Set in Provence at three different critical moments of Western Civilisation - the collapse of the Roman Empire in the fifth century, the Black Death in the fourteenth, and the Second World War in the twentieth - The Dream of Scipio follows the fortunes of three men: Manlius Hippomanes, a Gallic aristocrat obsessed with the preservation of Roman civilisation, Olivier de Noyen, a poet, and Julien Barneuve, an intellectual who joins the Vichy government. The story of each man is woven through the narrative, linked by the classical text that gives the book its title, and by each man's love for an extraordinary woman.
Dense, dark, erudite and yet, like An Instance of the Fingerpost, utterly compelling, The Dream of Scipio confirms Iain Pears as one of Britain's most imaginative novelists.
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Irresistibly seizes the imagination - Evening Standard
Combining the visceral pleasures of a thriller with the more intellectual excitements of a novel of ideas... Beautifully constructed...never less than engrossing - Sunday Telegraph
Vivid, admirably imagined, ultimately very moving...This is a novel of the very highest ambition...immediate, sensuous, beautiful - Scotsman
Combines dazzling erudition with assured narrative skills to offer glimpses of some of history's darkest corners, and stark and timely challenges to the very notions of civilisation and progress - Independent on Sunday
A dazzling hall of mirrors... Ferociously ambitious... Illumined by a fizzing passion for the recondite - Daily Telegraph
Iain Pears was born in Coventry in 1955. Educated at Wadham College, Oxford, he has worked as a journalist, an art historian and a television consultant. He is the author of several highly praised detective novels, a book of art history, countless articles on artistic, financial and historical subjects, An Instance of the Fingerpost and Stone's Fall.