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The Technologists: A Novel | [Matthew Pearl]

The Technologists: A Novel

The Civil War may be over but a new war has begun, one between the past and the present, tradition and technology. On a former marshy wasteland, the daring Massachusetts Institute of Technology is rising, its mission to harness science for the benefit of all and to open the doors of opportunity to everyone of merit. But in Boston Harbor a fiery cataclysm throws commerce into chaos, as ships’ instruments spin inexplicably out of control. Soon after, another mysterious catastrophe devastates the heart of the city.
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Publisher's Summary

The first class at M.I.T. The last hope for a city in peril.

The acclaimed author of The Dante Club reinvigorates the historical thriller. Matthew Pearl’s spellbinding new novel transports readers to tumultuous nineteenth-century Boston, where the word “technology” represents a bold and frightening new concept. The fight for the future will hinge on....

The Technologists.

Boston, 1868. The Civil War may be over but a new war has begun, one between the past and the present, tradition and technology. On a former marshy wasteland, the daring Massachusetts Institute of Technology is rising, its mission to harness science for the benefit of all and to open the doors of opportunity to everyone of merit. But in Boston Harbor a fiery cataclysm throws commerce into chaos, as ships’ instruments spin inexplicably out of control. Soon after, another mysterious catastrophe devastates the heart of the city. Is it sabotage by scientific means or Nature revolting against man’s attempt to control it?

The shocking disasters cast a pall over M.I.T. and provoke assaults from all sides - rival Harvard, labor unions, and a sensationalistic press. With their first graduation and the very survival of their groundbreaking college now in doubt, a band of the Institute’s best and brightest students secretly come together to save innocent lives and track down the truth, armed with ingenuity and their unique scientific training.

Led by “charity scholar” Marcus Mansfield, a quiet Civil War veteran and one-time machinist struggling to find his footing in rarefied Boston society, the group is rounded out by irrepressible Robert Richards, the bluest of Beacon Hill bluebloods; Edwin Hoyt, class genius; and brilliant freshman Ellen Swallow, the Institute’s lone, ostracized female student. Working against their small secret society, from within and without, are the arrayed forces of a stratified culture determined to resist change at all costs and a dark mastermind bent on the utter destruction of the city.

Studded with suspense and soaked in the rich historical atmosphere for which its author is renowned, The Technologists is a dazzling journey into a dangerous world not so very far from our own, as the America we know today begins to shimmer into being.

©2012 Matthew Pearl (P)2012 Random House Audio

What the Critics Say

The Technologists combines everything I love in a thriller: fascinating history, science, and a frightening mystery that demands to be solved. Matthew Pearl is one of my must-read authors. He never fails to intrigue and thrill!” (Tess Gerritsen, author of The Silent Girl)

“Fascinating, mesmerizing, and richly atmospheric, The Technologists is the best yet from a true master of the historical thriller. I loved this novel.” (Joseph Finder, New York Times bestselling author of Buried Secrets and Vanished)

“Pearl’s signature complex plotting, strewn with red herrings and populated with unlikely villains, leaves readers as shocked and intrigued as the Bostonians.... Pearl’s first three novels - The Dante Club, The Poe Shadow, and The Last Dickens - were all New York Times bestsellers. His latest, another literary-historical thriller, seems certain to join the elite club.” (Booklist)

What Members Say

Average Customer Rating

3.4 (163 )
5 star
 (25)
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 (62)
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 (46)
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 (17)
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3.6 (133 )
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 (9)
Story
3.6 (135 )
5 star
 (38)
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3 star
 (27)
2 star
 (17)
1 star
 (10)
Performance
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  •  
    Daniel Mcafee Texas USA 11-19-14
    Daniel Mcafee Texas USA 11-19-14 Member Since 2014

    danmc

    HELPFUL VOTES
    840
    ratings
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    397
    177
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    FOLLOWING
    256
    2
    Overall
    Performance
    Story
    "Entertaining"

    If you have ever played video games, this one reminds you of a book written from the basis of Dishonored or BioShock. The setup is a 1900's type world where a parallel technology path exists within the story that is more advanced than the actual 1900's technology.

    Overall the story is a bit slow and dry at times, but overall, it's an interesting adventure mystery type novel with good character development. The narrator does a fine job.

    Overall, it's off the beaten path (science fiction to some extent, but not quite science fiction if that makes any sense), but recommended.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Eric Mill Valley, CA, United States 10-05-13
    Eric Mill Valley, CA, United States 10-05-13 Member Since 2014
    HELPFUL VOTES
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    ratings
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    194
    6
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    4
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    "Strident tone of narrator ruins audio experience"
    Would you try another book from Matthew Pearl and/or Stephen Hoye?

    I listened to the whole thing despite the producer's mistake regarding how it should be read. The entire tone of the book was indignant, strident, grating. However, I was more than interested in the story Pearl had to tell. Plus I learned a lot about the prevailing normatives of the story's time and place. I recommend the book but I think you'd be happier if you read it yourself.


    Who was your favorite character and why?

    No favorite character.


    Who would you have cast as narrator instead of Stephen Hoye?

    I think I've listened to about 200 books and I've only been critical of one other reader who was miscast--a producer's error. I have not listened to any other of Hoye's books--though I see I've purchased one. The mistake could have been the producer's--perhaps Hoye was instructed to read it as he did.


    Do you think The Technologists needs a follow-up book? Why or why not?

    No.


    Any additional comments?

    Someone recommended Pearl to me and I'm glad he did. I look forward to listening to another of his books soon. His plot was engaging and, as I said, his perspective on the birth of technology was informative.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Jonathon littleton, ma, United States 02-21-13
    Jonathon littleton, ma, United States 02-21-13 Member Since 2007
    ratings
    REVIEWS
    80
    1
    Overall
    Performance
    Story
    "Relatively Simplistic Story."
    What would have made The Technologists better?

    Storyline was not very believable. I could not get myself to really believe the plot.


    Would you ever listen to anything by Matthew Pearl again?

    I would give him a second chance if other reviews were very positive.


    Did the narration match the pace of the story?

    Yes


    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Earl Portland, OR, United States 08-29-12
    Earl Portland, OR, United States 08-29-12 Member Since 2014
    ratings
    REVIEWS
    11
    1
    Overall
    Performance
    Story
    "Nice concept but over done and boring"
    Would you try another book from Matthew Pearl and/or Stephen Hoye?

    Stephen Hoye's narration was excellent but the material itself was way too lengthy and became boring. I would be cautious before picking up another Matthew Pearl book.


    What do you think your next listen will be?

    I'm still interested in techno thrillers and action based history novels.


    What about Stephen Hoye’s performance did you like?

    Realistically tried to personify the characters without over playing it. I did appreciate the changes in character being reflected in his voice but he did not go overboard.


    Any additional comments?

    Way too long to build up the story. Plot was predictable and juvenile (at times). I gave up about 2/3s the way though. Tired of hearing the back story and minor character development. Motivations of the characters was too simplistic.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Joan Urbana, IL, United States 08-10-12
    Joan Urbana, IL, United States 08-10-12 Member Since 2014
    HELPFUL VOTES
    15
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    "Good yarn, though improbable."

    It's a good story, but the narrator's repeated mispronunciation of one chief character's name (the "z" in Agassiz is silent) was a continual annoyance, like fingernails on a blackboard.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
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