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Drood: A Novel Mass Market Paperback – Jan 1 2011


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Product Details

  • Mass Market Paperback: 976 pages
  • Publisher: Little, Brown and Company; Reprint edition (Jan. 1 2011)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0316120618
  • ISBN-13: 978-0316120616
  • Product Dimensions: 4.5 x 10.5 x 18.5 cm
  • Shipping Weight: 499 g
  • Average Customer Review: 3.7 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (10 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: #269,047 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)


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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful By Andre Farant TOP 500 REVIEWER on June 20 2011
Format: Mass Market Paperback Verified Purchase
Drood is a big, bold, ambitious piece of work and, though maybe a tad overlong and somewhat uneven, it is a unique and unforgettable read. Dan Simmons, whose previous novel, The Terror, I thoroughly enjoyed, endeavours to tell the (fictional) truth behind Charles Dickens' unfinished novel "The Mystery of Edwin Drood." Though this might be challenging enough, given that it would require that he, Simmons, research Dickens' life as well England of the mid-1800s, but he decided to write Drood in the first person with Dickens' friend and fellow writer, Wilkie Collins, as narrator. Simmons' job, and the resultant narrative, are further complicated by Collins' addiction to laudanum and documented mental instability. Collins is probably the most unreliable narrator I have read since Portnoy's Complaint.

Given these challenges with which Simmons has chosen to burden himself, one would expect that Drood would be an absolute mess, but Simmons is a true master and clearly up to the task. He creates in Collins not just an erratic and often confused narrator (and he certainly is that), but a fascinating, multi-layered character with a unique and engaging voice. Collins tells his tale with an eye towards maintaining his dignity and elevating his renown, but frequently comes off as petulant, bitter and cold. Though in lesser hands, Collins would have been an irritating and unlikeable narrator, Simmons ensures that Collins' flaws are amusing and entertaining rather than annoying and abrasive. We want to hear what Simmons' Wilkie has to say because he is flawed and, of course, because the tale he tells is an intriguing one.

But what of that tale? What is the book about, exactly? Well, it's about a very real train accident in which Dickens was involved.
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3 of 4 people found the following review helpful By Dave and Joe TOP 100 REVIEWER on Feb. 3 2010
Format: Hardcover
A huge book, a huge undertaking, a good bit of time ... it had better be worth it. Well, I finished this book because I started it - I'm kind of rule bound that way. However, the book, as others have said - starts off wonderfully. But it becomes mired down in drugs and drug deliriums (about as wonderful to read as dreams). The fact is that Wilke Collins does like the opium a bit too much ... but drug addicts just aren't interesting ... then or now. The last half of the book was just plain tiresome. Like a crackhead that won't shut up ...
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9 of 10 people found the following review helpful By Luanne Ollivier #1 HALL OF FAMETOP 10 REVIEWER on Feb. 27 2009
Format: Hardcover
Ohh - doesn't the cover just grab you? The script of the title, the foggy background, the mysterious figure in a top hat? It opens with Victorian thriller novelist Wilkie Collins as the narrator.

"This true story shall be about my friend (or at least about the man who was once my friend) Charles Dickens and about the Staplehurst accident that took away his peace of mind, his health, and, some might whisper, his sanity."

It is 1865 and Charles Dickens is riding a train that crashes, killing nearly all aboard. As Dickens tries to help survivors, he notices a tall, thin, pale man with a 'skull like visage', wearing a heavy black cape, also among the survivors. But those the caped man is attending to seem to die despite or as a result of his attentions. This mysterious figure, who introduces himself as Drood, comes to haunt Dickens. Dickens insists that Collins accompany him into the underbelly of London, into the sewers where it is rumoured that Drood may live. It is also rumoured that Drood is responsible for many murders. But Collins begins to believe that Drood does not exist, that Dickens may himself may be Drood.

Dan Simmons' research is detailed and extensive. He has recreated the friendship and rivalry between these two esteemed authors, whose works are known and loved over 150 years later. The social life, dialogue and historical details of Victorian London are impeccably described. I love this time period and Simmons has done an amazing job bringing it to life - opium dens, lime pits, crypts, mesmerism and the slums of London. I found myself taking side trips to the computer to follow up on many pieces of knowledge presented in the novel.
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5 of 6 people found the following review helpful By Nicola Manning-Mansfield HALL OF FAMETOP 50 REVIEWER on March 28 2009
Format: Hardcover
Where to start with a book of over 700 pages? If I were to have written this review immediately after finishing the book, and closing my hanging jaw, one word would have sufficed, "Wow!"

Wilkie Collins is the narrator of this book, being a memoir of his life from the time of The Woman in White's end of serialization to minutes before his death. Written in an authentic Victorian sensationalist novel voice the book is incredibly brilliant. What starts off as a simple tale of Collins' life and his friendship with Dickens takes a wild turn into murder, mayhem and the supernatural. The reader is taken along for a ride through opium dens, laudanum addiction, underground catacombs and an underground city in London, cemeteries and crypts, Egyptian cults, mesmerism as a science, and well, the list is endless. More of a summary would be a disservice to future readers. You must let the plot (or should I say multiple plots) unfold for yourself.

Filled with wonderful, eccentric characters; most of whom were actual real-life figures, one becomes fascinated with them all from the highest of character to the lowest of the low. As per a Dickens novel, the characters come and go, some shining briefly as main characters only to leave rather quickly while others are around from beginning to end. The writing is superb, simply superb. The Victorian style is followed to a "T", including having certain people named Mrs. G______ and swear words printed as d___n. Never does Simmons loose beat with the style and language of original Victorian novels. I presume this book is an homage to Wilkie Collins' style, but as I have never read him I can only surmise.
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