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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

Critic Reviews

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 Ratings

Overall

  • 3.4 out of 5.0
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Performance

  • 3.6 out of 5.0
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Story

  • 3.6 out of 5.0
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  • Overall
  • Performance
  • Story

Good story ruined by poor reading

What didn’t you like about Stephen Hoye’s performance?

Stephen Hoye's voice is not well modulated. His inflections and acting are actually inappropriate. Everything seems dire when it is just normal conversation

5 of 5 people found this review helpful

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  • Roger
  • Brooklyn, NY, United States
  • 04-20-12

Boston under siege by madman!

Would you recommend this book to a friend? Why or why not?

Sure. This is a great example of historical fiction that immerses into a time period and location so completely it's like being transported. I'm a huge fan of Matthew Pearl after his breathtaking THE DANTE CLUB. But here THE TECHNOLOGISTS throws the reader into a perfectly rendered Boston circa 1866, just after the Civil War. Some madman manipulates science to attack the city of Boston in elaborate spectacles of masterfully planned chaos and death. <br/>

What other book might you compare The Technologists to and why?

Well, The Dante's Club, of course because here too Pearl takes an era and owns it!

What three words best describe Stephen Hoye’s performance?

Proper, competent, ivy-league

Was The Technologists worth the listening time?

Yes, absolutely.

4 of 4 people found this review helpful

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  • Kathy
  • Bedford, MA, United States
  • 04-04-12

Literate steampunk

Set just after the Civil War, with many shadows from that still looming, we are with the first graduating class of MIT, working against rival Harvard to solve the mystery of terrorist technological attacks on Boston. The attacks, and the "Technologists" attempts to engineer solutions, give this the steampunk feel. Pearl is a good writer, so this does not read like pulp.

As with many of these historically-based novels, it's fun to research who and what is based in reality, and what is pure fiction. Pearl's epilogue tells some of that story.

Reader was quite good.

Recommended.

4 of 4 people found this review helpful

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  • William
  • West Sacramento, CA, United States
  • 02-27-12

Good story

I enjoyed the story and the history it portrays. The narration uses a fairly passive voice throughout, for all characters, which detracts from the story.

3 of 3 people found this review helpful

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  • Ted
  • Lancaster, PA, United States
  • 12-22-14

Mediocre - Can't Recommend It

This is a strange story, told in the archaic lingo of the 1860s. Strange? Uh-huh. It's a historic invention, truly historic fiction, about science and particularly the founding of MIT. Pearl's a Harvard grad, yet there's a lot of Harvard hating here. Hmmmm...

The author has a powerful ability to create serial tensions. But they begin to feel like the kind that were once built into Saturday matinee cowboy serials where each week ended with some new peril facing the heroes. Do they still do that? Or has the compulsion for immediate gratification made them go away. Oh yeah... "24" the TV series did that.

Here though they become contrived and I began to mutter about another plot distraction. Instead of speeding things, they slowed them. Pearl does a credible job of allowing cultures to smash into one another particularly at that transformational moment in history as old orders were about to die...

In spite of that potential, the whole thing just feels, well, old-fashioned as Lawrence Welk on PBS. And Stephen Hoye is almost monotonic. Nope, can't recommend this thing, even though I'll probably remember it, not unpleasantly.

8 of 10 people found this review helpful

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  • Story

Good story

I enjoyed the story and the history it portrays. The narration uses a fairly passive voice throughout, for all characters, which detracts from the story.

2 of 2 people found this review helpful

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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.

1 of 1 people found this review helpful

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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.

1 of 1 people found this review helpful

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  • Scott
  • Philadelphia, PA, United States
  • 06-28-12

Interesting Concept, but...

Would you be willing to try another book from Matthew Pearl? Why or why not?

Yes, but I would temper my enthusiasm.

Any additional comments?

Very good concept but it gets out of hand and a little too far fetched. I enjoyed the surprising twists and turns and some of the learning regarding the early years of MIT as well. The story dragged on at the end and while some of the main characters were well developed others left you wanting for more. <br/><br/>Not a flop, but certainly not a book that I would eagerly recommend to friends.

1 of 1 people found this review helpful

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I really wanted to like this book but......

Would you listen to The Technologists again? Why?

No I would not read again. But I did recommed it to friends who attend or work at MIT.

What was one of the most memorable moments of The Technologists?

I like the story of the first woman student at MIT. The fact that she could not attend classes and was confind to a basement lab was facinating.

Have you listened to any of Stephen Hoye???s other performances before? How does this one compare?

Yes, he is very good

Was this a book you wanted to listen to all in one sitting?

way too long for that!

Any additional comments?

I wanted to like this book more than I did. I live in Boston and have many friends that have attended MIT. I felt that this book was written to become a movie. It was a bit too fantasitc and contrived. I did like the historic bits about Boston and Cambridge and respect the research that Matthew Pearl puts into his books. I liked the Poe Shadow bettet than this one. Not a bad read but just a bit too much drama for me.

1 of 1 people found this review helpful