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Wednesday, June 24, 2015

#REVIEW: The Last Bookaneer by Matthew Pearl

Title: The Last Bookaneer
Series: none
Author:  Matthew Pearl
Published Date: April 28, 2015
Publisher: Penguin Press
Format: ebook
Pages: 400
ISBN: 9781594204920
Genre: historical fiction
Add to: Goodreads
Purchase: Amazon

Rating: 1 ½ stars

Synopsis: book'a-neer' (bŏŏk'kå-nēr'), n. a literary pirate; an individual capable of doing all that must be done in the universe of books that publishers, authors, and readers must not have a part in

London, 1890—Pen Davenport is the most infamous bookaneer in Europe. A master of disguise, he makes his living stalking harbors, coffeehouses, and print shops for the latest manuscript to steal. But this golden age of publishing is on the verge of collapse. For a hundred years, loose copyright laws and a hungry reading public created a unique opportunity: books could easily be published without an author’s permission. Authors gained fame but suffered financially—Charles Dickens, Mark Twain, Robert Louis Stevenson, to name a few—but publishers reaped enormous profits while readers bought books inexpensively. Yet on the eve of the twentieth century, a new international treaty is signed to grind this literary underground to a sharp halt. The bookaneers are on the verge of extinction.

From the author of The Dante Club, Matthew Pearl, The Last Bookaneeris the astonishing story of these literary thieves’ epic final heist. 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 Davenport sets out for the South Pacific island. As always, Davenport is reluctantly accompanied by his assistant Fergins, who is whisked across the world for one 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. But Davenport is hardly the only bookaneer with a mind to pirate Stevenson’s last novel. His longtime adversary, the monstrous Belial, appears on the island, and soon Davenport, Fergins, and Belial find themselves embroiled in a conflict larger, perhaps, than literature itself.


In The Last Bookaneer, Pearl crafts a finely wrought tale about a showdown between brilliant men in the last great act of their professions. It is nothing short of a page-turning journey to the heart of a lost era.

My Review: I received a copy of this book in exchange for an honest review.
This was my introduction to this author, and I was highly disappointed. This had to be the wordiest, slowest book that I have yet to experience this year. Trying to slog through this book was like trying to walk in the middle of a flood of maple syrup in the middle of February. It was always one of those books that I could easily put down, and completely forget about. I picked it because the blurb sounded so amazing: in reality, the characters are completely forgettable; the action is non-existent until the very end. I can’t see many people, unless you are one of the determined readers, to read through 400 pages, just to get to the action in the last 50.

I’m not sure I will be reading any more from this author.

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