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The Professor's Assassin

3.52  ·  Rating Details ·  271 Ratings  ·  40 Reviews
Matthew Pearl’s novel, The Technologists, is a stunning historical thriller based on the early days of America’s great institution of learning, MIT—and a depraved killer teaching Boston to fear its own shadow. In this original eBook short story, Pearl delves further into the turbulent world of nineteenth-century academia to re-create a shocking, real-life, and all-but-forg ...more
Kindle Edition, 60 pages
Published (first published January 1st 2011)
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Wart Hill
Nov 05, 2015 Wart Hill rated it really liked it
See how this holds up as an old favorite at Things I Find While Shelving

This reread has me thinking. A lot. There are a lot of things in here that are applicable today and it’s actually kind of disturbing. Violence on college campuses, wealthy people able to get away with their crimes, etc.


It’s kind of creepy actually.

It’s a really good story, though. One of Pearl’s best works, I’d say. Definitely going to become a VERY old favorite eventually.
Feb 21, 2012 Marlene rated it really liked it
The Professor's Assassin by Matthew Pearl is a prequel short story to his new novel, The Technologists.

The main character of The Professor's Assassin is not the assassin. It's the man who finds him. Which is an excellent thing, because William Barton Rogers is a much more fascinating character.

Rogers is a professor of the practical sciences. At the still relatively young University of Virginia, he is the professor of practical science.

In 1840, the University of Virginia was plagued by student p
Chris Wolak
Dec 11, 2011 Chris Wolak rated it really liked it
Shelves: mystery-thriller
This short story or novella is a prequel to Pearl's forthcoming novel The Technologists which is coming out in Feb 2012. Pearl is known for writing engaging historical mysteries. I've been a fan since his Dante Club came out in 2003.

The Professor's Assassin is based on true events that occurred at the University of Virginia in 1840, just twenty-one years after Jefferson founded it. Tensions are heating up over slavery and some students are rioting, demanding the right to carry arms into the cla
Diane S ☔
Jan 07, 2012 Diane S ☔ rated it really liked it
Short novella is a prelude to his upcoming novel The Technologists. Modeled after the true events in 1940 at the University of Virginia, when the President of the University was shot by a member of the University Volunteers, who had been protesting on the campus. This author has such a fantastic way of portraying time and place. One feels that they are actually back at the University and part of history in the making. Can't wait for his novel to be released in February.
Jan 20, 2012 Randy rated it it was amazing
A novella that introduces some of the characters in the author's forthcoming novel, THE TECHNOLOGISTS, due in February. Based on an actual incident at the University of Virginia in 1840.

A group of students, masked, are rioting on campus for the right to bear arms at all times. A professor named Davis is shot by one of them and refuses to identify his assailant before he dies.

It's left up to William Barton Rogers, future founder of M.I.T., to ferret out the culprit. He's aided by a young student
Dec 29, 2011 Debbie rated it really liked it
In The Professor's Assassin, Matthew Pearl brings another historical event to life through his telling of the murder of Professor John Davis at the University of Virginia in November 1840. Much of the story is dedicated to Professor William Rogers' pursuit of the killer.

This is a short story and is the prequel to Pearl's upcoming book, The Technologists, which is scheduled for release in Feburary 2012. William Rogers is the founder of the Massachusetts Institute of Technology, which explains pa
Jan 07, 2012 Victoria rated it really liked it
I enjoyed this story not so much because it was gripping or a great mystery (as it was based on fact), but because it offered a nice introduction to the character, Professor Rogers, who will play a big role in Matthew Pearl's upcoming novel, The Technologists.

I also enjoyed reading about The University in it's infancy as my sister is a graduate of that fine institution. And I am familiar with the area from the many hikes, camping and backpacking trips I have taken there.

Looking forward to The Te
Bill Tillman
The founder of M.I.T. plays detective while serving at Virginia Univ.
Jan 13, 2012 Erin rated it really liked it
Can't wait for The Technologists to come out in February. This was a great lead-in!
Oct 01, 2016 Marley rated it really liked it
I'm bosting this up to 4 stars, though I'm' thinking 3 1/2. I really liked the story , but expected a snappier ending. I didn't realize this was based on a true story, so unless you're writing speculative fiction it's a little hard to snappy up an ending. That said,it's very well written with good character studies, and I d like to read Pearl's full length novels.
John Kenworthy
Jan 23, 2012 John Kenworthy rated it it was amazing
Let me start with this - Matthew Pearl is flat out an amazing author. I have thoroughly enjoyed all of his work. I was hooked with "The Dante Club" and have followed his career joyously over the years with "The Poe Shadow" and "The Last Dickens". So it was with great anticipation that I checked out his website recently to see what he was working on next - and to my delight, "The Technologists" is almost ready to be published. Woohoo! I pre-ordered it instantly.

More to my immediate delight, I dis
The Professor’s Assassin by Matthew Pearl is a prequel to his latest novel The Technologists. The regular reader of Pearl will know that he does not disappoint the reader looking for an engaging historical fiction novel. His short story about a professor who is determined to find out the identity of a murderer at the University of Virginia and bring him to justice is no exception. Pearl’s talent for tantalizing the reader with thrilling tales shines through once again. William Barton Rogers ...more
This novella which sets up Pearl's novel "The Technologies" is a great read! I enjoy how seamlessly Pearl weaves together his historic fiction and creates characters and scenarios that are both appealing and believable.

This particular story takes place at the University of Virginia in the 1840's. It was a fascinating introduction to how the early colleges functioned in our country. I enjoy how Pearl introduces concepts into history which you may not have though of before. For example, this shor
May 28, 2012 Rosemary rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
I picked this up to see if I liked Pearl's writing style before I committed to something longer (like The Dante Club or The Technologists).

I'm still not sure.

The author failed to really make me "feel" the period (important in historical fiction), and the characters were a bit superficial. That may be a feature of it being a novella, not a novel, but I fear not. The story line itself wasn't really engaging enough to make me care--I suspect if I didn't have a "completer obsession" I wouldn't have
Sep 20, 2012 Kyle rated it liked it
Just a short story, but Mathew Pearl is soooo good. His tongue-in-cheekiness plays perfectly into the true story of a murder on the campus of an 1840's University of Virginia. He introduces us to William Barton Rogers, who would one day become the founder of MIT but in this story is a regular Sherlock Holmes. I love Mathew Pearl, he is always spot-on and pitch-perfect, with his language, tone, atmosphere.... he just really knows how to tell a compelling story without out treating his audience ...more
Virginia Ullrich-serna
When I started this book I did not realize it was based on a true story. The riots over having guns on campus was such a current topic. It is an easy read, very straight forward. Professor Rogers is sort of an oddball on campus as he is the only hard scientist on the staff. Without his insistence and perseverance the murder would have gone unsolved. This book shows that the more things change the more they stay the same.
Aug 11, 2016 Jen rated it really liked it
Shelves: fiction, 4-star, read-2016
I would have quite happily read this as a full novel. I really enjoyed the Technologists and was so ex cited to learn that there was a standalone story about one of my favorite characters. It dealt with some harsh subject matter - he was a professor at a Southern university on the cusp of the Civil War - but not in a way that felt he like skirted it or played up to it. It did feel a little truncated in bits but I'm certain that's because of it being a short story rather than a novel.
Dec 21, 2012 Jamie rated it liked it
For the language alone, I will continue to read everything Matthew Pearl ever writes. He brings this period of time alive in such a natural way you think you can walk out your door and experience it.

This is a prequel to his novel "The Technologists", both of which use actual historical events in link with fabulous fiction.

Love him. Period.
Feb 27, 2012 Du rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
This was a fun read. It is short and acts as a good lead into the Technologists (coming soon to a library near me). I wonder if it was developed as the prologue for that book and then pulled aside for money making, lip whetting, purposes. I could see it being paired easily with the forthcoming book, from what I know of it.
Dec 23, 2011 Angie rated it liked it
A short story intended as an introduction to the wonderful book, The Technologists. It has the same flavor, a thriller set in the academic life of the mid-nineteenth century, but it is much more supeficial, as you would expcet of a short story. Enjoyable enough, but the novel is MUCH better!
Doc Kinne
Feb 26, 2012 Doc Kinne rated it liked it
Reasonable. Reasonable enough to keep Pearl's The Technologists on the reading list. It wasn't a life changing book by any means, but it was pretty good. I figure I'll like The Technologists more due to the setting.
Jeannie Donovan
Aug 29, 2012 Jeannie Donovan rated it really liked it

This short novella/prequel is intriguing and definitely whets my appetite for The Technologists! As a modern Virginian, it's fascinating; as an educator, as a history buff. At times it felt rushed and somewhat unresolved, but I have hope that the novel will resolve that.
Aug 27, 2013 Mairi rated it really liked it
Shelves: 2012
I enjoyed this. Not quite as much as I enjoyed The Technologists but had I stumbled upon this prequel prior to devouring the subsequent novel whole, I think it would've been all the more satisfying. As it stood, I enjoyed the story as a stand alone and perhaps a bit more for the tie-in.
Trevor Gray
May 27, 2014 Trevor Gray rated it liked it
Basically an intro story for the Technologists. Very straight forward unless something is revealed in the latter book that causes me to re-think.
Sep 21, 2013 SheLove2Read rated it it was ok
Shelves: 2012
Not really my cuppa tea but I don't read many historical mysteries. The sleuth in this story seemed very rigid but also a little bland for a man his age. Not a bad book but not one I enjoyed either.
Cristian Marrero
Apr 15, 2012 Cristian Marrero rated it liked it
I did like this little prequel to his new novel.
It was a quick read.
Too bad the ending wasn't more spiced up.
Daniel Araujo
Oct 06, 2015 Daniel Araujo rated it it was amazing
Shelves: matthew-pearl
Excelente. Como siempre mezclando datos históricos y su imaginación, Matthew sigo contando buenas historias. Y sirve como preámbulo para The Tecnologists.
David Schwan
This is an ok story. It is based on the real murder of a University of Virginia professor. Overall the story seemed somewhat contrived to introduce us to a character in the authors upcoming novel.
Jun 18, 2012 Maria rated it really liked it
it was an interesting storyline. I liked how it showed the way college was in the 1890s. I did think it ended rather abruptly, and I kind of wish it was longer.
Mar 10, 2014 Carla rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: read-in-2014
Eh, this was OK. It seemed to really want to create some suspense with the murder and flight, etc. but didn't really succeed. Strange lead-in to Pearl's new novel.
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Matthew Pearl is the author of the novels The Dante Club, The Poe Shadow, The Last Dickens, The Technologists, and The Last Bookaneer. His books have been New York Times bestsellers and international bestsellers translated into more than 30 languages. His nonfiction writing has appeared in the New York Times, the Wall Street Journal, the Boston Globe, and He has been heard on shows ...more
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