Customer Reviews for

Dream of Scipio

Average Rating 4.5
( 20 )
Rating Distribution

5 Star

(11)

4 Star

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(3)

2 Star

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Most Helpful Favorable Review

2 out of 2 people found this review helpful.

This is a great novel

I had never heard of this author until I saw this book in the New Titles section of my local library. The title grabbed my attention, as I thought it might have been a historical novel. I was partly correct; it is much more than a historical novel. It is a work of li...
I had never heard of this author until I saw this book in the New Titles section of my local library. The title grabbed my attention, as I thought it might have been a historical novel. I was partly correct; it is much more than a historical novel. It is a work of literature, and one of the best new novels that I have read recently. Iain Pears write with such clarity, but at the same time he writes lucidly, and with much charm, that made me keep the book in my hand, figuratively. I did have to go to work, go to school, and eat, and sleep, and things like that. I haven't read his other books, but I just might tackle An Instance of the Fingerpost. It remains to be seen. In Scipio, I love how he interwove the characters and settings into a fictional, yet highly believable tapestry. And the women they loved; I almost loved them myself. Anyway, not to get too crazy here. It was just a good book, and I recommend it to anyone.

posted by Anonymous on August 1, 2003

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Most Helpful Critical Review

1 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

Thoughtful, But Not Compelling

While not within a country mile of "An Instance of the Fingerpost," the book is a thoughtful, if not compelling read. Pears' balancing of three lives of men who live in different eras but who have similar problems and desires is interesting, once you get into it. But hi...
While not within a country mile of "An Instance of the Fingerpost," the book is a thoughtful, if not compelling read. Pears' balancing of three lives of men who live in different eras but who have similar problems and desires is interesting, once you get into it. But his vague references to philosophy can be irritating and even boring at times. Least well-developed is the story about Manlius. The most thought-provoking element of the book, in my view, is the ethical issue of collaboration with the Vichy government. Weighing Marcel's rationalizations about keeping order and maintaining a government in Provence against the life-and-death decisions he -- and Julien -- sometimes have to make in the name of maintaining that order makes one think about how you would act in the same circumstances.

posted by Anonymous on October 31, 2002

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  • Anonymous

    Posted August 1, 2003

    This is a great novel

    I had never heard of this author until I saw this book in the New Titles section of my local library. The title grabbed my attention, as I thought it might have been a historical novel. I was partly correct; it is much more than a historical novel. It is a work of literature, and one of the best new novels that I have read recently. Iain Pears write with such clarity, but at the same time he writes lucidly, and with much charm, that made me keep the book in my hand, figuratively. I did have to go to work, go to school, and eat, and sleep, and things like that. I haven't read his other books, but I just might tackle An Instance of the Fingerpost. It remains to be seen. In Scipio, I love how he interwove the characters and settings into a fictional, yet highly believable tapestry. And the women they loved; I almost loved them myself. Anyway, not to get too crazy here. It was just a good book, and I recommend it to anyone.

    2 out of 2 people found this review helpful.

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
  • Anonymous

    Posted March 12, 2012

    This is the book that introduced me to Iain Pears writings and m

    This is the book that introduced me to Iain Pears writings and made him one of my favorite modern authors. While not as epic as An Instance of the Fingerpost, Scipio is an excellently crafted work of prose, demonstrating Pears' gift for storytelling and historical fiction. Particularly, I love Pears' talent for turning the reader's perception of characters and manipulating one's biases -- used to perfection in Scipio -- such that we come to loathe the characters we most want to love and admire the characters we were determined to hate. The parallels across three times of uncertainty and crisis mirror modern times without being overtly allegorical. His mastery of the historical content allows the story to flow naturally. This book is an excellent first introduction to Pears' writing -- a book to read and reread.

    1 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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  • Posted August 13, 2010

    Challenging, complex and engaging

    Not a simple book, but one that touches on the deepest problems of human civilization: institutional decay, individual ambition, love and faith. It demands careful reading and attention, and rewards the reader with genuine insights into both the mores and moralities of times different than -- and disturbingly similar to -- our own. A deeply moving book.

    1 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted November 9, 2007

    captivating

    spread over 1500 years, Pears tale of decline in civilization is breathtaking in it's scope. Three 'heroes' trying to make sure the flame of reason is not extinguished, and three 'heroines' who help guide their actions. Manlius, a wealthy Roman landowner who sees his world will soon be over-ridden by Barbarian hoardes, Olivier, a poet, a reader and a thinker who see's his world crumbling with the onset of the plague, and Julien who's life is plunged into darkness by the German occupation of WW II. All lived out in the same area of Southern France. Six lives fundamentaly the same on the brink of chaos that threatens to engulf the world with darkness and extinguish what man clings to as civilization. A book to be re read...

    1 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted October 8, 2006

    Lost Generation read this!

    The Dream has become one of my favorite books because of the ethical dilemma it raises. For example, your character is not defined by what one thinks, but rather one's actions. Dr. Pears leaves you guessing what stance he chooses until you read the chapter about the philosopher. In the end, the author offers a solution to Julien's plight. In a world where many things are occurring daily, I appreciated how the author made me think how my own action or inaction affects those around me.

    1 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted October 31, 2002

    Thoughtful, But Not Compelling

    While not within a country mile of "An Instance of the Fingerpost," the book is a thoughtful, if not compelling read. Pears' balancing of three lives of men who live in different eras but who have similar problems and desires is interesting, once you get into it. But his vague references to philosophy can be irritating and even boring at times. Least well-developed is the story about Manlius. The most thought-provoking element of the book, in my view, is the ethical issue of collaboration with the Vichy government. Weighing Marcel's rationalizations about keeping order and maintaining a government in Provence against the life-and-death decisions he -- and Julien -- sometimes have to make in the name of maintaining that order makes one think about how you would act in the same circumstances.

    1 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
  • Anonymous

    Posted August 7, 2002

    Neoplatonic Dream

    Terrific second outing into 'serious' historical fiction for Pears. The Neoplatonic philosopy of the 5th Century fading Roman Empire is carried forward through the 14th Century to WW2. Centred in a small Provencal village, the story revolves around three similar characters from three different time periods with similar apprehensions about impending doom. A great read for anyone who like me loves a good historical yarn with a message for our time.

    1 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted July 27, 2002

    Literate, heady and readable

    Daunting, at first, to consider reading about fourth century scholars and a twentieth century classicist and how their lives parallel. I was seriously afraid it would be an unbelievable bore. In fact, it is a warm-blooded, human story full of intrigue, history, and a love of words. Nothing is forced, and the author makes the parallel time lines work. This is one of the very few books I've read that manages to surprise and make you gasp right up until the final paragraph!

    1 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted June 10, 2014

    Sip

    This is a great novel; the ideas, characters and images in it are extroadenary and often very complex. Sadly, it was a required reading assignment, so I was not able to fully enjoy it. I reccomend this book to any readers and/or philosophers.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted September 20, 2013

    Iain Pears at his best.

    Beautiful narrative and imagery; but this is not light reading for the beach. It flows in and out of the centuries frequently so it can be difficult keeping characters straight. The pay off is worth it. All charcters are flawed, but Mr. Pears also is able to humanize the antagonists so the conflicts are more poignant.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted August 13, 2013

    Faithful emotion

    She breaks into a run. Sweat trickling down her face. In hopes to shun. It feels like a race. This man is no good. Not even if he could. Run. Run away. Head for freedom.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted January 10, 2003

    A difficult but intersting read

    If you have the patience for unbearable amounts of philosophy, and the willingness to struggle through the unclear character jumps, then the story is better than most put onto pages.

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    Posted December 15, 2008

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    Posted January 24, 2010

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    Posted July 9, 2010

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    Posted January 14, 2010

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    Posted January 11, 2009

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    Posted October 30, 2009

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    Posted October 29, 2008

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    Posted August 26, 2011

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