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)
I've always enjoyed Erik Larsons novels but this one was a little slow and dragged out. It almost gave too much detail bordering on boring at times.
I am usually a fan of Balaban's acting and am always a fan of Erik Larson. This book was an exciting find for me.
However, Balaban's reading of this tedious rendition of curiously disparate facts was punishing. He sounded like he was reading the phone book against his will.
I forced myself to stick it out several hours hoping he (and I) would warm up. Neither of us did.
Save your credits. SKIP THIS BOOK.
I loved In the Garden of Beasts and Devil in the White City, but this one's more of a dud. Harder to stay interested. Sadly, a bit of a bore, which is too bad. I am glad I learned more about the birth of wireless though.
Great novel by an extraordinary author. Its fast pace and details sends the reader on a journey that weaves historical events into a wonderfully taunt novel!
Fans of "Devil in the White City" will recognize the formula. Way too much information on Short wave radio. You almost sympathize with Dr. Crippen when he finally commits his famous murder.
Very well written, fabulous use of language. All read. No skipping or noise in the recording.
Yes, I have read Larson's books before and they are good. This one was NOT one of his best.
I am not sure. The story about Marconi is kind of mind numbing and he apparently was a real piece of crap elitist so it's hard to get into his character or what he did (though granted, what he did was help usher in the modern era). The Crippen story is told in such a lackluster way that it's not very interesting. So I do not really think I would.
No, just pay better attention to Larson's books.
If you are not into science and find some characters are just so very hard to like (Marconi for instance) then you might not like this. The crime seems to take a backseat to the murder and the chase.
Unless I missed it, the book did not say that they have determined the remains in the Crippen basement were that of a male and records in America seem to indicate his wife left him and perhaps dictated a letter to have sent to him telling him that she was sorry but she was not coming forward.
England hung and innocent man but honestly back then, it would be hard to think he was anything but guilty.
I love to read, but these days I have less time so I do Whisper Sync with my Kindle and both read and listen to the same books. Love!
Yes, if you like science and like murder mysteries. It got a little long in the parts about the telegraphy and I think there could have been less detail with the same results.
The disappearance of Belle and the investigation of her disappearance.
The scenes on the ship at the end of the novel, when they are catching up with the Doctor.
No. It took a while to get through. You really have to pay attention. The detail on the telegraphy and that history could have been shorter. It tended to get long and boring, especially at the beginning.
The Devil in the White City is my favorite Erik Larson book, and this one was good, but not as good.
The History details.
I like detailed history. But I kept waiting for the grand murder story. Didn't happen. Not worth listening too, i would not recommend.
Speaker, Coach, Author - in Reno, NV (A GREAT place!) I've been an avid Audible fan for several years. Listen on my iPhone many hours each week.
Since Devil in the White City is what I'm measuring his books against, that is a TOUGH act to follow. However, I learned a great deal from this book and enjoyed it and am looking tonight for another one of Erik Larson's books. I'm convinced that I like him and the way he creates a story!
I always enjoy Erik Larson's way of blending historical facts and events with the seedy, sometimes gory details of true crime. While the subject matter is not as sinister as Devil in the White City, the book does not disappoint. Exploring Marconi's invention of the radio, something which we take for granted in today's world as practically passe, Larson weaves in a tale of murder which would seemingly have nothing to do with it. And yet, as ever, it all comes together in the end. A very good listen to anyone who enjoys true crime, biographies, or both.
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