Dream of Scipio

Dream of Scipio

by Iain Pears
4.3 20

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Overview

Dream of Scipio by Iain Pears

In national bestseller The Dream of Scipio, acclaimed author Iain Pears intertwines three intellectual mysteries, three love stories, and three of the darkest moments in human history. United by a classical text called "The Dream of Scipio," three men struggle to find refuge for their hearts and minds from the madness that surrounds them in the final days of the Roman Empire, in the grim years of the Black Death, and in the direst hours of World War II. An ALA Booklist Editors' Choice.

Iain Pears's An Instance of the Fingerpost and The Portrait are also available from Riverhead Books.

Product Details

ISBN-13: 9781440622045
Publisher: Penguin Publishing Group
Publication date: 06/03/2003
Sold by: Penguin Group
Format: NOOK Book
Pages: 416
Sales rank: 199,599
File size: 930 KB
Age Range: 18 Years

About the Author

Iain Pears was born in 1955. Educated at Wadham College, Oxford, he has worked as a journalist, an art historian, and a television consultant in England, France, Italy, and the United States. He is the author of seven highly praised detective novels, a book of art history, and countless articles on artistic, financial, and historical subjects, as well as the international bestseller An Instance of the Fingerpost. He lives in Oxford, England.

Hometown:

Oxford, England

Date of Birth:

1955

Education:

Ph.D., Oxford University

Customer Reviews

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Dream of Scipio 4.3 out of 5 based on 0 ratings. 20 reviews.
Guest More than 1 year ago
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.
Guest More than 1 year ago
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.
Guest More than 1 year ago
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!
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
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.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
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.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
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.
Yeatsian More than 1 year ago
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.
Guest More than 1 year ago
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...
Guest More than 1 year ago
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.
Guest More than 1 year ago
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.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
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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Guest More than 1 year ago
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.