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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: 10.8 x 4.4 x 19 cm
  • Shipping Weight: 499 g
  • Average Customer Review: 3.7 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (10 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: #356,260 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Product Description

Review

"A dazzling journey through a crooked, gaslit labyrinth and a tenebrous portraiture of the tortured minotaurs that dwell within. Genius is the true mystery, and at its edge--the abyss." (Guillermo del Toro, writer and director of The Devil's Backbone and Pan's Labyrinth)

"Simmons is always good but DROOD is a masterwork of narrative suspense." (Entertainment Weekly Stephen King) --This text refers to the Hardcover edition.

About the Author

Dan Simmons is the award-winning author of several novels, including the New York Times bestsellers Olympos and The Terror. He lives in Colorado.

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Customer Reviews

3.7 out of 5 stars
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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 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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Format: Hardcover
I often enjoy Dan Simmons' work, but this was a bit of a disappointment.

The story chronicles several years in the lives of the novelists Charles Dickens and Wilkie Collins and their contented worlds coming into violent conflict with the corruptive influences of the ghoulish, seemingly supernatural criminal Drood. What actually happens between Dickens and Drood from their first meeting at a messy train accident, through years of furtive contact in the ground down slums of London, is a great part of the mystery that drives the novel forward.

The ultimate explanation, however, is underwhelming and unimaginative. Perhaps for a book half Drood's length, it would suffice; but at an investment of nearly 800 pages, the conclusion comes off as stale and a little too convenient. In the considerable interim, the novel is a fairly mundane treatment of the competitive friendship between the two novelists, with a focus on Simmons explaining the historical record of the two men in the terms of the supernatural thriller he's writing. As the narrator becomes increasingly petty and curmudgeonly, I found my interest waning.

Still, the book paints an intriguing and detailed picture of the time period, and grants a compelling look at the world of Dickens and some of his less familiar associates. And aspects such as some of Collins' peculiar neuroses add some interest throughout. The novel also shows Simmons' prose reaching new heights, and it would be hard to be unimpressed with the creative feat of plausibly telling such an outlandish tale about well-documented historical figures.

In the end, there's a lot to admire about the book, but somewhat less to enjoy.
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