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Lust, betrayal, secrets, murder... Brilliantly written, utterly convincing, gripping from the first page to the last, An Instance of the Fingerpost is a magnificent tour de force.

Set in Oxford in the 1660s - a time and place of great intellectual, religious, scientific 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 II, a mathematician, theologican and master spy; and Anthony Wood, the famous Oxford antiqary.

Each one tells their version of what happened but only one reveals the extraordinary truth. Brilliantly written, utterly convincing, gripping from the first page to the last, An Instance of the Fingerpost is a magnificent tour de force.

Reviews

A slippery thriller of audacious ingenuity

Independent on Sunday

The kind of book that has you reading it by torchlight under the bedclothes. An historical detective story set to rival "The Name of the Rose" it combines the rare pleasure of combining an intricate plot with insight into the political intrigues of Restoration England

The Times

Plenty of politics, high and low and the portrayal of college life and vicious, teeming with sycophants and thick with double dealing

Guardian

Brilliantly researched and imagined...a remarkable achievement

Sunday Telegraph

Crammed with period detail, it's as much a novel of ideas as it is of character

Val McDermid, The Week

Anyone who reads this will want to tell their friends about it... This is a novel that combines the simple pleasures of Agatha Christie with the intellectual subtlety of Umberto Eco, don't let it pass by unread

Sunday Times

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Formats & editions

  • EBook

    9781446466230

    June 1, 2011

    Vintage Digital

    704 pages

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  • An Instance Of The Fingerpost
    Iain Pears

    Paperback

    9780099751816

    October 2, 1998

    Vintage

    704 pages

    RRP $22.99

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