Friday, October 18, 2002

New historical thriller

From PW Daily for Booksellers
October 17, 2002

The Baltimore Sun calls Philip Kerr "one of our most gifted novelists, yet his name has not achieved the widespread recognition it deserves. His new novel may change that." The new novel is Dark Matter: The Private Life of Sir Isaac Newton (Crown, $24), which the Sun describes as "a fast-paced historical thriller that makes both science and history seem anything by dry and abstract."

It's 1696, and Newton has assumed the position of warden of the Royal Mint at the Tower of London. Christopher Ellis has been hired as his assistant, and together, the two are directed by the king to find and prosecute counterfeiters. While investigating several murders at the Tower, they uncover a diabolical conspiracy involving the murder of thousands of Catholics, the passing of counterfeit guineas and reigniting the war with France.

The murders are accompanied by esoteric clues, encrypted documents and references to the pseudoscience of alchemy.

In addition to this rich tapestry of interesting characters and page-turning intrigue, Kerr has woven an illuminating look at life at the end of the 17th century: London is beset by whores and ruffians, opium dens, pestilence, grisly executions and a sparkling array of historical figures.--Judi Baxter

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