Friday, March 23, 2012

The Technologists

The Technologists by Matthew Pearl

In my opinion Matthew Pearl is one of the best authors of historical fiction writing today. In his three previous books he used the translation of Dante's Inferno, the mystery behind the death of Edgar Allen Poe, and Charles Dickens's final unfinished book The Mystery of Edwin Drood as historical backgrounds for three highly entertaining stories. The Technologists is another very entertaining book.

The Civil War has been over for a couple of years now, and in the shadow of the esteemed Harvard University, another institute of higher learning has been created. Only instead of focusing on the classical subjects studied at Harvard, it's the lesser respected and even feared subjects of science and technology that are studied at this institution - MIT.

When inexplicable phenomena such as all the compasses on the ships in the harbor simultaneously losing their ability to point north, and all of the glass within a whole city block instantly melting, the mistrust people feel for science reaches a fever pitch. And it's the professors and students at MIT that become the targets of the public's fear and animosity. When both the police and the great minds at Harvard prove inept at solving the mysteries behind the calamities around Boston, four members of MIT's soon-to-be-first graduating class take up the task of both solving the mysteries behind what's happening to their city and clearing the reputation of their fledgling institution.

The Technologists is a smart thriller and I think Matthew Pearl is a gifted author. While the book isn't perfect, I think that at times the story became convoluted and Pearl tried to cram too much of his research and knowledge into the story, it was still a lot of fun to read and makes me look forward to reading the next book he'll write.

★ ★ ★ ★ ☆

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