something different. I don’t want to give the story away but it’s a very moving and strange story with these religious overtones and it’s just amazing. It really blows you away.” Read more...
The Best Historical Novels