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 from Iain Pears. AN INSTANCE OF THE FINGERPOST [Iain Pears] on *FREE* shipping on qualifying offers. Set in Oxford in the s – a time and place of great. An Instance of the Fingerpost [Iain Pears] on *FREE* shipping on qualifying offers. In Oxford, a servant girl confesses to a murder. But four.

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A young woman is accused of his murder. I had a great time living in the world that Pears created. I cannot stress enough the vivid re-creation for me of the 17C.

For my full review: Four “memoirs” written by four of the main uain. The “witch” is Sarah Blundy whose father was a Cromwell intriguer and who has fallen on hard times since his death. Also, perhaps due to the book’s structure, the revelation felt anticlimactic thd it finally arrived.

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. She confesses to the crime and is sentenced to be hanged.

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He unnaturally died of natural causes though he was later dug up, hung in chains, and ceremoniously beheaded. To ask other readers questions about An Instance of the Fingerpostplease sign up.

Two of the narrators are the mathematician John Wallis and the historian Anthony Wood. Aug 14, Sam toer rated it really liked it. Jun 12, Brooke rated it really liked it Recommends it for: Amazon Rapids Fun stories for kids on the go. Four stories – each well told, but completely different personalities and atmospheres. This historical fiction drove me to research the characters and setting as I was reading it.

The Idols of the Na which refers to a misuse of language ; The Idols of the Cavern which refers to personal obsessions ; and The Idols of the Theater which refers to the danger of false reasoning. By the time I started each subsequent narrative, my memories of the earlier ones had lnstance and it was harder to appreciate the unreliability as a result.


Iain Pears was recommended to me by a highly intelligent academic I know, someone whose opinion I respect when it comes to the intellectual. Then there is the historian Wood, held in tge by the other narrators but there is a chance, just a chance that he can see more clearly than the rest. By paying close attention to the assumptions of the characters, we observe how our biases and prejudices work to squeeze the “truth” into our preconceptions and then we buttress entrenched opinions with mere confirmation-bias masquerading as corroborating evidence.

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New, critical information is released with each changing perspective. The narrators give each of the other characters their own voices; the way the four men perceived the people they are talking about. What is their religion? While Da Cola lets Sarah Blundy’s mother talk almost like an angel, Jack Prescott, the second person to tell his version, makes the mother sound like a witch.

Charles II has been restored to the throne following years of civil war and Cromwell’s short-lived republic.

: An Instance of the Fingerpost (): Iain Pears: Books

The Protector Oliver Cromwell is dead; the Levellers, Diggers and other such factions — with their dreams of an egalitarian society– have been destroyed or dispersed; peace, finally, has returned to a ravaged land. Like Lower and his friends, both Wallis and Wood are historical figures, while Prescott is a fictional character based loosely on fact. Each narrator personifies elements from Sir Francis Bacon’s writings on epistemology, or how we know what we know.

None of them are reliable. As long as one is willing to grind through the first pages, of course. One of them lies and not until the very end does the reader know who is falsifying the story.

Get to Know Us. We hear the story of the death from four witnesses—each tells his own version of what happened.

I actually liked An Instance of the Fingerpost even better than the previous Iain Pears book I read, Stone’s Fallwhich I also found enjoyable and impressive and just a bit beyond me at times but not to the point where I couldn’t a Iain Pears was recommended to peaars by a highly intelligent academic I know, someone whose opinion I respect when it comes to the intellectual. Wallis is an expert in cyphers, certainly one of the best minds for puzzles living in this time period.


The first account is from Marco da Cola, a Venetian physician who is treating Sarah’s mother and experimenting with blood transfusions. He is having pecuniary difficulties and needs sources of ready cash.

We are witnessing a transformational age where conspiracy theories and discredited ideologies are resurgent, proven science is up for debate, and propaganda floods our screens, and only a fingerpkst minority labor to apply logic, reason, and expertise. I just have one question. You have taken my fingerpoat name, and all you offer in return is your apology, kf with no meaning and less sincerity.

Jul 30, Liviu rated it it was amazing Shelves: And some more sober nuggets: Oxford is the intellectual seat fnigerpost the country, a place of great scientific, An ingenious tour de force: Although few fell with the Commonwealth, equally few forgot their injuries.

I’ve tried to find its equal and haven’t come up with it.

An Instance of the Fingerpost

I enjoyed Fingerpost far more than my first Iain Pears novel, A Dream iakn Scipio which also bills itself as a murder mystery on its back cover, but is most definitely not. This is one of the most well-crafted, meticulously written, daring, busy, fun, and intriguing books I’ve ever read.

He did not realize that I saw, that instant, into his soul fjngerpost perceived the devilish intent that lay hidden there, coiled and waiting to unleashed when all around had been lulled into thinking him a fool. He witnesses several trials including one which swirls around ;ears central mystery – all the jurors are property owners no women of course.

Do you see any parallels between the world invoked in King Lear which was written in and the world of Fingerpost? The strains of discord within English society ran deep; however, and long-held religious enmity continued to shape political policy.