Little, Brown & Co., 2009 (2009)
Hardcover, CD, e-Book
Reviewed by Tim Davis
eaders who pick up a copy of
will know within half a dozen sentences that they are reading the work of an absolutely masterful storyteller. Dan Simmons - an author of two dozen previous novels, including some of the best speculative fiction written in the last twenty years - offers up a brilliant creation in which Charles Dickens is on the trail of an enigmatic man known simply as
his most highly recommended novel is narrated by Wilkie Collins (author of
The Woman in White
, and dozens of other less known novels) who is occasionally cynical, frequently wry, sometimes scathing, and always imaginative in his fascinating narrative. Writing for an imagined as well as '
impossibly distant and posthumous future
' because of legal considerations as well as for reasons of honor, Collins begins his thoroughly engrossing tale shortly after Charles Dickens' death by telling us about the dread-filled moment when the iconic author Dickens briefly encountered a singularly ominous, leprous-looking fellow at the scene of a deadly railway accident near Staplehurst, England.
fter having survived and recovered from the horrific railway accident, Dickens becomes obsessed with finding and learning more about Drood, a man - if that is the correct description of the disturbing apparition - who Dickens suspects of foul, unspeakable crimes. Dickens' five year journey - with the laudanum addicted Collins almost constantly at his side - will take him into the most unspeakable horrors and terrors of the darkest netherworld of London's worst neighborhoods.
nd so begins a deadly game of cat-and-mouse in which outrageous lies, sublime madness, and bizarre incidents combine to make
a work of phenomenal artistry and imagination. Dan Simmons' novel is first-rate entertainment - engaging, provocative, intricate, and complex - and readers will not soon forget their spellbinding encounters with Collins, Dickens, and Drood. Don't miss this brilliant fictional speculation on the time and place where history and horror come face-to-face!
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