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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. Random House Audio, a division of Random House, Inc.

Critic Reviews

"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 Ratings

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  • Overall
    3 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    4 out of 5 stars
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    3 out of 5 stars

Again?

Larson struck gold with The Devil in the White City, and he decided to go back to the well again. He again tries to pair a crime with an event, this time the invention and development of the radio by Marconi. Larson doesn’t really explain the science behind radio waves and Marconi was an obsessed, unpleasant but ultimately not very interesting man. The famous Crippen Case was interesting but the most fascinating part, how the crime was committed, is drawn only in outline. And the two stories have a weak linkage. The are two parallel tales. Not a terrible read but this one should not win an Edgar.

1 of 1 people found this review helpful

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    4 out of 5 stars
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Great story

I enjoyed the story very much. It was a superbly written book about an era I love, the turn of the last century. I did not care for the significantly over dramatic tone of the narrator. I felt like I was listening to a 1950's radio commercial where every syllable of every word is over annunciated. Some listeners may enjoy that style. It is just not my preference. I do recommend the book though, especially if you enjoyed Mr Larson's other book , Devil in the White City.

1 of 1 people found this review helpful

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educational entertainment

fascinating way of intertwining two historical stories--one well known and the other not as much

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Solid read

Would you listen to Thunderstruck again? Why?

No, I only listen to stuff once.

Did the plot keep you on the edge of your seat? How?

Nice storyline I enjoyed it.

Any additional comments?

Typical Larson read I look forward to my next purchase of his material.

0 of 2 people found this review helpful