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A Compelling Read
on 27 December 2013
After seeing this book being used partially for a TV adaptation I was pleased to find a copy for my Kindle. Robert Ryan manages to catch the feeling of the period the Great Train Robbery took place, and seamlessly mixes fiction with fact. Obviously a lot of research went into this book and it shows, making this a very compelling read.
Starting off in 1992 with an incident involving one of the robbers we are then transported back in time, to before the robbery was even being thought of. The story really comes alive and feels very real as we read of events that led to the heist at Heathrow, and then on to the train robbery itself. Although the robbery has entered folklore, when we persons who weren't born until years after can only come up with a couple of names of the criminals involved you really have to admire the fact that so many people were involved, and kept their mouths shut, not grassing up others. You can read accounts by the criminals themselves, accounts by others, and watch TV programs, but this book is such an easy read and would be a good introduction to anyone wanting to learn a bit more, as a first port of call.
In today's world the money stolen from the train would actually be about £41 million which gives you some kind of idea why there was so much furore at the time, and the authorities wanted harsh long prison sentences to try and curtail others of thinking of big money crimes. As we read here of the planning and execution of the crime we also see what happens in the aftermath. With corruption in the police force anyway, officers are tempted to fabricate evidence, due to pressures for results from above, and to make a name for themselves.
Well thought out this shows the troubles of the criminals, the corruption of some of the police and the end results of stealing so much money, with the biggest irony being that no one really gained a happy carefree life with loads of money, and as well as keeping one eye on who is behind you, having to deal with others wanting to get their hands on the cash. A thoughtful, well plotted story this would make a good read for book groups as something that you can have a really good discussion over.