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Great Train Robbery [Hardcover]

Michael Crichton
4.6 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (98 customer reviews)

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Book Description

June 6 1976
"A nineteenth-century version of THE STING...Crichton fascinates us."
THE NEW YORK TIMES BOOK REVIEW
In teeming Victorian London, where lavish wealth and appalling poverty live side by side, Edward Pierce charms the most prominent of the well-to-do as he cunningly orchestrates the crime of the century. Who would suspect that a gentleman of breeding could mastermind the daring theft of a fortune in gold? Who could predict the consequences of making the extraordinary robbery aboard the pride of England's industrial era, the mighty steam locomotive? Based on fact, as lively as legend, and studded with all the suspense and style of a modern fiction master, here is a classic caper novel set a decade before the age of dynamite--yet nonetheless explosive....
--This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.

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Review

"A nineteenth-century version of The Sting ... Crichton fascinates us" The New York Times Book Review "A work of intelligence and craftmanship ... Written with grace and wit" Los Angeles Times --This text refers to the Paperback edition.

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"A nineteenth-century version of The Sting...Crichton fascinates us."-- The New, York Times Book Review --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.

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Customer Reviews

Most helpful customer reviews
5.0 out of 5 stars A time machine to Victorian England May 6 2014
By Paul
Format:Paperback|Verified Purchase
Micheal Crichton, masterfully gives a wonderful account. He hits the ball out of the park three times. First, by the subject itself; the incredible planning and carrying out of the train robbery. This was not a casual event. The second book in a book is how well he makes the various characters come alive in these pages. The third way this book was hard to put down, was painting a pretty good picture of life in Victorian England, 150 years distant from today's. It's bizarre culture, defined by classes, including how women fit in, and rigid social expectations and behaviors. Book short listed as one of my deserted island picks.
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5.0 out of 5 stars Must Read It Again ... Feb. 25 2014
Format:Kindle Edition
I read this book years ago and it has to be be one of the best books I have ever read. In all, I have read about 400 books in my lifetime and this has got to be in the top 10. It moves along at a good clip and never boring. If you like true adventure, this book is for you.
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5.0 out of 5 stars Decidedly a page-turner!!! Dec 16 2013
Format:Hardcover
This review is for the hardcover edition measuring 9 1/2 X 6 1/2 having 352 pages and no photos.
I would have liked to have seen photos of the principals as, in fact they WERE real people and did do these things, albeit perhaps not EXACTLY in the way the author has decided.
Normally I read ONLY nonfiction but accounts of the great train robbery of 1855 are few and far between and I thought that perhaps with his obvious writing skill and sticking as closely as possible to the known facts Mr Crichton might just 'fill out' the story and give it a little life.
I NEED NOT HAVE WORRIED!
This account is absolutely splendid and conflicts in no way with the facts of the case as I know it.
Sure, he has taken the liberty of putting words in their mouths but general knowledge of the principals and the egos involved make these words probably quite appropriate.
Long before their demise as a mode of public transportation in great popularity the railroads were seen as a novelty and somewhat revered for their ability to move people both quickly and cheaply across the country.
This mystery was smashed with the robbery of an astounding 12,000 pounds.....an amount quite large in those days but what piqued the public's interest was not just the amount, but the audacity of thieves to commit such a robbery and successfully evade capture.
Shades of Robin Hood.
For a nearly true true life adventure this book is an excellent read.
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5.0 out of 5 stars great combo of thrills and historical fiction! Dec 8 2007
Format:Mass Market Paperback
I have never been the biggest Crichton fan, Stories about Brining Dinosaurs back to life just seem a bit too farfetched to me, but maybe I need to give some of his other books a try? The Great Train Robbery was simply excellent! This one delivers on a number of levels. First it is well written and just flows along. You end on chapter you just can't wait to start on the next. The historical facts behind the fiction are also fascinating, the reader is taken back to Victorian England---I learned a bunch. Secondly this is a tightly written thriller/caper story (The original Ocean's 11 so to speak) with plenty of twists and turns. the topping on the cake is that it is all based on a true story! Read The Great Train Robbery, you won't be sorry!
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4.0 out of 5 stars A masterpiece July 14 2004
Format:Mass Market Paperback
This book is fabulous. Its a very intruiging look at the master plan behind one of the greatest robberies of all time. This book doesnt just describe the robbery, it describes the months of planning and preparing that went into it. Its very interesting to see just how brilliant Peirce really is. If u havent read this book u really should.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars APPARENTLY, I SAVED THE BEST FOR LAST Dec 4 2008
By NeuroSplicer HALL OF FAME TOP 50 REVIEWER
Format:Mass Market Paperback
Following Michael Crichton's untimely death, I decided to complete my library with his works. The GREAT TRAIN ROBBERY was the only one missing and, I must say, although not the usual Science-Thriller Crichton had accustomed us to, it had the writer's signature iconoclastic approach to everything he wrote about.

Set in mid-19th century London, this novel is half historic travelogue through all strata of Victorian society and half an interesting roller-coaster ride on setting up and carrying through the infamous heist.

The period dialogue gave me trouble in more than one occasion at first but after a while you get used to it and you barely notice it. This is one of the early works of Crichton and although some of his flaws as a writer are present, so are most of his strengths: the secondary characters are barely fleshed out; on the other hand, his acute perception, solid research and multifocal vision does not pause before shattering long-held misconceptions and prejudices.

HIGHLY RECOMMENDED!
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5.0 out of 5 stars He wanted the money June 5 2004
Format:Mass Market Paperback
The time is 1855 and the place is London. Edward Pierce, a master con artist, wants to hijack 12,000 pounds sterling that is being sent by rail to fund the Crimean War. It won't be easy. The money is locked in a safe, made triple-strong, with four keys, each key stored in a different location. All four keys must be found and copied without raising any suspicion. It's a task that would daunt all but the most capable. Fortunately, Pierce is more than up to the job. He's got several things going for him: a razor-sharp intelligence, nerves of steel, patience, cunning, and not least of all, his mysterious mistress, Miss Miriam. Pierce and his confederates spend a year working on their plans. But things have a habit of going awry at the damndest times. Can they pull it off? Maybe. Can they get away with it? Hmmm....
Michael Crichton has written a humdinger of a period suspense novel with telling touches that bring us right into the middle of the Victoria era. For instance, just finding a key in a Victorian living room could be a week-long search, given how cluttered the average living room was at that time. And train travel, still fairly new, was the object almost of worship. A train robbery was infinitely worse than, say, robbing a bank. Who would have the unmitigated gall to rob a train? Well, Pierce would, for one. And why would he commit such a dastardly crime? Because, as Pierce explained, as if talking to a three year old, he wanted the money.
As in his fiction books, Crichton's research into Victorian London and train travel is solid, and the book has a sense of unquestionable authenticity. One gets the feeling Crichton had a lot of fun writing it. We see a lot of Crichton himself in Pierce: his intelligence, his wit, his painstaking attention to detail. The book scores both as a good novel and well-researched social history. It's one of Crichton's best.
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Most recent customer reviews
5.0 out of 5 stars sweet
The great train robbery is a great book about well a u train robbery. A group of men in 19 century England that are bent on robbing alone of the most heavily guarded shipments of... Read more
Published on April 22 2004 by gerrat
3.0 out of 5 stars Great Book....Some Parts Boring Though Too
In my opinion, this book is just, OK. It was a little boring sometimes, but kind of exciting too. I don't think that you will enjoy reading the book. Read more
Published on Feb. 22 2004 by James C. Zingaro
5.0 out of 5 stars Brilliant Novel; Enthralling
The Great Train Robbery is not only Crichton's best novel, it is also a great work, period. Crichton turns a heist-story from long ago into a window on early Victorian England. Read more
Published on Feb. 19 2004
4.0 out of 5 stars A Job Well Done
The Great Train Robbery was an excellent book. It is about an Edward Pierce, who pulls together some of England's finest pullsman, screwsman, corksmen (in other words, criminals),... Read more
Published on Nov. 16 2003
4.0 out of 5 stars Well Planned Crime + Historical Perspective=Great Novel
When man first descended from the trees and walked upright, his average speed was 4 miles an hour. In 1800, a man on a horse could travel 10 miles an hour. Read more
Published on Sept. 27 2003 by Alan Mills
5.0 out of 5 stars Crichton's Start
I think that this historical fiction book gives the reader an accurate portrayal of Victorian England. The plot devised is so intricate that the reader comes back for more. Read more
Published on May 10 2003
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