Saturday, August 15, 2009

Review: Dark Matter by Philip Kerr

In 1696, Christopher Ellis, a young, hot-tempered gentleman, is sent to the Tower of London, but not as a prisoner. A sudden twist of fate has led him there to assist the renowned scientist Sir Isaac Newton, who as Warden of the Royal Mint has accepted an appointment to hunt down counterfeiters who threaten to topple the shaky, war-weakened economy. Armed with Newton’s superior intellect and Ellis’s skill with a sword, the new partners seem primed to solve the case. But when their investigation leads them to a mysterious coded message on a corpse hidden in the Lion Tower, they realize that something more sinister is afoot. In the heat of their pursuit, Newton and Ellis’s suspicions become all too real as the body count rises and the duo uncovers a menacing far-reaching plot that might lead to the collapse of the government—and cost them their very lives. An extraordinary, suspense-filled, and richly satisfying tale, Dark Matter is an engrossing mystery infused with the volatile mix of politics, science, and religion that characterized life in seventeenth-century London.

This was the unabridged audiobook on CD edition (8 CDs/10.5 hours).

After reading the description on the case I'd had high hopes for this, but was sorely disappointed. While I did slog through it, only because I was doing other things while listening, I was not impressed. The premise was interesting, but it was a bit coarsely presented and really, frankly boring at points. The only thing I did like were Newton and Ellis's religious theories.

Newton's behavior in the book reminded me Sherlock Holmes a little too much, with Ellis as a faithful Watson.

This one gets five stars. While I did not hate the book I was not impressed and cannot recommend it. The reader, John Lee, however, did a very good job with the reading, making what would have been intolerable better. His reading really set the tone for the book and brought it to life in its time period.

Rating: ★★★★★☆☆☆


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