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The Technologists: A Novel Hardcover – Deckle Edge, February 21, 2012


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Product Details

  • Hardcover: 496 pages
  • Publisher: Random House; First Edition/First Printing edition (February 21, 2012)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 1400066573
  • ISBN-13: 978-1400066575
  • Product Dimensions: 9.3 x 6.5 x 1.6 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 1.6 pounds
  • Average Customer Review: 3.9 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (116 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #649,025 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Editorial Reviews

Review

Praise for The Technologists
 
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
 
Pearl again blends detective fiction with historical characters (such as pioneering feminist and MIT-trained scientist Ellen Swallow), and his cast reads like a who’s who of nineteenth-century Boston. . . . Great fun.”—Publishers Weekly

About the Author

Matthew Pearl is the New York Times bestselling author of The Dante Club, The Poe Shadow, and The Last Dickens, and the editor of the Modern Library editions of Dante’s Inferno (translated by Henry Wadsworth Longfellow) and Edgar Allan Poe’s The Murders in the Rue Morgue: The Dupin Tales. Pearl is a graduate of Harvard University and Yale Law School and has taught literature at Harvard and at Emerson College. He lives in Cambridge, Massachusetts.

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Customer Reviews

At 480 pages, the book feels too long.
Sharilyn
That is the best way to describe The Technologists, a 500 page novel by Matthew Pearl.
Upstate New York Reader
For those that enjoy historical fiction, you're sure to like this book!
Erica

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

66 of 74 people found the following review helpful By Esther Schindler TOP 500 REVIEWERVINE VOICE on October 23, 2011
Format: Hardcover Vine Customer Review of Free Product ( What's this? )
Ordinarily, I am reluctant to read Literature-with-a-capital-L. Books that are (or are apt to be) reviewed by the New York Times tend to have self-conscious (if beautiful) prose, tortured characters, and unhappy endings. So years ago, when Matthew Pearl's The Dante Club was all the rage, I studiously ignored it, until a friend said, "You're coming to town? That night is my book club. Read this before you arrive." ...And I was hooked. Pearl writes beautifully _without_ torturing everybody in sight; he makes you savor each page.

So when I saw his new book among my Amazon Vine options, I reached for the SEND ME THIS BOOK button without hesitation.

This novel is set in Boston in 1868 -- the same era as The Dante Club, but down the street a few miles. Our heroes (including our primarily protagonist) are in the final few months at the newly founded Massachusetts Institute of Technology, whose fifteen-member inaugural class is about to graduate. Meanwhile someone is doing dastardly deeds, beginning with a disaster in the Boston Harbor that cannot be explained (such as compasses that go haywire). And there is ABSOLUTELY NO WAY anyone would ask the students from that weird Tech school to get involved, when there is the respectable Harvard University down the street whose assistance might be asked instead.

The MIT history is real. The science-based attacks in Boston, not so much. Which is just fine with me, because Pearl's story kept my mind whirring to separate the stuff I know (I've spent a lot of time in Boston) from the fiction. And because I learned so very much about what it meant to be a "technologist" in that era.

Today, we take the march of technology for granted.
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38 of 41 people found the following review helpful By William D. Curnutt TOP 1000 REVIEWERVINE VOICE on October 12, 2011
Format: Hardcover Vine Customer Review of Free Product ( What's this? )
The book starts out with a good bit of action in regards to the Boston Harbor and a strange occurrence in a heavy fog that causes many boats to either collide or run into their piers. There is major damage, several boats sink but fortunately not a lot of loss of life. But what caused the magnetic flux that made all of their compasses go haywire?

Then in the downtown section during the day a strange occurrence as the glass in the windows of all the businesses on that street start to melt! That's right the glass windows become liquid. But then as they drain out of their frames they reconstitute into glass and shatter as they hit the ground, or in the case of one unfortunate person they are encased in liquid glass that then becomes a solid cone of death.

What is happening? The police are stumped? Can the Technologist from MIT step in and provide clues or answers as to what is happening? Yes they could, but unfortunately the police and the other universities in the city do not think that they are a valid institution of higher learning and they don't want to enlist their help. As a matter of fact their students are looked down on as being from the lower classes and not as well educated.

Thus the basic battle of higher intellectual pursuits verses 'science.' Not only that but the other institutes were founded on Biblical principles and this new institute has a bunch of people who believe in Darwinism. So they are even more suspect.

The first third of the book flows well and kept my attention. But then I felt that the writing slowed down, the story slowed down and the author takes too much time building a backstory for one of the characters. Or at least the building of this backstory was boring.
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11 of 12 people found the following review helpful By Joseph Devita VINE VOICE on October 4, 2011
Format: Hardcover Vine Customer Review of Free Product ( What's this? )
This is a typical Matthew Pearl novel- historical fiction revolving around a strange mystery that involves both real and fictional characters. In this case we are in 1868 Boston where the first graduating class of MIT needs to find out who is harnessing technology to destroy the city. It evokes a time when Darwin was new and very controversial and applied science was looked upon as almost magic, with the potential to upend society and corrupt public morality. And yet it was also the time, right after the Civil War, when the US was about to become a major industrial power because of those same forces, and this tension forms the backdrop for this whole narrative.

As others have noted, the first 150 pages can be slow reading, as the author introduces a wide range of characters and their back stories to substantiate the world he is creating and also to widen the pool of suspects. I thought some of it was unnecessary, but that is the writer's call. I did find myself liking the characters more as I continued, so a purpose was served.

Once the half way mark is passed, the action really increases, as do the twists in revealing the culprit's identity, though I honestly figured it out fairly early- if you read enough mysteries I guess you get good at these sort of things.

Pearl does an excellent job of depicting the times, and being a big fan of Boston I really enjoyed this historical incarnation. Additionally, MIT really is a major, if not THE major, character, and a long time ago I was accepted as a graduate student there, so needless to say I was fascinated in reading about its early years. It will be shocking to some to see how a mere 150 years ago much of what we take for granted was considered almost heretical.
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