The Last Bookaneer: A Novel

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“This swashbuckling tale of greed and great literature will remind you why Pearl is the reigning king of popular literary historical thrillers. His latest is guaranteed to delight lovers of history and mystery.”—Library Journal (starred review)

book'a-neer' (bŏŏk'kå-nēr'), n. a literary pirate; an individual capable of doing all that must be done in the universe of books that publishers, authors, and readers must not have a part in

London, 1890—Pen Davenport is the most infamous bookaneer in Europe. A master of disguise, he makes his living stalking harbors, coffeehouses, and print shops for the latest manuscript to steal. But this golden age of publishing is on the verge of collapse. For a hundred years, loose copyright laws and a hungry reading public created a unique opportunity: books could easily be published without an author’s permission. Authors gained fame but suffered financially—Charles Dickens, Mark Twain, Robert Louis Stevenson, to name a few—but publishers reaped enormous profits while readers bought books inexpensively. Yet on the eve of the twentieth century, a new international treaty is signed to grind this literary underground to a sharp halt. The bookaneers are on the verge of extinction.

From the author of The Dante Club, Matthew Pearl, The Last Bookaneer is the astonishing story of these literary thieves’ epic final heist. On the island of Samoa, a dying Robert Louis Stevenson labors over a new novel. The thought of one last book from the great author fires the imaginations of the bookaneers, and soon Davenport sets out for the South Pacific island. As always, Davenport is reluctantly accompanied by his assistant Fergins, who is whisked across the world for one final caper. Fergins soon discovers the supreme thrill of aiding Davenport in his quest to steal Stevenson’s manuscript and make a fortune before the new treaty ends the bookaneers’ trade forever. But Davenport is hardly the only bookaneer with a mind to pirate Stevenson’s last novel. His longtime adversary, the monstrous Belial, appears on the island, and soon Davenport, Fergins, and Belial find themselves embroiled in a conflict larger, perhaps, than literature itself.

In The Last Bookaneer, Pearl crafts a finely wrought tale about a showdown between brilliant men in the last great act of their professions. It is nothing short of a page-turning journey to the heart of a lost era.


From the Hardcover edition.
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About the author

MATTHEW PEARL is the award-winning and bestselling author of the novels The Dante Club, The Poe Shadow, The Last Dickens, and The Technologists. His books have been New York Times bestsellers and international bestsellers translated into more than thirty languages.


From the Hardcover edition.
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3.9
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Additional Information

Publisher
Penguin
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Published on
Apr 28, 2015
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Pages
400
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ISBN
9780698195615
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Language
English
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Genres
Fiction / Action & Adventure
Fiction / Historical
Fiction / Thrillers / General
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Content Protection
This content is DRM protected.
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Eligible for Family Library

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NEW YORK TIMES BESTSELLER • Before The Dante Chamber, there was The Dante Club: “an ingenious thriller that . . . brings Dante Alighieri’s Inferno to vivid, even unsettling life.”—The Boston Globe

“With intricate plots, classical themes, and erudite characters . . . what’s not to love?”—Dan Brown, author of The Da Vinci Code and Origin

Boston, 1865. The literary geniuses of the Dante Club—poets and Harvard professors Henry Wadsworth Longfellow, Dr. Oliver Wendell Holmes, and James Russell Lowell, along with publisher J. T. Fields—are finishing America’s first translation of The Divine Comedy. The powerful Boston Brahmins at Harvard College are fighting to keep Dante in obscurity, believing the infiltration of foreign superstitions to be as corrupting as the immigrants arriving at Boston Harbor.

But as the members of the Dante Club fight to keep a sacred literary cause alive, their plans fall apart when a series of murders erupts through Boston and Cambridge. Only this small group of scholars realizes that the gruesome killings are modeled on the descriptions of Hell’s punishments from Dante’s Inferno. With the lives of the Boston elite and Dante’s literary future in the New World at stake, the members of the Dante Club must find the killer before the authorities discover their secret.

Praise for The Dante Club

“Ingenious . . . [Matthew Pearl] keeps this mystery sparkling with erudition.”—Janet Maslin, The New York Times

“Not just a page-turner but a beguiling look at the U.S. in an era when elites shaped the course of learning and publishing. With this story of the Dante Club’s own descent into hell, Mr. Pearl’s book will delight the Dante novice and expert alike.”—The Wall Street Journal

“[Pearl] ably meshes the . . . literary analysis with a suspenseful plot and in the process humanizes the historical figures. . . . A divine mystery.”—People (Page-turner of the Week)

“An erudite and entertaining account of Dante’s violent entrance into the American canon.”—Los Angeles Times

“A hell of a first novel . . . The Dante Club delivers in spades. . . . Pearl has crafted a work that maintains interest and drips with nineteenth-century atmospherics.”—San Francisco Chronicle
NEW YORK TIMES BESTSELLER • Before The Dante Chamber, there was The Dante Club: “an ingenious thriller that . . . brings Dante Alighieri’s Inferno to vivid, even unsettling life.”—The Boston Globe

“With intricate plots, classical themes, and erudite characters . . . what’s not to love?”—Dan Brown, author of The Da Vinci Code and Origin

Boston, 1865. The literary geniuses of the Dante Club—poets and Harvard professors Henry Wadsworth Longfellow, Dr. Oliver Wendell Holmes, and James Russell Lowell, along with publisher J. T. Fields—are finishing America’s first translation of The Divine Comedy. The powerful Boston Brahmins at Harvard College are fighting to keep Dante in obscurity, believing the infiltration of foreign superstitions to be as corrupting as the immigrants arriving at Boston Harbor.

But as the members of the Dante Club fight to keep a sacred literary cause alive, their plans fall apart when a series of murders erupts through Boston and Cambridge. Only this small group of scholars realizes that the gruesome killings are modeled on the descriptions of Hell’s punishments from Dante’s Inferno. With the lives of the Boston elite and Dante’s literary future in the New World at stake, the members of the Dante Club must find the killer before the authorities discover their secret.

Praise for The Dante Club

“Ingenious . . . [Matthew Pearl] keeps this mystery sparkling with erudition.”—Janet Maslin, The New York Times

“Not just a page-turner but a beguiling look at the U.S. in an era when elites shaped the course of learning and publishing. With this story of the Dante Club’s own descent into hell, Mr. Pearl’s book will delight the Dante novice and expert alike.”—The Wall Street Journal

“[Pearl] ably meshes the . . . literary analysis with a suspenseful plot and in the process humanizes the historical figures. . . . A divine mystery.”—People (Page-turner of the Week)

“An erudite and entertaining account of Dante’s violent entrance into the American canon.”—Los Angeles Times

“A hell of a first novel . . . The Dante Club delivers in spades. . . . Pearl has crafted a work that maintains interest and drips with nineteenth-century atmospherics.”—San Francisco Chronicle
“I present to you . . . the truth about this man’s death and my life.”

Baltimore, 1849. The body of Edgar Allan Poe has been buried in an unmarked grave. The public, the press, and even Poe’s own family and friends accept the conclusion that Poe was a second-rate writer who met a disgraceful end as a drunkard. Everyone, in fact, seems to believe this except a young Baltimore lawyer named Quentin Clark, an ardent admirer who puts his own career and reputation at risk in a passionate crusade to salvage Poe’s.

As Quentin explores the puzzling circumstances of Poe’s demise, he discovers that the writer’s last days are riddled with unanswered questions the police are possibly willfully ignoring. Just when Poe’s death seems destined to remain a mystery, and forever sealing his ignominy, inspiration strikes Quentin–in the form of Poe’s own stories. The young attorney realizes that he must find the one person who can solve the strange case of Poe’s death: the real-life model for Poe’s brilliant fictional detective character, C. Auguste Dupin, the hero of ingenious tales of crime and detection.
In short order, Quentin finds himself enmeshed in sinister machinations involving political agents, a female assassin, the corrupt Baltimore slave trade, and the lost secrets of Poe’s final hours. With his own future hanging in the balance, Quentin Clark must turn master investigator himself to unchain his now imperiled fate from that of Poe’s.

Following his phenomenal debut novel, The Dante Club, Matthew Pearl has once again crossed pitch-perfect literary history with innovative mystery to create a beautifully detailed, ingeniously plotted tale of suspense. Pearl’s groundbreaking research–featuring documented material never published before–opens a new window on the truth behind Poe’s demise, literary history’s most persistent enigma. The resulting novel is a publishing event that, through sublime craftsmanship, subtle wit, and devious twists, does honor to Poe himself


From the Hardcover edition.
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