Stone's Fall

Stone's Fall

by Iain Pears
4.2 56


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Stone's Fall by Iain Pears

At his London home, John Stone falls out of a window to his death. A financier and arms dealer, Stone was a man so wealthy that he was able to manipulate markets, industries, and indeed entire countries and continents. Did he jump, was he pushed, or was it merely a tragic accident? His alluring and enigmatic widow hires a young crime reporter to investigate. The story moves backward in time—from London in 1909 to Paris in 1890 and finally to Venice in 1867—and the attempts to uncover the truth play out 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. Stone’s Fall is a tale of love and frailty, as much as it is of high finance and skulduggery. The mixture, then, as now, is an often fatal combination.

Product Details

ISBN-13: 9780385522854
Publisher: Random House Publishing Group
Publication date: 06/01/2010
Pages: 612
Sales rank: 420,189
Product dimensions: 5.40(w) x 8.10(h) x 1.50(d)

About the Author

Iain Pears is the author of the bestsellers An Instance of the Fingerpost and The Dream of Scipio and a novella, The Portrait, as well as a series of acclaimed detective novels, a book of art history and countless articles on artistic, financial and historical subjects. He lives in Oxford, England.

From the Hardcover edition.


Oxford, England

Date of Birth:



Ph.D., Oxford University

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Stone's Fall 4.2 out of 5 based on 0 ratings. 55 reviews.
gramma6kids More than 1 year ago
Ian Pears' seems to like the idea that nothing is ever the same when viewed from the differing perspectives of the narrators who made up his cast of characters. He has done this before in "An Instance of the Fingerpost" and my favorite, "The Dream of Scipio". In this one, the narrators move back in time to the origin of one of the central characters. Each narrator has a point of view based on his own knowledge of the situation. Certainly will keep you reading to the end of the mystery. The language is very much in keeping with the Victorian era in which the book is set. Very proper and very wordy, but intriguing.
Lopaka More than 1 year ago
This author continues to illuminate different periods of time and place (here early 20th century England and Europe) with amazing plot twists and story lines. Always approaches things intelligently with the history as background but essential to understanding what's going on with the characters and plot.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
If I could I would rate it as six stars. It has great language, fantastic plot, and a deep and rich psychological insight. I still cannot believe that a book focusing on business, finances, and industrial development can be breath taking and so positive. And, Pears is a master creator of the characters. Must read great piece of literature.
Bookmobile_Driver More than 1 year ago
This story is told by three narrators in different times and places who come together at various times in their lives even if unbeknownst to some when they do. It is, in a way, an interesting puzzle to be solved, with the reader finding out where the pieces may fall, sometimes before or just as the characters themselves do. The book begins in May 1953 in Paris with the funeral of Madame Robillard, who, we learn later is one of the main characters in the story. This part of the book is told from the viewpoint of Matthew Braddock, a journalist and BBC news reporter, who was in Paris for a final business trip prior to his retirement. He had not realized she was still alive, and just happened to learn of her death by reading the newspaper. After the funeral service, Braddock is approached by one of Madame Robillard's solicitors, and eventually given documents left for him by Henry Cort when he died. A stipulation was that the documents were not to be delivered to Braddock until the death of Madame Robillard. The rest of this part of the book is Braddock's memories of what happened forty years prior when he was a young newspaper reporter hired by Madame Robillard, known then as Lady Ravenscliff, to research her husband's death which occurred in London in 1909. Part Two of the book is told by Henry Cort in 1890 Paris. Mr. Cort was a British spy. Part Three is presented from the memories of John Stone in Venice in 1867. John Stone was the husband of Lady Ravenscliff who died in 1909. I was a bit mystified at first when I saw the three parts were not presented in chronological order. At the end of Part One, I wondered why there was more to read. It seemed to be a perfectly satisfactory ending. However by the end of the book I understood why the author arranged the book in the way he did. There was no other way to write the story, now that I see it in its whole and the second and third parts were necessary. The historical references throughout the book are educational without being dry. I also liked the financial information presented by the characters, even though friends of mine who read the book said they skipped over parts of it. I read every one of the 610 pages, some more than once. It is that type of book you want to keep reading, but when it ends, you know there is no more to be said. I found it an enjoyable read with unforgettable characters and scenes. Unlike some books, there were times I didn't have a feel for where the story was going next, but I just went along and was richly rewarded for doing so. I can't say more about the details without ruining the story for you.
MC93 More than 1 year ago
At times I wanted to give up on this book--there are so many characters, so many twists, and some of the "financial information" was tedious at times. However, I'm very glad I stuck with it, because the final twist literally made me gasp out loud. I still think I understand only 98% of what happened, but no matter. It was entertaining and fun.
SAP More than 1 year ago
a very well written book with an amazing group of characters. Amazingly intricate detail but not to the point that it is boring... highly recomend!
Howardeagle More than 1 year ago
I was extraordinarily disappointed in this book, since Mr. Pears has a rather inflated reputation. But Stone's Fall retells essentially the same story from three different viewpoints, is loaded with long, boring, and completely irrelevant descriptive passages, and concludes with a totally bizarre explanation. You come away from this book feeling that you have wasted a great deal of time reading a badly written book, with a strange plot, and an even odder conclusion. Howardeagle
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sandiek More than 1 year ago
William John Stone, Baron Ravenscliff, the wealthy English industrialist, has died. Not unusual for a man of his age, but his death was not of old age or disease. Instead, he fell to his death from his office window; a second floor room. When his will is read, he leaves everything to his wife, Elizabeth, with two exceptions. He leaves a legacy to a French woman no one has heard him speak of, and he leaves a legacy to a child he apparently fathered that no one knew about. Since the will cannot be settled until these two legacies are distributed, Lady Elizabeth engages the services of a newspaper journalist, to investigate and find the two recipients. Matthew Braddock, a young reporter with nothing to recommend him except his ingenuity and quick intelligence is her pick. As Matthew delves into Stone's life, he must learn about the world of finance where Stone was king. Stone knew little about politics, or the arts, but he knew everything about money and how it could be used to create dynasties and political alliances that bound countries together. Braddock is soon involved in a world of complex intrigue. He learns of Stone's involvement with spies, about beautiful women and betrayals, of backgrounds full of secrets, of amazing kindnesses and casual cruelties. The plot twists and turns back onto itself, making connections that the reader doesn't see coming. At the end, a twist that will remain in readers' minds long after the book is completed, hits them like a runaway train. This book is recommended for mystery readers who like complex plots and a slow unfolding. It is not incredibly violent, but requires the full attention of the reader. Pears has created memorable characters whose layers are slowly revealed until the astonishing denouement.
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emmi331 More than 1 year ago
I'd really like to give this three-and-a-half stars, since I had a difficult time liking any of the characters much. The novel is part mystery (which revolves around a beautiful woman of unknown origin) and partly a chronicle of the rise of world financial empires during the last part of the 19th century. It was often hard for me to wade through the machinations of the the banking and investment industries. The mystery was more absorbing to me, but generally I found the writing a bit dry. Overall, though, Iain Pears fans will not be disappointed.
AmyD65 More than 1 year ago
This book is long and complex, but well worth the time. I will not spoil it, but the very last plot twist was just amazing... I never saw it coming. I consider that high praise, since a lot of books are so transparent as to where they are heading. Parts of it are confusing, especially the sections dealing with complicated financial issues, but you don't have to understand all of it to follow the plot. I really enjoyed this book and expect to be hard pressed to read another as well written and plotted. But I will be looking...