The Great Train Robbery Mass Market Paperback – Oct 17 2002
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"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 an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.
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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.See all Product Description
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Top Customer Reviews
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.
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.
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.
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.
Most recent customer reviews
Fascinating background sections about 1850's Britain. But the story part is very thin. I enjoyed the read but it's not as solid a story as crightons later works.Published 5 months ago by Russ C
Excellent historical research went into this fictionalization of an audacious gold heist in the mid-nineteenth century. Read morePublished 8 months ago by Amazon Customer
Micheal Crichton, masterfully gives a wonderful account. He hits the ball out of the park three times. Read morePublished on May 6 2014 by Paul
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. Read morePublished on Feb. 25 2014 by moonfish
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... Read morePublished on Dec 8 2007 by Sara Chung
This book is fabulous. Its a very intruiging look at the master plan behind one of the greatest robberies of all time. Read morePublished on July 14 2004 by Anthony Scheff
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 morePublished on April 22 2004 by gerrat
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 morePublished on Feb. 22 2004 by James C. Zingaro