John Stone, a man so wealthy that in the years before World War One he was able to manipulate markets, industries and indeed whole countries and continents, has been found dead in mysterious circumstances. His beautiful young widow commissions a journalist to carry out an unusual bequest in his will but as he begins his research he soon discovers a story far more complex than he could have ever imagined...As the story moves backwards through time, from London in 1909 to Paris in 1809, before concluding in Venice in 1867, the mystery of John Stone's life and loves begins to unravel. The result is a spellbinding novel that is both a quest for the truth, a love story that spans decades and a compelling murder mystery.
Iain Pears was born in 1955. He is the author of seven detective novels, a book of art history and countless articles on artistic, financial and historical subjects, and three novels, An Instance of the Fingerpost, The Dream of Scipio and The Portrait.