Tuesday, March 3, 2009

Drood by Dan Simmons

From the publishers: On June 9, 1865, while traveling by train to London with his secret mistress, 53-year-old Charles Dickens--at the height of his powers and popularity, the most famous and successful novelist in the world and perhaps in the history of the world--hurtled into a disaster that changed his life forever.
Did Dickens begin living a dark double life after the accident? Were his nightly forays into the worst slums of London and his deepening obsession with corpses, crypts, murder, opium dens, the use of lime pits to dissolve bodies, and a hidden subterranean London mere research . . . or something more terrifying?
Just as he did in The Terror, Dan Simmons draws impeccably from history to create a gloriously engaging and terrifying narrative. Based on the historical details of Charles Dickens''s life and narrated by Wilkie Collins (Dickens''s friend, frequent collaborator, and Salieri-style secret rival), DROOD explores the still-unsolved mysteries of the famous author''s last years and may provide the key to Dickens''s final, unfinished work: The Mystery of Edwin Drood. Chilling, haunting, and utterly original, DROOD is Dan Simmons at his powerful best.

My review:
I quite enjoyed this book. It was a little long but if you're able to keep reading you get hooked. I found it amazing how Simmons was able to incorporate so many facts about Charles Dickens' life into the novel. The narrator, Wilkie Collins, is unreliable at best. As a reader you have to try to figure out what is really happening and what is a part of Wilkie's laudenum induced hallucinations. Even at the end of the novel you are never quite sure if Drood ever really existed. Some of the book got a little long winded but I think it all went to setting the scene. I have to say that I am also unimpressed with Dickens as a character. Not that the writing was bad but regardless of biographies on Dickens I have always had a deluded image of him in my mind. That being said, Dickens in this book was an arrogant know it all who had no problem letting people know exactly what he thought. I would definitely not enjoy knowing a man like that. The book was macabre but it drew me in from the beginning to the end. I give it 4 out of 5 stars

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