Arcadia | Penguin Random House Canada


A novel

Publisher: Vintage Canada

In a major suspense novel set to surpass the internationally bestselling An Instance of the Fingerpost comes a dazzling story of youth, love and murderous ambition--a novel of time travel spanning three beautifully detailed worlds: the intellectual spires of Oxford in 1960, an ancient Arcadian world, and a dystopian future.

In 1960, Henry Lytten is an Oxford don who dabbles in espionage and fiction writing. Rosie Wilson is the quick-witted, curious 15-year-old girl who feeds Professor Lytten's cat. Several hundred years in the future, living in a dystopian society on the Isle of Mull, is Angela Meerson--a brilliant psychomathematician who has discovered the world-changing potential of a powerful new machine. Somewhere, sometime, is Jay--a scholar's apprentice in an idyllic, pastoral land. Who these people really are, and how their stories come together, will be revealed in Iain Pears's fascinating great puzzle of a novel.

From the Hardcover edition.


“With Arcadia, Iain Pears has woven a delightful tapestry in the bold colors of complexity, wonder and irony, even while offering the careful reader a chance to ferret out numerous literary allusions. Arcadia is filled with satisfying surprises up the last sentence of its telling. Only a novelist with the knowledge and mental agility shown again and again by Iain Pears could give readers a gift as rich as Arcadia.” —Dan Simmons, bestselling author of The Terror
Arcadia is a gripping tale, with memorable characters who lead us through the plot’s twists and turns to the book’s deeply satisfying resolution. Iain Pears has long been one of my favorite authors, and Arcadia is another example of his masterly storytelling: deftly told, genre-defying and a treat to read.” —Deborah Harkness, bestselling author of A Discovery of Witches

“A complex story about a woman living in the future who invents a time machine that can also create fictional worlds. . . . Entanglement is the name of the game and Pears does a great job manipulating his cat’s cradle of a plot to its unexpected conclusion.” —Toronto Star 

“For a hard-working reader, the novel accumulated into an astonishment of riches.” —The Washington Post 

“[A] sumptuously conceived and complex time travel tale, told at great length without ever losing its narrative force. . . . [Pears] brings mastery to world making. . . . This is one where such plot points tell you little about how compelling a read this narrative is. It’s a story about stories, a meta-story, an absorbing mixture of carefully detailed stark modern details, imaginative leaps, and fully-realized (and amusingly self-aware) characters.” —Psychology Today 

“I was entirely captured by [Arcadia’s] narratives. . . . What Arcadia does have is a landscape that is a dream of perfection. And beautiful language. . . . Pears’ prose is a pleasure to read. . . . The cross-referencing of the three stories makes for a compelling narrative; switching from one to another means we are constantly in a state of suspense. It would have been easier to read in three volumes, but quite quickly it didn’t matter, the book is so captivating.” —Marion Halligan, The Sydney Morning Herald

“A fantastical extravaganza. . . . A complex time-travelling, world-hopping caper with insistently epic stakes.” —Steven Poole, The Guardian

“A many layered narrative in which real and imagined worlds continually collide. . . . Aficionados of fantasy fiction will find plenty here to relish.” —Max Davidson, The Mail on Sunday

“A head-scratcher but an ambitious pleasure. When puzzled, press on: Pears’ yarn is worth the effort.” —Kirkus Reviews
“This new work from Pears . . . is so puzzle-box fascinating that he’s designed an app to help readers sort out the ten storylines. . .  Are you thinking David Mitchell’s The Bone Clocks? Me, too.” —Library Journal
“[Arcadia] is ambitious, amusing and very readable.” —Andrew Taylor, The Spectator (UK) 

“Pears’ love of genre and capacity for rich language is palpable. Where he shies away from ornate description, he proffers four distinct protagonists you feel eager to follow all through space and time. . . . [T]here’s plenty to uncover and devour.” —The Austin Chronicle