Arcadia, Hardback Book
2 out of 5 (1 rating)


This is a captivating adventure story with huge heart and dazzling imaginative power, from the best-selling author of An Instance of the Fingerpost.

Three interlocking worlds. Four people looking for answers. But who controls the future - or the past? In the basement of a professor's house in 1960s Oxford, fifteen-year-old Rosie goes in search of a missing cat - and instead finds herself in a different world.

Anterwold is a sun-drenched land of storytellers, prophecies and ritual.

But is this world real - and what happens if she decides to stay?

Meanwhile, in a sterile laboratory, a rebellious scientist is trying to prove that time does not even exist - with potentially devastating consequences.


  • Format: Hardback
  • Pages: 608 pages
  • Publisher: Faber & Faber
  • Publication Date:
  • Category: Science fiction
  • ISBN: 9780571301553

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Iain Pears wrote two of my favourite novels, 'The Dream of Scipio' and 'Stone's Fall', both of which have historical themes and feature split narratives unfolding at different times. They both worked very well, yielding intriguing and engrossing stories, and I was, therefore, eagerly awaiting this novel.With 'Arcadia', however, I fear he has overreached himself. There are ten separate stories in the novel, all woven together in an ambitious embroidery. Sadly, for me the experiment failed to work and rather than an intricate and satisfying pattern, I found myself contemplating an inchoate slop of contrived plots. In many ways 'Arcadia' reminded me of David Mitchell's 'The Bone Clocks' another book to which I had looked forward for a long time only to be disappointed when I finally came to read it. The publishers have even created a mobile phone app to enable readers to keep track of the different threads of the story, which suggests to me that it must be unnecessarily (and unsustainably) complicated. I am all in favour of writers experimenting with form, but they sometimes seem to overlook the basic integrity of their story.

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