|Government action to calm financial markets. Ties between government and the defense industry. Cover ups and secret deals with foreign governments. These headlines from today are part of Iain Pear’s newest book Stone’s Fall, and his ability to weave these into this multilayered historical novel makes this a great read.|
Stone’s Fall is told through three narrators in reverse chronological order. We learn through the three different voices the parallel path of John Stone and his wife Elizabeth as each rise from modest means through a series of manipulation, subterfuge and a business savvy. Their climb to wealth over by stepping over commoners and heads of states. Ultimately hubris defines their legacies, and each tries to redeem their lives in different ways.
The first part of the story takes place in turn of the century London, and is told by Matthew Braddock, a reporter who is hired by Stone’s widow to locate Stone’s child, of whom Elizabeth learns as Stone’s will is read. The second part is told 20 years prior in Paris by Henry Cort. Cort leaves investment banking to join the Empire’s nascent spy service. He first meets Elizabeth who provides him with some of the intelligence his spy masters seek, which leads then to Cort’s initial meetings with Stone. Cort ultimately becomes woven into Stone’s empire, and a protector of Elizabeth. Though it is Cort who tries to convince Stone that “Morality must apply to everything. Even the making of money."
The third part of the story is told by Stone himself and takes place in 1867 Venice. His story provides a detailed look inside the mind of how one might talk themselves into focusing on money over morality. The final few pages of the 700 page story reveals a surprise that slaps you in the face. A second read is probably warranted, and allows you to really appreciate how well Pears reveals keys to the characters relationships and builds to the ending.
|John Peterson lives in Minnetonka, and is a senior financial executive with a global finance company with offices in Minneapolis. Originally from the New York area, he and his family have made it through their fifth Minnesota winter.|
Sunday, May 3, 2009
Citizen Reviews: Stone's Fall
We continue our occasional series of customer reviews with this write-up of Iain Pear's latest historical thriller.--David E