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Thunderstruck [Kindle Edition]

The #1 New York Times bestselling author Erik Larson
4.7 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (6 customer reviews)

Print List Price: CDN$ 18.00
Kindle Price: CDN$ 13.99 includes free international wireless delivery via Amazon Whispernet
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Sold by: Random House Canada, Incorp.
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Product Description

From Publishers Weekly

Larson's new suspense-spiked history links Guglielmo Marconi, the inventor of wireless telegraphy, with Hawley Crippen, a mild-mannered homeopathic doctor in turn-of-the-century London. While Larson tells their stories side by side, most listeners will struggle to find a reason for connecting the two men other than that both lived around the same time and that Goldwyn's plummy voice narrates their lives. Only on the final disc does the logic behind the intertwining of the stories become apparent and the tale gain speed. At this point, the chief inspector of Scotland Yard sets out after Crippen on a transatlantic chase, spurred by the suspicion that he committed a gruesome murder. Larson's account of the iconoclastic Marconi's quest to prove his new technology is less than engaging and Crippen's life before the manhunt was tame. Without a very compelling cast to entertain during Larson's slow, careful buildup, many listeners may not make it to the breathless final third of the book when it finally come alive.
Copyright © Reed Business Information, a division of Reed Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved.

From School Library Journal

Adult/High School–Larson's page-turner juxtaposes scientific intrigue with a notorious murder in London at the turn of the 20th century. It alternates the story of Marconi's quest for the first wireless transatlantic communication amid scientific jealousies and controversies with the tale of a mild-mannered murderer caught as a result of the invention. The eccentric figures include the secretive Marconi and one of his rivals, physicist Oliver Lodge, who believed that he was first to make the discovery, but also insisted that the electromagnetic waves he studied were evidence of the paranormal. The parallel tale recounts the story of Dr. Hawley Harvey Crippen, accused of murdering his volatile, shrewish wife. As he and his unsuspecting lover attempted to escape in disguise to Quebec on a luxury ocean liner, a Scotland Yard detective chased them on a faster boat. Unbeknownst to the couple, the world followed the pursuit through wireless transmissions to newspapers on both sides of the Atlantic. A public that had been skeptical of this technology suddenly grasped its power. In an era when wireless has a whole new connotation, young adults interested in the history of scientific discovery will be enthralled with this fascinating account of Marconi and his colleagues' attempts to harness a new technology. And those who enjoy a good mystery will find the unraveling of Dr. Crippen's crime, complete with turn-of-the-century forensics, appealing to the CSI crowd. A thrilling read.–Pat Bangs, Fairfax County Public Library, VA
Copyright © Reed Business Information, a division of Reed Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved.

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Most helpful customer reviews
5.0 out of 5 stars A Spellbinding Page-Turner Feb. 9 2014
By G. Poirier TOP 50 REVIEWER
I just couldn’t put this book down. In this exciting tome, the author recounts two separate and completely different tales in parallel: Marconi’s development of wireless telegraphy and the Crippen murder case. Chapters alternate throughout most of the book with every other chapter continuing one of the two stories. Their point of convergence is how Marconi’s invention helped capture the murderer.

Although a history of the development of wireless telegraphy could be very technical, but this is not the case here. The author focuses mainly on Marconi’s hard work, his personality, his associates and competitors, his successes and failures and his personal life. The technical details of his experimentation are described only generally.

Dr. Crippen’s story is remarkably detailed: his family history, childhood and upbringing, personality and marital/love life. I could not help but sympathize with this man and find it hard to believe that he was capable of such a gruesome murder.

The author writes very well, in a style that is at once lively, friendly and most of all, immensely captivating. This book should appeal to anyone looking for a great read.
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4 of 5 people found the following review helpful
This book follows the exact same formula that Larson used in his popular novel Devil in the White City. Which is to say that it is one chapter about Marconi followed by one chapter about Crippen. While the back and forth style really worked to build up suspense in his earlier work, I found it kind of distracting in this novel. However that is not to say that this novel is dull. Far from it in fact.

Larson provides the reader with an excellently researched novel concerning the history of wireless communication. For anyone interested in the life and times of Marconi, this fact alone should be compelling enough to purchase the book. Added to this is the a side yarn about one of England's "quiet killers" and the reader is provided with a book that is hard to put down.

And just like Devil in the White City, I was disappointed that this novel had to end. The characters were so interesting, and the story so fascinating, that I could have read another 200+ pages easily.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Fabulous Book! Aug. 5 2013
Format:Kindle Edition|Verified Purchase
Great historical non-fiction. Loved the education and the story. I would highly highly recommend this book for a beach read or a into the night (can't put it down) read.
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