Thursday, September 14, 2006

Review: Dark Matter by Phillip Kerr

Dark Matter by Phillip Kerr is a historical murder mystery novel thing. It takes place in London during the 1600's and our hero is none other than Sir Issac Newton.

The book had a more or less Sherlock Holmes feel to it. Issac Newton is portrayed is an all powerful genius, though he claims his only real skill is that of close observation.

Overall the story felt more like a mystery marathon, rather than a sprint. The cases took months to resolve themselves, and the countless details had me finally give up attempting to predict who done it. I was just happy that when the plot was revealed, I rembered who all the players were.

One word of warning - this book isn't for kids. It has some of, if not the most, explict sex/violence scenes of any other book I've read. There's a thin vail provided by the 1600's slang, but lets face it, our dirty words haven't really changed much in the last 400+ years.

A special treat was provided by the author as he explained which parts of the story were based on facts. Turns out, Newton's sidekick did indeed exist, and he really did hold the same position in real life that he had in the book.

One part of the book that I didn't appreciate was all the conflict between the different Christian sects. I have a hard remembering who is supposed to despise who. It was interesting that the author made Newton kind to the one Jewish character, while the narrator, and what seems like the rest of England, was quite anti-semetic.

As muder mysteries go, this was a nice change of pace. The plot was complex, and it was long enough that by the end the story really had lost its umph - but it was still a good listen, and one I would recommend.

I give it a 7.235/10 for being creative, and a fun way to package history.


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