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Thunderstruck Audiobook
Thunderstruck
Written by: 
Erik Larson
Narrated by: 
Bob Balaban
Thunderstruck Audiobook

Thunderstruck

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Publisher's Summary

In Thunderstruck, Erik Larson tells the interwoven stories of two men: Hawley Crippen, a very unlikely murderer, and Guglielmo Marconi, the obsessive creator of a seemingly supernatural means of communication. Their lives intersect during one of the greatest criminal chases of all time.

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.

What the Critics Say

"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)

What Members Say

Average Customer Rating

3.9 (1078 )
5 star
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4.0 (678 )
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4.1 (675 )
5 star
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3 star
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2 star
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1 star
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Performance
Sort by:
  •  
    Claire 08-08-07
    Claire 08-08-07
    HELPFUL VOTES
    3
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    "All facts, no story"

    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.

    2 of 3 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Mark 02-13-07
    Mark 02-13-07
    HELPFUL VOTES
    2
    ratings
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    5
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    Overall
    "Too long, rather pointless"

    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.

    2 of 3 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Darryl Cedar Rapids, IA, United States 01-05-07
    Darryl Cedar Rapids, IA, United States 01-05-07 Member Since 2008
    HELPFUL VOTES
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    258
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    Overall
    "very good"

    very good story, but i think the book is misconstructed in a couple of important ways and might have moved quicker. non-fiction buffs will still enjoy it i should think

    2 of 3 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Robert Shelbyville, KY, USA 12-06-06
    Robert Shelbyville, KY, USA 12-06-06
    HELPFUL VOTES
    7
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    10
    6
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    "hard to listen to"

    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.

    2 of 3 people found this review helpful
  •  
    miyaker 09-19-08
    miyaker 09-19-08 Member Since 2001
    HELPFUL VOTES
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    9
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    "Excellent Book, Narration is fine"

    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.

    3 of 5 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Ioannis 06-27-16
    Ioannis 06-27-16 Member Since 2016
    ratings
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    Story
    "Captivating story and so informative"

    I love how Erik Larson weaves good and bad parts of particular times together, and the details of all information related to the topic is explored. a most interesting and informative read. second time I have read this story.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Rioux Clan 02-15-16
    Rioux Clan 02-15-16 Member Since 2008
    HELPFUL VOTES
    1
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    7
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    "Very good read!"

    Very interesting and, at times, really gripping. Eric Lawson is an excellent writer. Very good read!

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Linda K. Neville 02-03-16 Member Since 2015
    ratings
    REVIEWS
    11
    3
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    Performance
    Story
    "Narrator or Story: Sonething's Not Working"
    What disappointed you about Thunderstruck?

    I've loved Erik's other books. All of them. This one drags and drags. Not sure if it's the story or the narration. I'll probably check out a hard copy since Erik is one of my favorite authors.


    Would you recommend Thunderstruck to your friends? Why or why not?

    No. It's slow and goes on and on.


    Who would you have cast as narrator instead of Bob Balaban?

    Scott Brick, Bianca Amato, Jill Tanner, Simon Vance, to name a few.


    If you could play editor, what scene or scenes would you have cut from Thunderstruck?

    A little more detail to help lock characters in my brain. People detail, not scientific detail.


    Any additional comments?

    Still love Erik Larson.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Sherry United States 01-24-16
    Sherry United States 01-24-16 Member Since 2013
    HELPFUL VOTES
    2
    ratings
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    5
    2
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    Performance
    Story
    "Boring"
    What disappointed you about Thunderstruck?

    It was incredibly boring. I kept reading, thinking it would improve, but had to stop.


    Would you ever listen to anything by Erik Larson again?

    Yes. Devil in The White City is excellent. I'm reading it now.


    What does Bob Balaban bring to the story that you wouldn’t experience if you just read the book?

    Nothing. The reader's voice couldn't help this one.


    You didn’t love this book... but did it have any redeeming qualities?

    It would be very interesting for a ham radio or other such technical person.


    Any additional comments?

    I want my credit back!

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  •  
    KismetKat11 04-10-15
    KismetKat11 04-10-15 Member Since 2007

    My favorite genre is Mysteries. Thank you Audible for keeping me company on my commute, doing chores, etc. What a treat!

    HELPFUL VOTES
    39
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    "Interesting but Larson has done better"
    Would you try another book from Erik Larson and/or Bob Balaban?

    Yes, I love the way Erik Larson often contrasts to simultaneous stories showing an intersection one might not have otherwise recognized. However, I found Bob Balaban's narration to be a bit annoying. He sometimes would talk "up", ending a sentence as if it were a question. Also, it's a pet peeve when people mispronounce the names of places. Slough, UK is pronounced like "Plow" (with the 'gh' at the end silent), not like "Fluff".


    What was the most interesting aspect of this story? The least interesting?

    I was really more drawn to the Crippen storyline. I was less interested in how many towers Marconi built and where he built them.


    Did Bob Balaban do a good job differentiating all the characters? How?

    N/A, this was a narration.


    If this book were a movie would you go see it?

    I don't think so. I know the story and don't feel that visuals would add anything.


    1 of 1 people found this review helpful

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