THE DREAM OF SCIPIO

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By: Iain Pears

Set in Provence at three different critical moments of Western Civilisation - the collapse of the Roman Empire in the fifth century, the Black Death in the fourteenth, and the Second World War in the twentieth - The Dream of Scipio follows the fortunes of three men: Manlius Hippomanes, a Gallic aristocrat obsessed with the preservation of Roman civilisation, Olivier de Noyen, a poet, and Julien Barneuve, an intellectual who joins the Vichy government. The story of each man is woven through the narrative, linked by the classical text that gives the book its title, and by each man's love for an extraordinary woman. Dense, dark, erudite and yet, like An Instance of the Fingerpost, utterly compelling, The Dream of Scipio confirms Iain Pears as one of Britain's most imaginative novelists.