From the author of THE INSTANCE OF THE FINGERPOST
THE DREAM OF SCIPIO, lain Pears' first mainstream novel since AN INSTANCE OF THE FINGERPOST, is a work of astonishing ambition that appeals equally to the head and heart. It is set in Provence at three different critical moments of Western Civilisation - the collapse of the Roman Empire in the fifth century, the Black Death in the fourteenth, and the Second World War in the twentieth - and follows the fortunes of three men, Manlius Hippomenes, a Gallic aristocrat obsessed with the preservation of Roman civilisation, Guilaume Noyen, a poet, and Julien Barneuve, an intellectual who joins the Vichy government.
The story of each man is woven through the narrative, linked by the classical text that gives the book its title, and by each man's love for an extraordinary woman. Dense, dark, erudite and yet, like The Instance of the Fingerpost, utterly compelling, THE DREAM OF SCIPIO confirms lain Pears as one of Britain's most imaginative novelists.
“Irresistibly seizes the imagination”
“Combining the visceral pleasures of a thriller with the more intellectual excitements of a novel of ideas... Beautifully constructed...never less than engrossing”
“Vivid, admirably imagined, ultimately very moving...This is a novel of the very highest ambition...immediate, sensuous, beautiful”
Alan Massie, Scotsman
“Combines dazzling erudition with assured narrative skills to offer glimpses of some of history's darkest corners, and stark and timely challenges to the very notions of civilisation and progress”
Independent on Sunday
“A dazzling hall of mirrors... Ferociously ambitious... Illumined by a fizzing passion for the recondite”