Boston, 1868. The Civil War may be over but a new war has begun, one between past and present, tradition and technology. The daring Massachusetts Institute of Technology is on a mission to harness science for the benefit of all. But when an unnatural disaster strikes the ships in Boston Harbor, and an equally inexplicable catastrophe devastates the heart of the city, an anti-science backlash casts a pall over MIT and threatens its very survival. So the best and brightest from the Institute’s first graduating ...
Boston, 1868. The Civil War may be over but a new war has begun, one between past and present, tradition and technology. The daring Massachusetts Institute of Technology is on a mission to harness science for the benefit of all. But when an unnatural disaster strikes the ships in Boston Harbor, and an equally inexplicable catastrophe devastates the heart of the city, an anti-science backlash casts a pall over MIT and threatens its very survival. So the best and brightest from the Institute’s first graduating class secretly join forces to save innocent lives and track down the truth. Armed with ingenuity and their unique scientific training, gifted war veteran Marcus Mansfield, blueblood Robert Richards, genius Edwin Hoyt, and brilliant freshman Ellen Swallow will match wits with a master criminal bent on the utter destruction of the city. “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
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Meet the Author
In the work of Matthew Pearl, fact and fiction seamlessly blend, and from this provocative brew, strange mysteries emerge. The literary giants of history -- Longfellow, Dante, Poe -- become the subjects and solvers of puzzling thrillers. Pearl’s masterful novels The Dante Club and The Poe Shadow bridge the gap between literature and popular fiction, winning him international praise from critics and readers, no matter how high their brows may be.
Matthew Pearl's novels achieve the seemingly unachievable. They manage to be both informative and entertaining, utilizing historically accurate details about some very famous literary figures to fashion fictional thrillers that rival the works of Pearl's idols. While Pearl's work is indeed ambitious, he has the credentials to tackle such challenging projects that place immortals like Dante Alighieri, Henry Wadsworth Longfellow, and Edgar Alan Poe in the middle of mysteries of his own creation. In 1997, Pearl graduated from Harvard University summa cum laude in English and American literature. He went on to teach literature and creative writing at both Harvard and Emerson College. Pearl's impressive background in literature and research provided him with the necessary tools for making history come alive in a most unique way. He is also bolstered by a genuine fascination with the theme of literary stardom. "I am very interested by literary celebrity, and both Dante and Poe experienced it in some degree," Pearl explained to litkicks.com. "Or, in Poe's case, he aimed for literary celebrity and never quite achieved it…Longfellow was more genuinely a celebrity. People would stop him in the streets, particularly in his later years. Imagine that today, a poet stopped in the streets! It was also common for writers like Longfellow to have their autographs cut out of letters and sold, or even their signatures forged and sold."
Pearl published his debut novel in 2003. The Dante Club is a small group of Harvard professors and poets (including Longfellow and Oliver Wendell Holmes) who must track down a killer before he derails their efforts to complete the first American translation of The Divine Comedy. The novel became an international sensation. Pearl's attention to historical facts, his imagination, his vivid descriptions and fine characterizations awed critics and delighted readers. Esquire magazine chose The Dante Club as its "Big Important Book of the Month." Since its 2003 publication, it has become an international bestseller, translated into 30 languages.
Pearl followed The Dante Club with another cagey combination of historical fact and mysterious fiction. The Poe Shadow takes place during the aftermath of the death of Edgar Alan Poe. In a labyrinthine plot that would surely have made the master of the macabre proud, an attorney named Quentin Hobson Clark seeks to uncover the exact details that lead up to the peculiar death of his favorite writer. The Poe Shadow was another major feat from Matthew Pearl. If anything, it is even richer and more intriguing than its predecessor. Poe's status as a great purveyor of mystery and the mystery which Pearl conjures within his plot makes for a most provocative mixture. Critics from all corners of the globe agreed. From Entertainment Weekly to The Spectator to The Independent, The Globe and Mail, Booklist, Bookpage, and countless others, The Poe Shadow was hailed as another major achievement for Matthew Pearl. The novel has also become yet another international bestseller.
So, is Matthew Pearl heading for the kind of literary celebrity that so fascinates him? Well, Details magazine named the writer as one of its "Next Big Things," and Dan "The Da Vinci Code" Brown called him "the new shining star of literary fiction." Who knows? Maybe one day an aspiring young writer may see fit to place Matthew Pearl in the center of some fictional puzzler.
Good To Know
Pearl was placed on the 2003 edition of Boston Magazine's annual "Hot List."
His fascination with Edgar Alan Poe does not end with Poe's presence in The Poe Shadow. Pearl also edited a 2006 collection of Poe's C. Auguste Dupin mysteries titled Murders in the Rue Morgue: The Dupin Tales.