Your audiobook is waiting…

Dark Matter

A Novel
Narrated by: John Lee
Length: 10 hrs and 29 mins
4 out of 5 stars (212 ratings)

$14.95/month after 30 days. Cancel anytime.

Publisher's Summary

In 1696, Christopher Ellis, a young, hot-tempered gentleman, is sent to the Tower of London, but not as a prisoner. A sudden twist of fate has led him there to assist the renowned scientist Sir Isaac Newton, who as warden of the Royal Mint has accepted an appointment to hunt down counterfeiters who threaten to topple the shaky, war-weakened economy. Armed with Newton’s superior intellect and Ellis’ skill with a sword, the new partners seem primed to solve the case. 

But when their investigation leads them to a mysterious coded message on a corpse hidden in the Lion Tower, they realize that something more sinister is afoot. In the heat of their pursuit, Newton and Ellis’s suspicions become all too real as the body count rises and the duo uncovers a menacing, far-reaching plot that might lead to the collapse of the government - and cost them their very lives. 

An extraordinary, suspense-filled, and richly satisfying tale, Dark Matter is an engrossing mystery infused with the volatile mix of politics, science, and religion that characterized life in 17th-century London.

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

Critic Reviews

"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 Ratings

Overall

  • 4 out of 5 stars
  • 5 Stars
    66
  • 4 Stars
    76
  • 3 Stars
    44
  • 2 Stars
    17
  • 1 Stars
    9

Performance

  • 4.5 out of 5 stars
  • 5 Stars
    68
  • 4 Stars
    37
  • 3 Stars
    5
  • 2 Stars
    3
  • 1 Stars
    2

Story

  • 4 out of 5 stars
  • 5 Stars
    46
  • 4 Stars
    47
  • 3 Stars
    13
  • 2 Stars
    7
  • 1 Stars
    5
Sort by:
  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Jim
  • OxfordUnited Kingdom
  • 07-21-04

A cracking Yarn not a biography!

Previous people reviewing this seemed to have wanted to learn more about Sir Issac Newton. This is a FICTIONAL account of Newton's time at the tower mint, hence not the place to learn the whys and where fors of Newton's life. What you do get is a lively, detailed and enjoyable piece of mystery fiction, with believable well thought out characters and an engaging sense of the period in which it is set (including the coarse language and occasional bawdy sex). I initially feared the author was shoe-horning newton into a sherlock Holmes persona, but this quickly passed and the CHARACTER took on his own shape. If this is not what you want then there are several good biographies in print at the moment, which will save you having to seperate plot device from fact.

27 of 28 people found this review helpful

  • Overall
    4 out of 5 stars

Newton Noire

I listened to this novel for two reasons: First, I thoroughly enjoyed Kerr's stories about Bernie Gunther, the Sam Spade of Nazi Germany. And second, John Lee has to be my favorite narrator. His performance here is pitch perfect.

The title "Dark Matter" was well chosen. But beware: this is detective noire set in 17th century London. If you're looking to understand the historical Isaac Newton, look elsewhere. Kerr's Newton seems altogether more modern in may ways than is my understanding of the man.

That said, I like a murder myster with a twist. And that's what you get here.

10 of 10 people found this review helpful

  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars

A great rival to Sherlock Holmes

Fascinating development of the story line. A book that was hard to turn off. Excellent narrator - one of the most talented I've heard.

8 of 8 people found this review helpful

  • Overall
    3 out of 5 stars
  • Abigail
  • arlington, VA, United States
  • 03-06-11

Not his best but not bad

I don't mind the artistic license Kerr takes with Newton (who reads almost exactly like Sherlock Holmes) but the novel comes off a bit unpolished. I just feel there's something lacking. The attempts to use accurate language are sometimes impressive and other times seem forced and ludicrous making for an unwieldy read at times. The endless theological debates wore on and quite got on my nerves after a while. I am generally interested in warring theological perspectives throughout history but Kerr goes on and on with all the pedantry of Sherlock Holmes. I don't care about Newton's supposed Arianism. Maybe it is just that the book seems long after a rather early climax. It isn't a bad read but it could use some editing.

2 of 2 people found this review helpful

  • Overall
    4 out of 5 stars
  • Craig
  • Williamsport, MD, United States
  • 07-01-10

It's fiction!

This is not a book to read if you want to learn anything in depth about Newton,although there are points of his persona which are accurate enough. That said, it is a great story. Kerr keeps the action going while filling in the characters as he goes. The feel of the late 17th-early 18th centuries is palpable. Kerr's Newton is no Holmes, nor is he intended to be, but the same subtle arrogance is a part of the character. The historical references, people, and situations all add to a well told tale. Any resemblance to persons living or dead is possible, but it's fiction! A good listen.

2 of 2 people found this review helpful

  • Overall
    3 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    4 out of 5 stars

Unusal plot device.

I enjoyed this book's premise. Dealing with the true story of Sir Isaac Newton's role as the head of the Royal Mint- Mr. Kerr wove Newton's religious, political and scientific persona into an interesting mystery plot accompanied by a diverting young side kick named Ellis. There are many truths in this novel but it is fiction. I found the sexual scenes mostly amusing and thought they probably fit in with the crude backsteet London of that time. 3 stars are for the ending which went on too long for my taste. It should have been wrapped up at least 2 chapters earlier. Love Philip Kerr. Read Bernie Gunther books. Love, love John Lee - He is good at everything he does (audibly that is).

1 of 1 people found this review helpful

  • Overall
    3 out of 5 stars

This review continued on disk 4...

Would have been 4 stars for excellent narration of a pretty good story, but the CD instructions and repeated lines were distracting...this is the first time I have run into this on Audible.

1 of 1 people found this review helpful

  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars

a great work of historical fiction

I enjoyed this well written book as much for its period descriptions and character development as for the interesting story.

1 of 1 people found this review helpful

  • Overall
    4 out of 5 stars

A most enjoyable experience!

I confess that historical fiction has always appealed to me, and "Dark Matter" brought the character of Sir Issac Newton to life.
My knowledge of the period was scant, so I belive I learned quite a bit from the author's account of the politics of the day. Using the device of the clerk to tell the story made it possible to inject humor and romance into the life of a serious intellectual who had little of either. Without the ill-fated liason between Miss Barton and her "Tom", and the adventures of Mr.Ellis as he went about his master's bidding, the tale might have become incredibly tiresome. This is, of course, not a book for everyone.

1 of 1 people found this review helpful

  • Overall
    4 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    4 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    4 out of 5 stars

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.

4 of 6 people found this review helpful

Sort by:
  • Overall
    1 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    3 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    1 out of 5 stars
  • Mr. P. G. Carroll
  • 01-02-10

Verisimilitude

You have to be able to believe that the historical subject matter could be represented by this tawdry and completely unbelievable dross to get any insight or enjoyment and I can not. I stopped reading this nonsense when the completely unsupportable nonsense about the sex life of his niece hove into view. Don’t bother.