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Publisher's Summary

Set in Oxford in the 1660s – a time and place of great intellectual, scientific, religious and political ferment – this remarkable novel centres around a young woman, Sarah Blundy, who stands accused of the murder of Robert Grove, a fellow of New College. Four witnesses describe the events surrounding his death: Marco da Cola, a Venetian Catholic intent on claiming credit for the invention of blood transfusion; Jack Prescott, the son of a supposed traitor to the Royalist cause, determined to vindicate his father; John Wallis, chief cryptographer to both Cromwell and Charles 1l a mathematician, theologican and inveterate plotter; and Anthony Wood, the famous Oxford antiquary. Each one tells their version of what happened but only one reveals the extraordinary truth.
©1997 Iain Pears (P)2011 Isis Publishing Ltd
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Customer Reviews

Most Helpful
5 out of 5 stars
By Tee on 08-17-17

Slow Buildup, but worthwhile

The four threads of the story are intertwined and build towards the climatic end. Some parts proceed slowly, and patience may be required. I am stumbled by the names of various who's who during that period, and especially lost momentum during the second narrative. But the buildup for me really started in the third narrative, culminating in the final "a-ha!" In the fourth narrative.

This is well worth the read. The readers are all of top quality.

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5 out of 5 stars
By Roger Perrault on 11-20-16

A gripping tale!

Though long, the story was told through different voices which is a novel approach. The author holds your attention until the very end and provides a totally expected conclusion. Highly recommended and I will want to listen to more from this author.

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Customer Reviews

Most Helpful
5 out of 5 stars
By A. Smithson on 06-13-16

Exceptional storytelling

My mother recommended this book to me for years, and now I see why. The 1660s Oxford setting and smattering of familiar names create a convincing world where the four narrators tell their tales. Layer upon layer of detail, mystery and intrigue build as each account of events helps you put together the 'truth'. Using four readers in the audio recording completes the experience. Well worth my time!

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3 of 3 people found this review helpful

4 out of 5 stars
By Jane on 03-26-13

Strange but quite compelling

This was not what I was expecting at all - although I was mildly disappointed at first, it grew on me! My history is far from good so I do not know if the historical facts were indeed accurate, but as the story progressed there were several twists and turns that I did not see coming - and that does not happen very often!



A good storyline that became more appealing as it progressed - worth reading especially if you want something a little different from the normal murder mystery.

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3 of 3 people found this review helpful

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Customer Reviews

Most Helpful
4 out of 5 stars
By Toby Lewis on 04-08-16

Interesting historical references

The book is structured as four contemporaneous accounts. With each account you discover a little more of the full story. Brilliantly crafted and full of interesting historical references, solid performances transport the listener. Well-worth persevering despite the length.

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