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' life and narrated by Wilkie Collins (Dickens' 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.
©2009 Dan Simmons; (P)2009 Dan Simmons
I can hardly say how much I loved this book! It kept me fascinated (and up way too late at night) from beginning to end, and it has also opened up new literary doors for me that are just as interesting and exciting. This book will haunt you, as its main character, real-life writer and sometimes collaborator of Dickins, Wilkie Collins is haunted in the story. Since listening to this book a few weeks ago, I have now also heard the original "Mystery of Edwin Drood" and several of Collins' stories. I have also, unfortunately, wasted the time and money spent on "The Last Dickins" by Matthew Pearl (separate review on that book). The narration in "Drood" is excellent, the storyline enthralling, and the story SO well told. You sometimes do not know if you are listening to a story brought on by opium-induced hallucination or perhaps mesmerism (hypnosis), or neither. The tie-in with the characters of the real unfinished "Edwin Drood" story is seamless and inspired -- by the time you read/listen to the Dickins' original you feel that you already know so much behind-the-scenes information that you feel like a knowing "insider". I am now anxious to read some of the fanciful endings for "The Mystery of Edwin Drood" written over the years, and more Dickins, and Collins, of course. At 10-1/2 hours, this book is too short. What a shame is was abridged! In fact, when it had ended, rather than starting on my next book, I went back to the beginning and listened for another hour or so.
What a great book this is!
I enjoyed the Dickensian style, the intertwined themes, the characters and the underlying mythic story. Simmons may be an acquired taste but I've enjoyed all the material I've read by him. I should say that the narrator was perfect for this read.
I loved this story because the characters are as mysterious and creepy as those of Poe. The plaguing madness and lifelong contempt between Collins and Dickens reminds me very much of that which Salieri had for Mozart in the movie Amadeus. I loved wondering who was more mad. Possibly could do without a few bits in the middle of the book, but I wouldn't want to trim it down much at all. Overall, a very intriguing story. Of course brought to life exponentially by such a strong narrator.
I enjoyed this over The Terror by Simmons, but what really stood out was Simon Prebble's narration. Wow, he captured the emotions and various stages of each of the character's lives. I felt I was taken away to 19th C. England. It was awesome!
A cracking good listen that had me enthralled from the beginning. And anyone familiar with the life and works of Dickens and Collins will be fascinated: The author has ingeniously woven fact into an elaborate story that mimics the genre of both writers. This is a very clever, very enjoyable piece of fiction, made all the better by superb narration. Dickens murdering Nancy was a highlight for me.
I didn't realize until too late that this was an abridged version. It felt choppy, as abridgements always do, but it was still fantastic. Simon Vance is pitch perfect, as usual. I enjoyed this so much, I am feeling an urge to read the complete written version, which at over 700 pages, is a bit daunting for something you just heard via Audible. But Simmons' writing is so filled with small perfect details, I can't stand to think of what I have missed. Excellent.
Dickens on Drugs
Great depiction of Dickensian England, and Charles Dickens the man as seen through the eyes of his colleague and fellow writer, Wilkie Collins. Suspenseful, although it carries the device of the "unreliable narrator" to new extremes. Collins has a bit of a "laudanum" habit and tends to hallucinate at times confounding the reader (or listener) as to what is real and what is not in the plot. This can sometimes be a bit confusing.
No - but he is a really good narrator and actor. Really the best I've heard from Audible.
It kept me 100% engaged.
Could hardly wait for this to be over. Kept thinking I had missed something. But I didn't. Just seemed to have something missing from the story.
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