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Dark Matter: The Private Life of Sir Isaac Newton | [Philip Kerr]

Dark Matter: The Private Life of Sir Isaac Newton

Skillfully weaving history with mystery, Philip Kerr sets this thrilling story in the 1696 Tower of London, where Sir Isaac Newton, warden of the Royal Mint (a post he actually held), and his apprentice Christopher Ellis (also a real person) track down a counterfeiting ring and, as the body count increases, a murderer. "An illuminating, often crackling exploration into the mysteries of science, mathematics, religion, and human nature," raves Booklist in a starred review.
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Publisher's Summary

In 1696, young Christopher Ellis is sent to the Tower of London, but not as a prisoner. Though Ellis is notoriously hotheaded and was caught fighting an illegal duel, he arrives at the Tower as assistant to the renowned scientist Sir Isaac Newton. Newton has accepted an appointment from the King of England and Parliament to investigate and prosecute counterfeiters whose false coins threaten to bring down the shaky, war-weakened economy. Ellis may lack Newton's scholarly mind, but he is quick with a pistol and proves himself to be an invaluable sidekick and devoted apprentice to Newton.

While Newton and Ellis investigate a counterfeiting ring, they come upon a mysterious coded message on the body of a man killed in the Lion Tower. Despite Newton's formidable intellect, he is unable to decipher the cryptic message or any of the others he and Ellis find as the body count increases within the Tower complex. As they are drawn into a wild pursuit of the counterfeiters that takes them from the madhouse of Bedlam to the squalid confines of Newgate prison and back to the Tower itself, Newton and Ellis discover that the counterfeiting is only a small part of a larger, more dangerous plot, one that threatens much more than the collapse of the economy.

©2002 Philip Kerr; (P)2002 Books On Tape, Inc.

What the Critics Say

"An illuminating, often crackling exploration into the mysteries of science, mathematics, religion, and human nature." (Booklist, Starred Review)
"The ever-versatile Kerr...weaves a rich tapestry of interesting characters and period details. Highly recommended." (Library Journal)
"A most gripping and well-appointed entertainment." (Publishers Weekly)

What Members Say

Average Customer Rating

3.7 (159 )
5 star
 (41)
4 star
 (59)
3 star
 (36)
2 star
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1 star
 (8)
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4.0 (68 )
5 star
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4 star
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3 star
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2 star
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1 star
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Story
4.4 (66 )
5 star
 (38)
4 star
 (21)
3 star
 (3)
2 star
 (2)
1 star
 (2)
Performance
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  •  
    MickeyMarie 08-17-12
    MickeyMarie 08-17-12

    I read so I can write

    HELPFUL VOTES
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    "Excellant Historical Fiction"

    Kerr has done a good job of historical research and combined it with talented story writing. The addition of stunning narration by John Lee makes the book very enjoyable.

    3 of 5 people found this review helpful
  •  
    R. Whitten Los Angeles, CA USA 01-26-04
    R. Whitten Los Angeles, CA USA 01-26-04 Listener Since 2000

    bobwhitten

    HELPFUL VOTES
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    "Slogged thru it, but hated it."

    Yeah, I got through the whole thing, but I don't know who wants to read this book. Newton was a great man by almost anyone's account, but the conjecture about him and his family seems like an incredibly cheap way to write a book. And the racy sex scenes in the book seem very out of place. It's a bit hard to listen to as well, with the quaint words and somewhat coarse language. I wanted to know a bit more about Newton, and maybe there were some nuggets of fact mixed in with all the trashing of this great man, but who can tell the difference?

    3 of 8 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Joshua Spring Mills, PA, United States 12-16-13
    Joshua Spring Mills, PA, United States 12-16-13 Member Since 2010
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    "Something of a disappointment"

    I've really enjoyed the Bernie Gunther series by Philip Kerr, and looked forward to experiencing the author's work in a different context. I was disappointed by this book. It may be that the dialect is an accurate attempt to voice the language of the time, but I found it tedious and distracting. I'm not sure if the fault lies totally with the author or if the reader carries some blame. The plot was interesting, although it seemed a little messy. The portrayal of English society and the technology of the time, if accurate, was by far the most interesting aspect of the novel.

    0 of 1 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Dallas Mount Airy, NC, United States 03-24-04
    Dallas Mount Airy, NC, United States 03-24-04 Member Since 2001
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    "Disappointed"

    The premise of this book was intriguing but the execution was very disappointing. The author could have had an interesting Holmes and Watson style mystery but he substituted crudeness for cleverness. Do not waste your time listening.

    4 of 13 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Ronda 11-12-12
    Ronda 11-12-12 Member Since 2014

    I love a good murder mystery or any novel where good overcomes evil. Two of my favorite authors are Frank Peretti and Ted Dekker.

    HELPFUL VOTES
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    "Wasn't what I expected."

    The description sounded much better than the novel. I had always been taught that Isaac Newton believed the teachings of the Bible and that his discoveries strengthened, not weakened, his faith. I thought this was going to be a fun read about his crime-solving skills, not about his (lack of) faith.

    0 of 2 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Julia Manchester, CT, United States 09-05-11
    Julia Manchester, CT, United States 09-05-11 Member Since 2010
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    "Not worth it!"

    This book is filled with filthy language and disgusting sex scenes. You could skip them if there was anything worthwhile about the book...but there isn't. The book was so convoluted that I couldn't figure out who had been murdered but in the end it didn't really matter because Kerr killed off pretty much all the secondary characters. This book is not worth buying!

    0 of 2 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Bruce Gordon 03-11-05 Member Since 2015
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    "mixed review"

    As mysteries go, OK (but not great). As historical novels go, better. But there is soemthing very icky about being read a sex scene, especially in Olde English. Too weird for words.

    1 of 7 people found this review helpful

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