©1998 Iain Pears; (P)1998 Audio Renaissance Tapes, a Division of CPU, Inc.
"Deftly plotted, briskly written...Iain Pears has brass and talent to spare." (Newsweek)
This book is not for those with a short attention span. However, it is one of the best books I have ever read. I read it once - I'll read it again. And, I'll be listening to it again as well. It's THAT good.
Read the book, eschew the audio. The abridgment edits out too much of the interesting historical detail, a pleasure of historical fiction, which set the milieu of the times and provides rich context for the characters and plot.
This is one of the few titles that I consistently recommend when asked, "what should I read?" It is an engaging story that gets richer and more surprising as the story unfolds.
I confess that when I downloaded this, I didn't notice that itt was abridged. I had read the book years ago and thought it was incredibly good: a thought-provoking look at a society just beginning to think scientifically, wrapped in a shifting story centered on the mysterious central character.
To my horror, the "abridgment" simply cuts out all the meat of the story with an ax, leaving us with a threadbare little Rashomon story. It's a horrible thing to inflict on a magnificent book.
Having said that... The reader is truly wonderful. Not only does he bring the accents of the characters to life (including Italian-accented British English and Robert Boyle's Scots burr), but he can switch accents in mid-sentence to accommodate both a narrator and a conversation.
My advice is read the book -- it's terrific. Look for other readings by Paul Michael. And with any luck someday an unabridged "Instance of the Fingerpost" will join the unabridged "Stone's Fall" (another shockingly good book by Iain Pears, this one about the rise of international capitalism... Wrapped in a very readable mystery) on Audible's virtual shelves.
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