The setting is 1660's England. Oxford is the intellectual seat of the country. Robert Grove, a fellow of New College, is found dead amidst suspicious circumstances and a young woman is accused of his murder. Listeners hear about the events surrounding his death from four witnesses. Each tells... read more
This is the story of a murder told from four different points of view. In the process of each person telling their version, Pears uses his characters to describe 17th century England during the time of the Restoration - the early days of medicine, science, philosophy, and the battle between... read more (warning: may contain spoilers)
This is the story of a murder told from four different points of view. In the process of each person telling their version, Pears uses his characters to describe 17th century England during the time of the Restoration - the early days of medicine, science, philosophy, and the battle between religion and superstition.
“We walked back to Mr. Van Leeman's to collect my instruments and I also hastily consulted Barbette on surgery, not wishing to have to refer to a book of instruction in mid - operation, as this does not assure the patient.”Marco da Cola
“I doubt not that posterity will verify many things that are now only rumors. In some age it may be that a voyage to the moon will not be more strange than one to the Americas for us. To speak with someone in the Indies may be as usual as a literary correspondence is now. After all, to talk after death could only have been thought a fiction before the invention of letters, and to sail true by the guide of a mineral would have seemed absurd to the ancients, who knew nothing of the magnet”Marco da Cola
“...although he treated everybody with scorn, he gave tirelessly of his time and effort once his curiosity was engaged. Human beings he could not deal with but set him a problem and he would work to exhaustion.”Marco da Cola on meeting the scientist Peter Stahl
“One would have thought that a learned judge would have been sufficient as it is everywhere else, but this is not the case. For, having appointed such a person, they give all his power to a group of twelve men, chosen at random and utterly ignorant of all law. What is more, they are inordinately proud of this most bizarre system and hold this jury in awe as the bedrock of their liberties.”
“It is generally known that, until Mr. Newton eclipsed him, Dr. Wallis was considered the finest mathematician this country has ever produced, and this reputation has obscured his occult activities for the government and the malice of his character. Frankly, I have never been entirely certain what either of them do that is so wonderful; I can add up and subtract to get the estate accounts in order, and I can place a bet on a horse and calculate my winning, and I cannot see why anybody should need to know more. Someone once tried to explain Mr. Newton's notions, but they made little sense. Something about proving that things fall. As I had taken a bad drop from my horse only the previous day, I replied that I had all the proof I needed on my backside. As for why, it was obvious that things fall because God made them heavy”
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