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Stone's Fall: A Novel Hardcover – Deckle Edge, May 5, 2009


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This Book Is Bound with "Deckle Edge" Paper
You may have noticed that some of our books are identified as "deckle edge" in the title. Deckle edge books are bound with pages that are made to resemble handmade paper by applying a frayed texture to the edges. Deckle edge is an ornamental feature designed to set certain titles apart from books with machine-cut pages. See a larger image.

Product Details

  • Hardcover: 608 pages
  • Publisher: Spiegel & Grau; First Edition edition (May 5, 2009)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0385522843
  • ISBN-13: 978-0385522847
  • Product Dimensions: 9.5 x 6.3 x 1.5 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 2.2 pounds
  • Average Customer Review: 4.3 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (128 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #918,409 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Editorial Reviews

From Publishers Weekly

Starred Review. British author Pears matches the brilliance of his bestselling An Instance of the Fingerpost (1998) with this intricate historical novel, which centers on the death of a wealthy financier. In part one, after John Stone falls to his death from a window in his London mansion in 1909, Stone's seductive, much younger widow, Elizabeth, hires Matthew Braddock, who works as a journalist, to trace a child of her late husband's she never knew existed until the child is named in his will. Braddock, a novice in the world of finance, uncovers evidence that Stone's actual net worth was far less than commonly believed, even as he finds himself falling for his client. In part two, set in 1890 Paris, Henry Cort, a shadowy spy, provides another perspective on the bewitching Elizabeth. Stone's own reminiscences from his time in Venice in 1867 cast further light on the circumstances of his demise. The pages will fly by for most readers, who will lose themselves in the clear prose and compelling plot. 10-city author tour. (May)
Copyright © Reed Business Information, a division of Reed Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved.

From School Library Journal

Starred Review. An aging ex-reporter attends the funeral of an elderly widow. A solicitor approaches him and hands him a packet of papers that were to be delivered to him only after the woman's death. Reading them, he is transported back to events he has never forgotten. In 1909, industrialist-arms seller John Stone fell to his death from the window of his study. In his will, he left a bequest to an unknown daughter. His widow asked the young reporter to find the daughter, setting him on a search that transforms his life. Back through time the story goes—London 1909, Paris 1890, Venice 1867—with startling revelations at every step. This eminently readable tale is like one of those Russian dolls in which a tiny doll nests inside a bigger one and the bigger one inside another one bigger yet. The further you read, the more complicated it is until everything falls together in the final pages. This latest from Pears (Dream of Scipio) is in the best sense of the word an old-fashioned novel, populated with vital characters and bursting at the seams with narrative vigor. Highly recommended for all general collections. [See Prepub Alert, LJ 1/09.]—David Keymer, Modesto, CA
Copyright © Reed Business Information, a division of Reed Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved.

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Customer Reviews

Great story with intriguing characters.
Mark Coslow
Iain Pears' novel Stone's Fall is incredibly complex.
Amazon Customer
Do not be afraid of this book's 800+ pages!
mojosmom

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

134 of 137 people found the following review helpful By BCCJillster on May 9, 2009
Format: Hardcover
Stone's Fall by Iain Pears No spoilers, I promise. This one is way too enjoyable to spoil.

What a ride this book was. Thoroughly engaging; just when I was sure I knew where we were going, it changed direction, which I love.

The story is written in three parts, each in a different time and setting and from a different viewpoint. I don't like to know too much about the plot before I read a book and if you are of a similar viewpoint, I'd suggest you don't read too many details in reviews. Part of the fun of Stone's Fall is how things unroll and run away, dragging you along peeking through the curtains. The settings are 1909 London, 1890 Paris, and 1867 Venice, with characters so interconnected that you won't know who or how until the very last page. Delicious.

The second part stunned me for its prescience about our current financial crises, and though it is set in 1890 or so, it helped me understand how interconnected and easily manipulated global financial markets can be. Sound dry? Not at all! It's a well-paced, well-plotted, and peopled with fascinating characters, as is the rest of the book.

I read Instance of the Fingerpost and liked it a lot, but this one may be even better. Pears has a way of making the reader feel included somehow, without any fancy dancing or gimmicks. Even though the story winds through a full 800 pages, almost none of them are wasted, and that is a true feat. Just when I thought the book might get bogged down in part 3, Pears introduced Venice c. 1867 and treated it as a character with facets I hadn't read about before; disturbing and haunting.

Stone's Fall has a bit for everyone: mystery, lovers, history, financial markets, the stories behind the news of the day, emotions, madness, and the desperate acts of people under all kinds of pressure. You'll really want to read this one and be glad you did I think. One of the best of the year for me, and I'm not a pushover.
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49 of 49 people found the following review helpful By Amazon Customer VINE VOICE on May 12, 2009
Format: Hardcover
Iain Pears' novel Stone's Fall is incredibly complex. It is told from the perspective of three narrators, during three time periods, and in three separate settings. It also travels backwards through time. Pears' pieced together a historical mystery that simply broaches espionage, international finance, and military arms production. And this novel also has the heft of a decent sized phone book. Such an ambitious undertaking in the hands of a lesser author could have easily been confusing or tedious, but Stone's Fall is a masterwork of literary achievement.

The mysteries of the story are artfully unfolded in an intricate plotline. The story opens in London in 1953 where a retired reporter, Matthew Braddock recalls London in 1909 during the time he was hired to investigate the whereabouts of an heir to John Stone, a major player in international finance and military arms production. The more he probes into the life of John Stone the more questions he has. The next segment of the book opens in Paris 1890, and told by the up and coming British spy Henry Cort. Through Henry we get more insight into the life of John Stone, as we learn of the rise of his wife and the power he commanded in global finance. Finally we are treated to the perspective of Mr. Stone in Venice 1867, as we discover the origins of his business and finally all the loose ends are tied together to the delight of the reader.

The characters are slowly rendered, layer by layer, choice by choice. They come and go in each time period revealing more about themselves and the relationships they share with each other. Pears' constantly reinvents his subjects, so that their motivations only become clear after all sides of the story are told.
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75 of 82 people found the following review helpful By E. Bukowsky HALL OF FAMETOP 100 REVIEWERVINE VOICE on May 17, 2009
Format: Hardcover
Iain Pears's "Stone's Fall" opens in France in 1953 with the burial of Madame Robillard, who passed away in her eighties. The first part of the book is narrated by Matthew Braddock who had met Robillard (then known as Elizabeth, Lady Ravenscliff) when she was in her forties. The year was 1909, and twenty-five year old Matthew was a crime reporter for a London newspaper. Elizabeth summons Matthew a fortnight after the death of her husband, John Stone, Lord Ravenscliff, who died after he fell or was pushed out of an open window in his study. She offers Matthew a great deal of money to look into her husband's professional and personal affairs. There are a number of questions that she wants answered: Was Stone's death accidental or a result of foul play? Why did he leave a huge bequest to a child, whom, he states in his will, "I have never previously acknowledged?" Why did Stone grant a legacy to Mrs. Esther Vincotti of Italy? After examining her husband's papers carefully, Elizabeth finds nothing to shed light on these matters. She tells Matthew that, even after twenty years of marriage, she and her husband were very much in love and that he had not been in the habit of keeping secrets from her. That is why she is willing to pay Matthew handsomely to dig deeper and give her the information that she craves for her peace of mind.

Thus begins a lengthy narrative that moves backwards in time. Pears takes us to London in 1909, Paris in 1890, and finally, to Venice in 1867. Part Two is narrated by Henry Cort, a shadowy figure who crossed paths with John Stone and Elizabeth and knows a great many of their secrets. Part Three is narrated by Stone himself. The first part is not that compelling and some will be tempted to put the book down after the first hundred pages.
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