Friday, March 02, 2012

The Technologists by Matthew Pearl

The Technologists: A Novel

My rating: 5 of 5 stars


In my review of The Professor’s Assassin last month I stated that I was eagerly awaiting the release of Pearl’s new novel The Technologists and that from the preview that was included in The Professor’s Assassin it looked like it was going to be one of his best. Well needless to say I was not disappointed. Pearl delivers yet another page turner that had me guessing “who done it” until the very end.

The Technologists is set in Boston 1868 and starts with, of all things, seven shipwrecks. For those who do not know, currently me, my husband and super pup Maverick are on a sailboat sailing around the entire coast line of Florida. It was somewhat eerie to begin the book on a foggy and raining day while sitting on a boat only to discover that Pearl was painting a similar picture in his new novel. Besides the riveting poetic language from sentence number one I was hooked simply because I truly felt the picture being painted around me. But the mysterious disasters did not stop there. As the book progressed more unusual, seemingly hard to explain catastrophes were happening to Boston. The police force was at a loss for answers so they had to make the choice of turning to one of the two colleges in the area, Harvard or the new formed Massachusetts Institute of Technology. They choose to place their faith in the college that was not shocking the city with their “technologies” and sought the help of the professor of science from Harvard. Harvard’s science department unfamiliar and unwilling to accept the new way of looking at the world that was present in MIT was unable to adequately explain what had happened or what would happen next. It looked as though all was loss for Boston until a secret group formed within the walls of MIT began to investigate from the shadows. Quickly the MIT students begin to see how the experimenter was tormenting the city, their only question left was, how would they stop him.

For readers whom this is the first Pearl book you have or will read I must take a sidebar in this review and tell you that if you enjoy it, buy the other three… you will not be disappointed. I have thoroughly enjoyed all of Pearl’s novels but I do have favorites. The Last Dickens published in 2009 is my favorite of his works but it has some serious competition with The Technologists. It is not often that I read a mystery and do not pick up on where the author is going long before the culprit is revealed. In Pearl’s latest I suspected many people and was surprised to find out who was really behind it all. For that and Pearl’s attention to detail in his meticulous research I gave The Technologists five stars. Hats off to Pearl for yet another masterpiece.

Novel Moments:

“Throughout his boyhood in a port town, he’d heard so many people spoken of as “lost at sea.” Now it seemed to him the strangest turn of phrase. As long as he was in the water he could not be lost.” (Kindle Location 200)

“Technology is the dignity that man can achieve by bettering himself and his society.” (Kindle Location 892)

“When you stop the mind from inventing, you stop nature.” (Kindle Location 2339)

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