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I picked this up because it was recommended by Stephen King, and man, he was right, this is a great, creepy read. It has A LOT of historical detail about the world of Dickens so I understand why many of the reviews are bad. If you find lots of historical detail boring, skip this one, even though Uncle Stevie liked it. But if that level of detail floats your boat, you are in for quite a ride.
This has been a fun read, though I would hesitate to recommend it to someone not familiar with the zeitgeist of Victorian England. Mr. Simmons has perfectly imitated the style of writing, and the worldview, from that period (one of his gifts as a writer is the ability to completely change his point of view and manner of writing – that was clear from his sci-fi epic “Hyperion”); but the paranoia and xenophobia may be off-putting if you’re not familiar with the period. That said, this is an entertaining book; a sort-of “filling out” of Charles Dickens’ last (unfinished) novel “The Mystery of Edwin Drood”, with Mr. Dickens himself as a major character. Simmons has it supposedly written by another real author, Wilkie Collins, who was writing at roughly the same time as Dickens. The writing is very much in Dickens’ (and Collins’) style. (There is an inside joke here; at one point Collins criticizes Dickens for adding too many details and sub-plots, but this book is intentionally full of the same.) It is at first a mystery story: a murder may have been committed, and the sinister character called Drood may have had something to do with it. However, Simmons’ alter-ego Collins is drug-addicted and suffers from increasingly horrific hallucinations – so we learn not to trust his reporting of the clues in the mystery. The turning point comes just after the half-way mark, when (with a hallucination borrowed from “The Matrix” movie) the book changes to a full-fledged horror story and Collins becomes one of the most unpleasant anti-heroes I’ve seen in a novel. Dickens himself (maybe) does at least one equally abominable deed. I won’t give any more spoilers than that.
I'm a huge fan of really atmospheric horror, the kind that gets under your skin and makes a nice cozy home there. This book certainly delivers. You can smell the stench and rot weeping out of the Thames and the smoke engulfing the cramped brothels and bars. You can practically feel the darkness caving in as the protagonist delves deeper and deeper into London's underground. There's quite a few directions this book could take, and I'm very glad it didn't take the obvious route. There is quite a bit of backstory that is stretched out over the course of the novel that might not interest some but the depth of the story is phenomenal.
I am an enthusiastic Dan Simmons fan, having read The Terror, The Abominable, and The Fifth Heart in addition to Drood.
Drood is centered around the mysterious final years of Charles Dickens and his relationship with friend and author Wilkie Collins (The Moonstone).
This book was written for those readers who like historical fiction mixed with an element of the supernatural. This is Dan Simmons’ formula and it is highly successful in this book.
Those who enjoy action-packed, fast-paced can’t put down stories with an element of dark, creepy and disturbing (Egyptian mythology) and those who like biographical fiction, first person narratives, and historical mysteries will want to read this book. Set in Victorian London, it is a mixture of intrigue and squalor (the London sewer system is masterfully described), with elements of Egyptian mythology interwoven into the tale.
Descriptive, richly detailed writing style; intricately plotted; fascinating account of Dickens and Collins friendship as described by Collins (authentic, flawed characters). Anyone interested in the biographies of Dickens and Collins - and their singular love/hate relationship - will want to read this book.
Would highly recommend Dan Simmons. He is a master of his genre!
If you like atmospheric, Victorian novels that are slightly creepy, then try this. I loved the intermingling of Charles Dickens as a character and the mounting sense of unease conveyed as the book progresses.
You've got to love Dickens to like this books. Dan Simmons could have told the same story in half the pages.
There seems to be a distinct split in the opinion of this book from those who read it. I, for one, ate this book up in an embarrassingly short amount of time. The length of the book itself might be a turnoff for some, but this is my desperate plea to at least give this book a chance.
I'm a huge fan of atmospheric horror, the kind that gets under your skin and makes itself a nice cozy home . This book certainly delivers. You can smell the stench and rot weeping out of the Thames and the smoke engulfing the cramped brothels and bars. You can practically feel the darkness caving in as the protagonist delves deeper and deeper into London's underground. There's quite a few directions this book could take, and I'm very glad it didn't take the obvious route. There is a bit of backstory that is stretched out over the course of the novel that might not interest some but the depth of the story is phenomenal.
Just a tip- read it in the dark >:)
I did not like this book at all. I found it tedious and disappointing. I kept plodding through hoping it would get better since it was recommended by Stephen King, but by about halfway through, what was keeping me going was the hope that something appropriately awful would befall the insufferable protagonist, Wilkie. No such luck. There's a month of my life I'll never get back.
I must admit that this book was a bit of a let down. I kept plodding through the entire book waiting for Drood to be a fundamental character rather than just a background specter.
The Terror by Simmons was much more satisfying
Creepy Victorian scenes, opiate abuse and hallucinations, and a mysterious criminal/monster who may or may not be real. A fascinating novel that plays with the Drood mystery and creates a vivid portrait of Charles Dickens and his long-time friend Wilkie Collins.
As an admirer of Charles Dickens' novels, I thought this book would be much more interesting. But I found it tedious. It often reads like a textbook, and is boring and eerie. (I like eerie when it's well done.) I was determined to get through it, but finally quit about 420 pages in.
A fantastic book modeled on the Amadeus movie with Drood playing Salieri to Dickens - Mozart.
Simmons trademark thoroughness in researching the Dickens era shines through and lends authenticity to the story. Drood is a fascinating character, jealous of Dickens and the epitome of the unreliable narrator with his vices of drink and opium.
Simmons at his best.
This book is not about Drood. This book has no mystery. This book has no horror. This book does not even have a single moment of simple fright.
What this book is, is a 1,000 page tribute to Charles Dickens' career and his relationship with friend and rival Wilkie Collins as told through the unreliable narration of said rival. It is boring and warrants 200 pages of attention, if that. Do yourself a favor and order a pizza instead.
An incredible book. Very well written and those who share a love for historical fiction will LOVE this book. It is long but it is so well written and the story so engrossing that I read every page with pleasure and finished the book in two nights.
I haven't read a book as wonderful as this book, except for maybe Simmons' "The Terror". This is a master writer at work. He can tap into that populist suspense tone without descending into the realm of King and Koontz. The thing I found most fascinating about this novel was that it was told from the viewpoint of Wilkie Collins. Collins was far more successful in his day than Dickens, yet he was plagued by Dickens obvious genius - plus the demon of his drug addiction. "Drood" is the story of Dickens' last, incomplete novel, "The Mystery of Edwin Drood", and why he didn't finish it. All told through the eyes of Collins, who literally and figuratiely descends into madness in this novel. The evocative Dickensian - or would it be Collinsian? - settings Simmons creates are pitch-perfect. Collins and Dickens are more than mere historical figures - they are living, breathing characters. And the mystery of Drood? One of the best suspense plots in years (next to the FANTASTIC tale told in "The Terror".) I was so gob-smacked by this book, that I ran out and read "The Mystery of Edwin Drood" and Collins' "Moonstone", as well as about 3 or 4 other fictional novels about both Dickens and Drood. This book still haunts me to this day...
When real historical literary figures merge with the works they?re writing, retelling the classics gets very interesting. In Drood, Charles Dickens is the main character, though his real-life friend (?frenemy? is perhaps more accurate) Wilkie Collins narrates the story. The starting point is a tragic and near-fatal train derailing in 1865 that Dickens survived but never entirely recovered from. Author Dan Simmons uses this factual event to introduce a mysterious character who Dickens encounters amid the gore and wreckage of the train--a gaunt specter calling himself Drood who emits a decidedly creepy aura and has a sinister agenda of his own. Dickens becomes obsessed with tracking Drood and enlists Collins to assist him in nighttime voyages though London?s ancient and decrepit underground caverns and crypts. Collins, as portrayed in Drood, is bitterly jealous and opium-addicted; Dickens is an egomaniac of the highest order who?s keeping heavy secrets from friends and family, including the motive behind what will be his final, uncompleted book, The Mystery of Edwin Drood. Things get weirder, spookier, and more bizarre as the final years of Dickens? life draw to a close for a wholly atmospheric blend of history, historical fiction, and supernatural horror that?s as dramatic (and melodramatic) as the novels by Dickens and Collins that inspired it. Be sure to check out Dickens? novels (especially The Mystery of Edwin Drood), and don?t let Wilkie Collins, who remains largely in the shadow of his better-known contemporary, be forgotten again?his novels The Moonstone and The Woman in White are masterpieces in their own right.