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5.0 out of 5 stars Must Read It Again ...
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.
Published 1 month ago by moonfish

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3.0 out of 5 stars Not Like Other Crichton Thrillers
I thought The Great Train Robbery was an exciting book, and I recommend it. But it's not like Crichton's other techno-thrilers. It takes place in the 1800's instead. Still, it's a good read, but it seemed like Crichton was trying to write something that he isn't-bad-at-but-not-the-best-at writing. Still, if you like a good, exciting story, I recommend it.
Published on Feb. 27 2000 by musicmoviesandbooksbuyer


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5.0 out of 5 stars Must Read It Again ..., Feb. 25 2014
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
By 
Wayne Cooper "Canoneer" (North Canada) - See all my reviews
(REAL NAME)   
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
By 
Sara Chung (SF, CA) - See all my reviews
(REAL NAME)   
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
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 (Freeside, in geosynchronous orbit) - See all my reviews
(TOP 50 REVIEWER)    (HALL OF FAME)   
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
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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5.0 out of 5 stars sweet, April 22 2004
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 gold in the country, and they will do anything to get it. The whole book is not just the fast action read that the train robbery part is but also the exiting buildup to the robbery. I liked this book because of all the things these men do to complete the goal of the great train robbery. If you would like an interesting story about a group of people getting what they want and doing whatever is Necessary to get there, then you will like this book.
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5.0 out of 5 stars Brilliant Novel; Enthralling, Feb. 19 2004
By A Customer
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. Crichton matches a rigorous and keenly logical history with his enthralling, enchanting prose and creates a brilliant historical novel. The twists and turns were more shocking than in many works of fiction--that they actually happened provides an even bigger thrill! I cannot recommend this book highly enough; enjoy! I read this novel while studying for the Bar Exam last summer; it is light enough to be relaxing, yet solidly, seriously enough written to keep the mind strong. A great book.
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4.0 out of 5 stars A Job Well Done, Nov. 16 2003
By A Customer
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), to try and pull of an amazing heist. This, as all jobs, can draw many accomplishments and drawbacks. The main operators in this crime are Robert Agar, a pickpocket that has been with Pierce since the start, a mysterious Ms. Miriam, an incredible actress, and Barlow, a thug who takes care of the "dirty work". These lead to an overall fascinating book.
The author, Michael Crichton (who has written other thrillers such as "Jurassic Park" and "Timeline"), must have done a lot of research to get all the background information that is packed in to strengthen the story and give it a historical quality. I love any movie/book that show how cons are done and the intelligence it takes to conceive this plan. The Great Train Robbery has plenty of this for those who like to see how the puzzle fits together.
I gave this book a four because there were some parts that were frankly a little boring for my taste. For example, there were 3 to 4 page essays on Victorian homes, and I couldn't see the real connection between this and the story. Only a couple sentences would be of real importance to the book. I know that Michael Crichton put a ton of effort into getting the information for these little interludes, but I just needed a little more action, without the breaks. Otherwise, this book is genius.
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4.0 out of 5 stars Well Planned Crime + Historical Perspective=Great Novel, Sept. 27 2003
By 
Alan Mills (Chicago, Illinois USA) - See all my reviews
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. Then, between 1815 and 1850, the steam engine and the train catapulted the average speed to 40 miles an hour, with a maximum speed of 70 miles an hour. Today, we find such speeds common place. But at the time, all was a complete mystery to ordinary people. For example, falling from a moving train was not generally understood to be fatal. people assumed that falling from a train was much like falling from a horse--it all depended on how you landed.
Crichton artfully weaves this type of historical perspective inot a riveting story about the greatest train robbery of all time--which never would have been tried had they understood what they were doing. But in this case, ignorance was bliss, and it worked, against all odds.
Not the Crichton you may be expecting...there is science, but it is the science of the 1800's; no cutting edge technology, unless you consider the invention of wax to make keys new technology--which it was; no exotic locales.
Instead, Crichton takes us back to England in the 1850's--at the end of the Crimean War, and less than a decade before the U.S. Civil War, and during the hey day of mass industrialization. Crichton does an excellent job of setting the stage and reminding us just where the roots of our current urban society lie, and just how recently those roots were first sunk into the rural past.
Having set the stage, Crichton weaves the history with a great crime novel. Taking advantage of wealth, social stratification, and even advanced technology (for the time), Crichton follows a criminal mastermind in his year long plot to steal 12 million pounds sterling, supposed to be used to pay French soldiers fighting Russia in the Crimean war.
Trains and safes had both just made their appearances. Fingerprints, combination locks, and explosives were still on the horizon. Breaking into a safe on a moving train was a then unthought of crime.
Of course, they were caught--Crichton lets us know right at the beginning that his source is the trial transcripts--but the ways, whys, and means are wholly unpredictable, and will keep you turning the pages right to the very end.
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The Great Train Robbery
The Great Train Robbery by Michael Crichton (Hardcover - May 12 1975)
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