Set in Edwardian London and on the stormy coasts of Cornwall, Cape Cod, and Nova Scotia, Thunderstruck evokes the dynamism of those years when great shipping companies competed to build the biggest, fastest ocean liners; scientific advances dazzled the public with visions of a world transformed; and the rich outdid one another with ostentatious displays of wealth. Against this background, Marconi races against incredible odds and relentless skepticism to perfect his invention: the wireless, a prime catalyst for the emergence of the world we know today. Meanwhile, Crippen, "the kindest of men", nearly commits the perfect crime.
With his superb narrative skills, Erik Larson guides these parallel narratives toward a relentlessly suspenseful meeting on the waters of the North Atlantic. Along the way, he tells of a sad and tragic love affair that was described on the front pages of newspapers around the world, a chief inspector who found himself strangely sympathetic to the killer and his lover, and a driven and compelling inventor who transformed the way we communicate.
Thunderstruck presents a vibrant portrait of an era of séances, science, and fog, inhabited by inventors, magicians, and Scotland Yard detectives, all presided over by the amiable and fun-loving Edward VII as the world slid inevitably toward the first great war of the 20th century.
Gripping from the start, and rich with fascinating detail about the time, the people, and the new inventions that connect and divide us, Thunderstruck is splendid narrative history from a master of the form.
©2006 Erik Larson; (P)2006 Random House, Inc.
"Larson has a knack for creating genuine suspense in his writing, and his latest is thoroughly enthralling." (Booklist)
"Splendid, beautifully written....Thunderstruck triumphantly resurrects the spirit of another age." (Publishers Weekly)
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I like history, so this was a good book. It's a bit choppy going in between Marconi and the radio, and the actual murder though. The unabridged may be a bit better for those that want to get to the point. There have been some recent developments in this case since the book that you may want to look at after you listen to this book.
This would have been better if it had been written as a science history book which is how it read. The murder mystery part of it was lost in the science history of telegraph communications.
This is not a novel so much as it is a history lesson. I got all the way through it and I do not regret the purchase, but be warned, its less story and more fact in chronological order.
I enjoyed the story, but I was having a hard time listening to more than a half hour at a time. It took me half the book to realize the reading was very disjointed. The narrator seemed to add a comma to almost every sentence, breaking them up into short, choppy sections, and this made it very hard to listen to.
The story by Larsen was what I have come to expect from him after reading one and listening to another of his books.
While perhaps not up to the level of Devil in the White City, I found Thunderstruck completely captivating. Just as in his previous book, both plots are very engaging. As the author admits in the prologue, sometimes the detail is just a bit over the top, but the vast majority of the time the extra bits of trivia are quite interesting.
While the narrator starts out speaking quickly at the very beginning (and only the beginning), I had no other issues with the narration. It was clear and never detracted from the story.
Resides in Elkton, M.D. (but my heart belongs in Upstate, N.Y.)
Feeling the tension of Marconi, and the ignorance of Belle, and the love between the two.(No spoilers)
When they talk about the retrieval of Belle
I couldn't it was to long. I read it in a day.
Erik Larson is such a fine writer. I would love to sit down and talk with him sometime. Please write about WW 2- Pearl Harbor, Edward 6, Titanic etc
To start out with main story without all the history leading up to it.
To detailed in science
He didn't have much to work with.
The entire beginning. He looses the ready very quickly.
I think this is on the second book I wished I hadn't purchased in all the years with Audio Books.
Another solid outing by Larson. This time, he examines Marconi and the invention/development/deployment of wireless telegraphy, and how that cutting edge technology led to the apprehension of Dr. Crippen (famous for murdering his wife). Larson, as always, has done his historical homework, and he builds the suspense by tracking both Marconi and Crippen from early adulthood to their convergence (or at least the convergence of Marconi's device and Crippen's fate) by laying out what was happening in their lives and the world. You come away feeling pity for Crippen and his poor choice of life partner, and with admiration tinged with some annoyance for Marconi, who had character flaws aplenty. An interesting look at how technology shrunk the world and a reminder that the public's breathless voyeurism is not a 21st century invention.
Interesting topic, but the narrator did nothing to bring it to life. At points it sounded like he was just reading words out loud with zero awareness of what he was saying; he occasionally sounded surprised that they're were no more words (ie he had reached the end of a chapter). Also, the production quality was inconsistent between chapters. I wish that I had just read this one myself.
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