Liked It3 of 3 members found this review helpful
“In the same way that Stephen King began to branch out of the horror genre, so it appears is Dan Simmons branching out of the sci-fi and fantasy nook. Two years ago, he blended a historic novel with elements of horror and sci-fi for "The Terror." Now he blends together historical elements with...”see full review » see other reviews »
Didn’t Like It1 of 1 members found this review helpful
“I don't read a ton of fiction and this was a long slog, endured for two reasons. First that it would shed light on the real Charles Dickens, which to a degree it did, and second in the hope that the ending would compensate for the overly long (770 pages) tale, which it decidedly did not.”see full review » see other reviews »
“This books tells an alternate story about the last years of the life of Charles Dickens. Narrated by Wilkie Collins, Dickens' protege, this original novel starts with the Dicken's near death experience at the Staplehurst train derailment. While attempting to help the injured, Dickens catches sight of a black clad figure flitting from body to body.
As Dickens tells it, this man is a master practitioner of mesmerism and is linked to numerous shady dealings in a secret crime city located in the catacombs of London. Collins soon finds himself sucked into Dickens' double life and obsession with the nefarious Drood. Just who is this man/monster, and what does he want with the two famous English novelists?
This book is unlike anything I've ever read. I love Simmons' unique blending of historical fiction and fantasy. Every line is well-written and chillingly real.”
“I read The Terror several years ago, and was enthralled by it. I resolved to read Drood on my experience with The Terror alone, but to be honest was always daunted by its size. I can read a brick by Stephen King any day, but Dan Simmons at that size just seemed a little too much. However, finding it on CD made my decision for me, and I am certainly glad I took the time to listen. Not only was the story masterfully written, combining what I guess is actual Charles Dickens history with truly dark and convoluted fiction (I am not a Dickens reader, so know little about him as a person), but it also offered nice glimpses of The Terror in its back story. Great connection there! Drood was heavily dense, as I expected, and as dark and frightening as most anything I have read. Some of the most frightening aspects of the story concerned the narrator, rather than the antagonist. I hesitate to say more for fear of spoilers, but suffice to say Drood is not the only evil in this book! I highly recommend it to any lover of horror, Victorian literature, and mysteries, as long as one has the stomach for it...”Wayne M wrote this review 4 weeks ago. ( reply | permalink ) Was this review helpful? Yes | No
“Charles Dickens died in 1870, leaving “The Mystery of Edwin Drood” unfinished. This book is an account of the last five years of Dickens’ life, as chronicled by his friend and colleague, Wilkie Collins.
But Collins has a dark secret: a criminal mastermind named Drood has implanted a Scarab in Wilkie’s brain, and it’s all Dickens’ fault.
But Collins is addicted to laudanum, opium, and morphine, and may be under a posthypnotic suggestion as well. Can we trust anything he tells us?
While there may be matter of historical and biographical importance here, this is really a horror novel, and a horrifying one at that.
“About the 5 last years in the life of Charles Dickens.”Kris Van der Plas wrote this review Saturday, January 26, 2013. ( reply | permalink ) Was this review helpful? Yes | No
“This book is a real page turner! ”Measure62 wrote this review Monday, January 21, 2013. ( reply | permalink ) Was this review helpful? Yes | No
“This is an interesting historical fiction novel that includes many historically accurate facts about the life of Charles Dickens. The book is a long one, but if you enjoy reading nineteenth century fiction set in London this might be the title for you. But beware you will be unable resisting the urge to do some followup research on the life of Mr. Dickens.”M. Adams wrote this review Friday, January 4, 2013. ( reply | permalink ) Was this review helpful? Yes | No
“A long book by any standards, it was engaging and interesting the whole way. The main characters were contemptible and tragic by turns, and the finale was very much in the spirit of the book. Highly recommended.”Brian H. wrote this review Friday, December 21, 2012. ( reply | permalink ) Was this review helpful? Yes | No
“Simmons' tale of envy, opium, creepy supernatural hallucinations(?), and
Victorian literary trivia is a wonderfully rich, detailed, and
semi-fictional account of the last 5 years of Dickens' life and the
inspiration for Dickens' final unfinished work "The Mystery of Edwin
Drood" , told from the increasingly unreliable and opium-addled point of
view of Wilkie Collins, Dickens' collaborator, friend, and occassional
confidant. Unreliable narrators require a very close reading of the
text and this one is no exception. The consistent criticism of the book
is that it's a bit overlong. While I don't disagree, the length didn't
bother me as it gave Simmons space to trace the slow descent of Collins
into his near-murderous madness. The story is dense and intricately
plotted, with plenty of suggested side plots and red herrings. Normally
I'd find such loose ends frustrating, but with such an unreliable
(though interesting and ultimately reprehensible) narrator, I didn't
really mind. The book is pure Victoriana, with plenty of
tidbits/factoids about Collins and Dickens and allusions to Poe,
Sherlock Holmes, and even the Franklin Arctic Expedition which Simmons'
tackled in his excellent novel, "The Terror." A fine excusion into some
dirtier parts of 1860s London.
While some reviewers got frustrated with the lack of focus on the
Dickens/Drood mystery (was there really a mysterious soul-stealing
monster out to torment Dickens and Collins? Was there a secret
undergound society of Egyptian mysticism right underneath London's
streets?), I found the portrayal of Collins the most enjoyable and
interesting part of the novel. He is a thoroughly reprehensible
individual. Completely immoral and without principle, his envy of
Dickens becomes so all-consuming that his rationalizations for his
actions or his interpretations of events is almost comical in their
single minded focus on Dickens being the sole cause of all evil (he
can't ever mention one of Dickens' works without also noting that one of
HIS works sold just a little better). That this is done all the while
maintaining the pretense of the upstanding British Gentleman is just
icing on the hypocritical cake.”
This novel seemed increasingly boring as I continued reading well into the half way point of the book, but once there, the novel takes off at a break neck pace. This is a novel about two famous writers solving a mystery - however at the end the reader still feels as though the mystery is still unsolved as there are so many different ways to interpret the course of events in the novel. Below are a few excerpts from a Drood review:
In 1865, when Charles Dickens was fifty-three, he, his companion Ellen Ternan and her mother were in the first class cabin of a train that derailed in Staplehurst, England.Dan Simmons uses this real event as the launching point for a historical novel that fictionalizes the final five years of Dickens' life.
The story takes Dickens and Collins into a parallel, dark London that exists in the sewers beneath the city on a rendezvous with the mysterious and menacing Drood. The novel is written in Dickensian style—with frequent cliffhangers and portents of doom—and language, which takes a while to get used to.
Late in the novel, a visit to a lime pit near a secret burial ground raises the possibility of murder—was Dickens responsible for the disappearance of a young man whose trust fund he oversaw? And is Wilkie Collins, who regularly visits opium dens and has a nontraditional lifestyle that puts him at odds with contemporary mores, capable of killing? The book is driven by mystery and intrigue, but, as with any Victorian novel, there is so much more going on, all of which combines to make a delightful and entertaining novel.”