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Extended Audio Sample The Last Bookaneer: A Novel Audiobook, by Matthew Pearl Click for printable size audiobook cover
0 out of 50 out of 50 out of 50 out of 50 out of 5 0.00 (0 ratings) (rate this audio book) Author: Matthew Pearl Narrator: Simon Vance, J. D. Jackson Publisher: Penguin Random House Format: Unabridged Audiobook Delivery: Instant Download Audio Length: Release Date: April 2015 ISBN: 9780698402645
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The bestselling author of The Dante Club takes us deep into a shadowy era in publishing ruled by a forgotten class of criminals

A golden age of publishing on the verge of collapse. For a hundred years, loose copyright laws and a hungry reading public created a unique opportunity: Books could be published without an author’s permission with extraordinary ease. Authors gained fame but suffered financially—Charles Dickens, Mark Twain, Robert Louis Stevenson, to name a few—but publishers reaped enormous profits while readers got their books on the cheap. The literary pirates who stalked the harbors, coffeehouses, and printer shops for the latest manuscript to steal were known as bookaneers.


Yet on the eve of the twentieth century, a new international treaty is signed to protect authors and grind this literary underground to a sharp halt. The bookaneers, of course, would become extinct. In The Last Bookaneer, Matthew Pearl gives us a historical novel set inside the lost world of these doomed outlaws and the incredible heist that brought their era to a close.

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 two adversaries—the gallant Pen Davenport and the monstrous Belial—set out for the south Pacific island. Pen Davenport—a tortured criminal genius haunted by his past—is reluctantly accompanied by Fergins, the narrator of our story, who has lived a quiet life of bookselling before being whisked across the world on his friend’s 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.

Yet Samoa holds many secrets of its own, and the duo’s bookish concerns clash with the island’s violent destiny. A colonial war is afoot between the British, American, and German powers; even as Stevenson himself quietly supports native revolutionaries from high in his mountain compound. Soon Pen and Fergins are embroiled in a conflict larger, perhaps, than literature itself. Illuminating the heroics of the bookaneers even while conjuring Stevenson himself to breathtaking life, Pearl’s The Last Bookaneer is a pageturning journey to the dark heart of a forgotten literary era.

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Quotes & Awards

  • “The author’s passion for detail, combined with his gift for balancing a leisurely pace with fast-moving action, makes for a deeply satisfying experience.”

    Seattle Times

  • “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)

  • “An entertaining adventure tale steeped in literary history…[Pearl] offers many of the charms and unrushed distractions of a favorite old bookstore.”

    Kirkus Reviews (starred review)

  • “[An] ingenious literary caper…Pearl gives the bookaneers a lively fictitious history…and populates it with a colorful cast of roguish characters…A loving testament to the enduring power of paper books.”

    Publishers Weekly

  • “Passionately researched and ebulliently imagined…Pearl’s vividly descriptive and energetically plotted novel churns and charms with intriguing literary history, acid social critique, witty dialogue, and delectably surprising and diabolical reversals and betrayals.”

    Booklist

  • “Simon Vance and J. D. Jackson narrate the adventures of a dying breed of pirate in the 1800s who took advantage of the lax copyright laws to sell unpublished works of famous authors to publishers…As Vance drives the twists and turns of this tale to Samoa and Stevenson’s manor and back, he controls the prose and the well-developed characters with a firm but empathetic hand while Jackson adds drama and emotional flair. Rapt listening, especially for book lovers.”

    AudioFile

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About the Author
Author Matthew Pearl

Matthew Pearl is the New York Times bestselling author of The Dante Club and the editor of the Modern Library editions of Dante’s Inferno and Edgar Allen Poe’s The Murder in the Rue Morgue: The Dupin Tales. The Dante Club has been published in more than thirty languages in forty countries around the world. His nonfiction writing has appeared in the New York Times, the Wall Street Journal, and the Boston Globe. Pearl is a graduate of Harvard University and Yale Law School and has taught literature at Harvard and Emerson College. He lives in Cambridge, Massachusetts.

About the Narrators

Simon Vance (a.k.a. Robert Whitfield) is an award-winning actor and an AudioFile Golden Voice with fifty-eight Earphones Awards. He has won thirteen prestigious Audie Awards and was Booklist’s very first Voice of Choice in 2008. He has narrated more than eight hundred audiobooks over almost thirty years, beginning when he was a radio newsreader for the BBC in London.

J. D. Jackson is a theater professor, aspiring stage director, and award-winning audiobook narrator. He is a classically trained actor, and his television and film credits include roles on House, ER, Law & Order, Hack, Sherrybaby, Diary of a City Priest, and Lucky Number Slevin. The recipient of several audiobook awards for narration and an Odyssey Honor for G. Neri’s Ghetto Cowboy, he was also named one of AudioFile magazine’s Best Voices of the Year for 2012 and 2013. Jackson has won the AudioFile Earphones Award eleven times.