“An adventure, a mystery, an historical fiction -- this exciting read defies categorization. With quirky and engaging characters who are at once villains, crooks, and heroes, along with exotic locations, literary figures, fast-paced action, and a surprise ending, this novel has something for everyone. Changing copyright laws spell the end of the line for career book thieves and spies, and a race against time and competitors makes for a story that is hard to put down. This will be another bestseller for Pearl!”
— Coleen Colwell (W), Booksmart, Morgan Hill, CA
From the New York Times bestselling author of the Dante Club, the story of an epic literary heist by a forgotten class of consummate criminals
book a-neer (b k k -n r ), 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 abroad 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 New York Times bestselling author ofThe 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 accompanied by his assistant Fergins. 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.
Praise for The Last Bookaneer
Matthew Pearl has a particular specialty: finding an obscure corner of 19th-century history and spinning from it literary fiction that is thought-provoking, enlightening, smoothly written and a ripping good story to boot. The Seattle Times