While Newton and Ellis investigate a counterfeiting ring, they come upon a mysterious coded message on the body of a man killed in the Lion Tower. Despite Newton's formidable intellect, he is unable to decipher the cryptic message or any of the others he and Ellis find as the body count increases within the Tower complex. As they are drawn into a wild pursuit of the counterfeiters that takes them from the madhouse of Bedlam to the squalid confines of Newgate prison and back to the Tower itself, Newton and Ellis discover that the counterfeiting is only a small part of a larger, more dangerous plot, one that threatens much more than the collapse of the economy.
©2002 Philip Kerr; (P)2002 Books On Tape, Inc.
"An illuminating, often crackling exploration into the mysteries of science, mathematics, religion, and human nature." (Booklist, Starred Review)
"The ever-versatile Kerr...weaves a rich tapestry of interesting characters and period details. Highly recommended." (Library Journal)
"A most gripping and well-appointed entertainment." (Publishers Weekly)
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"A cracking Yarn not a biography!"
Previous people reviewing this seemed to have wanted to learn more about Sir Issac Newton. This is a FICTIONAL account of Newton's time at the tower mint, hence not the place to learn the whys and where fors of Newton's life. What you do get is a lively, detailed and enjoyable piece of mystery fiction, with believable well thought out characters and an engaging sense of the period in which it is set (including the coarse language and occasional bawdy sex). I initially feared the author was shoe-horning newton into a sherlock Holmes persona, but this quickly passed and the CHARACTER took on his own shape. If this is not what you want then there are several good biographies in print at the moment, which will save you having to seperate plot device from fact.
I listened to this novel for two reasons: First, I thoroughly enjoyed Kerr's stories about Bernie Gunther, the Sam Spade of Nazi Germany. And second, John Lee has to be my favorite narrator. His performance here is pitch perfect.
The title "Dark Matter" was well chosen. But beware: this is detective noire set in 17th century London. If you're looking to understand the historical Isaac Newton, look elsewhere. Kerr's Newton seems altogether more modern in may ways than is my understanding of the man.
That said, I like a murder myster with a twist. And that's what you get here.
"A great rival to Sherlock Holmes"
Fascinating development of the story line. A book that was hard to turn off. Excellent narrator - one of the most talented I've heard.
"A most enjoyable experience!"
I confess that historical fiction has always appealed to me, and "Dark Matter" brought the character of Sir Issac Newton to life.
My knowledge of the period was scant, so I belive I learned quite a bit from the author's account of the politics of the day. Using the device of the clerk to tell the story made it possible to inject humor and romance into the life of a serious intellectual who had little of either. Without the ill-fated liason between Miss Barton and her "Tom", and the adventures of Mr.Ellis as he went about his master's bidding, the tale might have become incredibly tiresome. This is, of course, not a book for everyone.
This is not a book to read if you want to learn anything in depth about Newton,although there are points of his persona which are accurate enough. That said, it is a great story. Kerr keeps the action going while filling in the characters as he goes. The feel of the late 17th-early 18th centuries is palpable. Kerr's Newton is no Holmes, nor is he intended to be, but the same subtle arrogance is a part of the character. The historical references, people, and situations all add to a well told tale. Any resemblance to persons living or dead is possible, but it's fiction! A good listen.
"Unusal plot device."
I enjoyed this book's premise. Dealing with the true story of Sir Isaac Newton's role as the head of the Royal Mint- Mr. Kerr wove Newton's religious, political and scientific persona into an interesting mystery plot accompanied by a diverting young side kick named Ellis. There are many truths in this novel but it is fiction. I found the sexual scenes mostly amusing and thought they probably fit in with the crude backsteet London of that time. 3 stars are for the ending which went on too long for my taste. It should have been wrapped up at least 2 chapters earlier. Love Philip Kerr. Read Bernie Gunther books. Love, love John Lee - He is good at everything he does (audibly that is).
"Not his best but not bad"
I don't mind the artistic license Kerr takes with Newton (who reads almost exactly like Sherlock Holmes) but the novel comes off a bit unpolished. I just feel there's something lacking. The attempts to use accurate language are sometimes impressive and other times seem forced and ludicrous making for an unwieldy read at times. The endless theological debates wore on and quite got on my nerves after a while. I am generally interested in warring theological perspectives throughout history but Kerr goes on and on with all the pedantry of Sherlock Holmes. I don't care about Newton's supposed Arianism. Maybe it is just that the book seems long after a rather early climax. It isn't a bad read but it could use some editing.
"This review continued on disk 4..."
Would have been 4 stars for excellent narration of a pretty good story, but the CD instructions and repeated lines were distracting...this is the first time I have run into this on Audible.
"a great work of historical fiction"
I enjoyed this well written book as much for its period descriptions and character development as for the interesting story.
"Could not finish"
I could not even finish this one, it would not hold my interest. I found my mind wandering and forgetting where the story line was while driving. I am sorry I wasted a credit on it.
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