The Dream of Scipio
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The Dream of Scipio, lain Pears' first mainstream novel since An Instance of the Fingerpost, is a work of astonishing ambition that appeals equally to the head and heart. It is 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 - and follows the fortunes of three men, Manlius Hippomenes, a Gallic aristocrat obsessed with the preservation of Roman civilisation, Guilaume 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 The Instance of the Fingerpost, utterly compelling, The Dream of Scipio confirms lain Pears as one of Britain's most imaginative novelists.
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