The Last Bookaneer

The Last Bookaneer

A Novel

eBook - 2015
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Penguin Putnam
“This swashbuckling tale of greed and great literature will remind you why Pearl is the reigning king of popular literary historical thrillers. His latest is guaranteed to delight lovers of history and mystery.”—Library Journal (starred review)

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 Bookaneer is 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.

From the Hardcover edition.

Baker & Taylor
Near the end of the nineteenth century, two bookaneers--literary pirates seeking authors' manuscripts to steal--are caught up in a colonial war on Samoa as they compete for Robert Louis Stevenson's last manuscript and make a fortune before a new international treaty ends the bookaneers' trade.

& Taylor

A tale inspired by the century-long legal loophole that allowed books to be published without the permission or compensation of authors traces the battle over a dying Robert Louis Stevenson's final manuscript. By the best-selling author of The Dante Club.

Publisher: New York :, Penguin Publishing Group,, 2015
ISBN: 9780698195615
Characteristics: text file,rda
1 online resource
Additional Contributors: OverDrive, Inc. - Distributor


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Feb 14, 2017

Loved this book,with its 19th century prose, and brave deeds done on both sides of the law. Did not find the opening slow. The Audiobook reader seems the ideal choice and listening to him is a treat. He brings it all to life wonderfully.

Jul 05, 2016

This historical action, adventure yarn finds a couple of "bookaneers" on the search for the latest Louis F Stevenson novel; before the copyright laws change with the coming of the new century. A bookaneer is someone who flouts copyright laws to bring "literature to the masses". They never saw it as breaking the law; but others did. Really fast paced and full of action, more like Dante Club than his other titles.

cmlibrary_anickerson Jan 30, 2016

Although the story line seemed to ramble at times, this was an interesting take on 19th century copyright laws and those who sought to operate "above the law".

Jun 23, 2015

I have not enjoyed Matthew Pearl's subsequent books nearly as much as the Dante Club. This one took 200 pages to take off. The first half of the book could be a lot les descriptive and pedantic and a bit more believable. Very slow plot development. Lots of vague action without much build-up or background. Lacking specific details. I did read a book recently on Robert Louis Stevenson's wife, so the bit about Samoa was easier to relate to.

Jun 03, 2015

Pretty good but not nearly as good as I hoped based on the book blurb. I thought it was a bit slow for something that was supposed to be an adventure story.


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Jan 07, 2016

The more things change, the more they stay the same. This book begins at the dawn of the 19th century when global copyrights will take affect. The European counterfeiters have just found out the Robert Lewis Stevenson has plans to publish a novel. They race to the island Stevenson resides to liberate his novel. More action and adventure than Pearl's usual novels.


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