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Drood

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Drood Cover

ISBN13: 9780316007023
ISBN10: 0316007021
Condition: Standard
Dustjacket: Standard
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Review-A-Day

"On June 9, 1865, Charles Dickens was returning from a trip to Paris, traveling by train from Folkestone to London. As the train approached the river Beult near Staplehurst, the rail viaduct spanning the river collapsed. Incredibly, the engine was able to jump the 45-foot gap between the rails, but six of seven private passenger cars fell to the swampy riverbed below. Dickens was seated in the one private car that was spared. Descending to the crash victims, the great English writer witnessed scenes of death and carnage that would haunt him for the remaining five years of his life.

What happened to Dickens after Staplehurst is the subject of Dan Simmons's new novel, Drood, a work that is equal parts historical fiction, horror, and mystery." Bob Hussey, Rain Taxi (Read the entire Rain Taxi review)

Synopses & Reviews

Publisher Comments:

On June 9, 1865, while traveling by train to London with his secret mistress, 53-year-old Charles Dickens — at the height of his powers and popularity, the most famous and successful novelist in the world and perhaps in the history of the world — hurtled into a disaster that changed his life forever.

Did Dickens begin living a dark double life after the accident? Were his nightly forays into the worst slums of London and his deepening obsession with corpses, crypts, murder, opium dens, the use of lime pits to dissolve bodies, and a hidden subterranean London mere research...or something more terrifying?

Just as he did in The Terror, Dan Simmons draws impeccably from history to create a gloriously engaging and terrifying narrative. Based on the historical details of Charles Dickens's life and narrated by Wilkie Collins (Dickens's friend, frequent collaborator, and Salieri-style secret rival), Drood explores the still-unsolved mysteries of the famous author's last years and may provide the key to Dickens's final, unfinished work: The Mystery of Edwin Drood. Chilling, haunting, and utterly original, Drood is Dan Simmons at his powerful best.

Review:

"Bestseller Simmons (The Terror) brilliantly imagines a terrifying sequence of events as the inspiration for Dickens's last, uncompleted novel, The Mystery of Edwin Drood, in this unsettling and complex thriller. In the course of narrowly escaping death in an 1865 train wreck and trying to rescue fellow passengers, Dickens encounters a ghoulish figure named Drood, who had apparently been traveling in a coffin. Along with his real-life novelist friend Wilkie Collins, who narrates the tale, Dickens pursues the elusive Drood, an effort that leads the pair to a nightmarish world beneath London's streets. Collins begins to wonder whether the object of their quest, if indeed the man exists, is merely a cover for his colleague's own murderous inclinations. Despite the book's length, readers will race through the pages, drawn by the intricate plot and the proliferation of intriguing psychological puzzles, which will remind many of the work of Charles Palliser and Michael Cox. 4-city author tour. (Feb.)" Publishers Weekly (Starred Review) (Copyright Reed Business Information, Inc.)

Review:

"My name is Wilkie Collins," announces the narrator of "Drood," "and my guess, since I plan to delay the publication of this document for at least a century and a quarter beyond the date of my demise, is that you do not recognise my name."

Au contraire, Wilkie! We know and love you still. Has any thriller ever boasted a better opening sequence than your "Woman in White"? Has any detective... Washington Post Book Review (read the entire Washington Post review)

Synopsis:

Based on the historical details of Charles Dickens' life, Drood explores the still-unsolved mysteries of the famous author's last years and may provide the key to his final, unfinished work: The Mystery of Edwin Drood.

About the Author

Dan Simmons is the award-winning author of several novels, including the New York Times bestsellers Olympos and The Terror. He lives in Colorado.

What Our Readers Are Saying

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Average customer rating based on 8 comments:

Manek, August 30, 2010 (view all comments by Manek)
Loved this book. It's long and filled with digressions, but they're all fascinating. The characters are engaging and interesting, especially Wilkie Collins (who narrates the book). Makes me want to read The Woman in White (and maybe even some of his other works).
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(1 of 2 readers found this comment helpful)
Kristen M, May 26, 2010 (view all comments by Kristen M)
Simmons obviously did copious amounts of research and he has possibly included every biographical fact about Dickens and Collins that is available. He has written a very tangible portrait of London, especially its seamy underbelly, in the late 19th century. Unfortunately, I didn't enjoy this book as I thought I would. Many of the highly positive reviews I have read of the novel mention that the reader hasn't read much or any of Dickens or Collins books. I, on the other hand, have read many of their stories and I just didn't find the writing convincing as the work of a 19th century novelist, especially Collins, whose style I am very familiar with. The writing isn't bad, it just isn't this particular novelist's voice.

I also disliked the way that Dickens and Collins were portrayed. I have read books where some of my literary heroes, both fictional (Sherlock Holmes) and non-fictional (Edgar Allan Poe), have been turned into villains but they were still always written as true to character. This book takes liberties with the character and habits of these men to a degree that I was uncomfortable with. I worry that this book will give people false impressions of these men and their works.

I did enjoy the way that Simmons incorporated novels such as Bleak House and The Moonstone into the book. There were some interesting insights into the books and the process of writing a serialized novel. I also appreciated the emphasis on some of the social issues of the time -- the same issues that Dickens himself wrote about -- especially poverty.

This was a unique story but I think that some parts were just a bit too far-fetched and violent and the ending seemed rushed. After over 750 pages, I would have appreciated a bit more closure. If you haven't read any books by Charles Dickens or Wilkie Collins and are interested in them, go pick up a nice Oxford edition and read the biographical information at the beginning. If you want a Victorian thriller and don't mind if the characters are true-to-life, this book is for the most part entertaining.
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(1 of 1 readers found this comment helpful)
JustJulie, July 11, 2009 (view all comments by JustJulie)
I have encouraged friends to read this book, but when they look at the length of it, they balk. Don't let the length turn you away. This is one of the most compelling novels I have read in the past few months (and I read four a month!)

Others have commented on the book here. What I would like to add to their comments is that the story of Drood, while a story of the relationship between Dickens and Collins and a marvelous image of the times these men lived in, the novel seemed to be almost a mirror image of Dickens's decription of his mystery about Edmond Drood. And even at the end of both men's lives, one is still not certain whose image of Drood is the most accurate.

Very entertaining and well worth the read! Now I must go reread Dickens and Collins both.
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Product Details

ISBN:
9780316007023
Subtitle:
A Novel
Author:
Simmons, Dan
Author:
Prebble, Simon
Publisher:
Little, Brown and Company
Subject:
Thrillers
Subject:
History
Subject:
19th century
Subject:
Historical fiction
Subject:
Mystery fiction
Subject:
Popular Fiction-Contemporary Thrillers
Subject:
Historical
Copyright:
Edition Description:
Mass market paperback
Publication Date:
20100208
Binding:
CD-audio
Language:
English
Pages:
976
Dimensions:
8.25 x 5.5 x 1.5 in 1.57 lb

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Related Subjects

Fiction and Poetry » Horror » General
Fiction and Poetry » Literature » A to Z
Fiction and Poetry » Mystery » A to Z
Fiction and Poetry » Popular Fiction » Contemporary Thrillers
Fiction and Poetry » Science Fiction and Fantasy » A to Z

Drood Used Hardcover
0 stars - 0 reviews
$5.50 In Stock
Product details 976 pages Little Brown and Company - English 9780316007023 Reviews:
"Publishers Weekly Review" by , "Bestseller Simmons (The Terror) brilliantly imagines a terrifying sequence of events as the inspiration for Dickens's last, uncompleted novel, The Mystery of Edwin Drood, in this unsettling and complex thriller. In the course of narrowly escaping death in an 1865 train wreck and trying to rescue fellow passengers, Dickens encounters a ghoulish figure named Drood, who had apparently been traveling in a coffin. Along with his real-life novelist friend Wilkie Collins, who narrates the tale, Dickens pursues the elusive Drood, an effort that leads the pair to a nightmarish world beneath London's streets. Collins begins to wonder whether the object of their quest, if indeed the man exists, is merely a cover for his colleague's own murderous inclinations. Despite the book's length, readers will race through the pages, drawn by the intricate plot and the proliferation of intriguing psychological puzzles, which will remind many of the work of Charles Palliser and Michael Cox. 4-city author tour. (Feb.)" Publishers Weekly (Starred Review) (Copyright Reed Business Information, Inc.)
"Review A Day" by , "On June 9, 1865, Charles Dickens was returning from a trip to Paris, traveling by train from Folkestone to London. As the train approached the river Beult near Staplehurst, the rail viaduct spanning the river collapsed. Incredibly, the engine was able to jump the 45-foot gap between the rails, but six of seven private passenger cars fell to the swampy riverbed below. Dickens was seated in the one private car that was spared. Descending to the crash victims, the great English writer witnessed scenes of death and carnage that would haunt him for the remaining five years of his life.

What happened to Dickens after Staplehurst is the subject of Dan Simmons's new novel, Drood, a work that is equal parts historical fiction, horror, and mystery." Bob Hussey, Rain Taxi (Read the entire Rain Taxi review)

"Synopsis" by , Based on the historical details of Charles Dickens' life, Drood explores the still-unsolved mysteries of the famous author's last years and may provide the key to his final, unfinished work: The Mystery of Edwin Drood.
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