In his most dazzling and brilliant novel since An Instance of the Fingerpost, Iain Pears tells the story of John Stone, financier and armaments manufacturer, a man so wealthy that in the years before World War One he was able to manipulate markets, industries and indeed whole countries and continents.
A panoramic novel with a riveting mystery at its heart, Stone's Fall is a quest to discover how and why John Stone dies, falling out of a window at his London home.
Chronologically, it goes backwards - London in 1909, then Paris in 1890, and finally Venice in 1867 - and Stone's character and motivation deepen as the book progresses; in the first part he is almost an abstraction, existing only in the memory of those who knew him; in the second he is a character, but only a secondary one; in the third he is the narrator of the story. A quest, then, but also a love story and a murder mystery, set against the backdrop of the evolution of high-stakes international finance, Europe's first great age of espionage and the start of the twentieth century's arms race.
Like Fingerpost, Stone's Fall is an intricate and richly satisfying puzzle, completely engaging on many levels, a triumphant return for one of the world's great storytellers.