Friday, August 28, 2009

Stone's Fall by Iain Pears (2009)

Stone's Fall is one of those sprawling historical epics that I generally avoid, but Pears has spiced it up with enough romance, passion, intrigue, politics, murder, suspense, and Euro-chic that I found myself willingly turning the 500-plus pages. The plot revolves around resolving the death, perhaps murder, of major industrialist John Stone, who fell from a window at his London home in 1909 (hence the novel's title). Stone's widow hires an unlikely journalist to ferret out the identity of a love child named as a benefactor in Stone's will, and so the story begins. The widow is beautiful, the journalist becomes enamored, the plot twists and turns through time (1909, 1890, 1867) and space (London, Paris, Venice) with war, munitions, international espionage, government bigwigs, and financial wheeling and dealing--all running amok to explain the story's beginning. NPR listed this novel as one of its summer reads for 2009!

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