Drood Paperback – 5 Mar 2009
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Drood is something of a change of pace for the talented American writer Dan Simmons, who made his mark with highly ambitious, sprawling futuristic epics such as Hyperion, (which won the prestigious Hugo award) and The Fall of Hyperion, creating -- with tremendous panache and invention -- alternate worlds and societies. Here, however, is Simmons’s take on 19th Britain and two of its greatest creative artists: the writers Charles Dickens and Wilkie Collins (the title, of course, is a reference to Dickens’s last, unfinished novel, The Mystery of Edwin Drood). Dan Simmons’ Drood, however, is a very different literary endeavour, with the two writers plunged into a darkly atmospheric Victorian world where supernatural creatures haunt the shadows (and, beneath the streets, an alternative cityscape exists).
All of this is handled with the energy we have come to expect from Dan Simmons, and along with his eventful narrative, he is able to take on notions of creativity and the gulf between genius and talent (Dickens and Wilkie Collins are pungently characterised). Perhaps those more used to the intergalactic reach of Simmons’ earlier work may need to adjust (and an interest in Dickens, Collins and in the 19th century classics is definitely an advantage), but for those persuaded to join Simmons and his two protagonists on their sinister and terrifying odyssey (a rather long one, it should be noted – the book is nearly 800 pages), this is a journey they will not regret undertaking. Simmons’s early work utilised elements from the horror genre (a constant here) – and horror reappears frequently in Dickens’ world, making this a strong literary marriage. --Barry Forshaw
I am in awe of Dan Simmons - Stephen King
Peopled by characters worthy of Dickens novel …. a fascinating book that adds to the speculative writings about the Victorian author's last and unfinished work. A must-read for all Dickens and Wilkie Collins admirers' Daily Mail.See all Product Description
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Top Customer Reviews
Wilkie Collins, a fellow novelist and sometimes-collaborator of Dickens, observes Dickens' decline following the accident, and is particularly bemused by Dickens' account of a spectral figure called 'Drood' who appeared in the aftermath of the crash. Dickens apparently becomes obsessed with finding Drood, embarking on lengthy explorations of London's criminal and literal underground in search of the figure, aided by Collins. A private investigator named Fields joins the chase, informing Collins that Drood is a serial killer and mass-murderer, and Collins soon finds himself embroiled in a complex and clandestine struggle. These events are made all the more confusing due to Collins' own reliance on opium (a painkiller for his gout) and the fictional events of the two novels that Collins and Dickens are inspired to write by these events (The Moonstone and The Mystery of Edwin Drood, respectively) become entwined with the 'real' events that are transpiring.
Drood is a complex novel, huge in length, exacting in detail and relayed to the reader through a narrator so unreliable - Collins - that is very hard to know what is 'real' (as in 100% back up by historical fact), what is reliable (or true in the sense of the novel's narrative) and what is pure fantasy (either an outright lie or a drug-induced fantasy).Read more ›
Drood begins with the Staplehurst Rail Disaster of 1865, when the train on which Charles Dickens is travelling crashes. As Dickens helps to rescue people from the wreckage, he encounters a mysterious figure dressed in a black cape who introduces himself only as 'Drood'. In the days following the train crash, Dickens becomes obsessed with discovering Drood's true identity. With the reluctant help of his friend and fellow author, Wilkie Collins, Dickens begins a search for Drood which leads them through the dark alleys and underground catacombs of London.
Interspersed with the Drood storyline are long passages in which we learn about the family life of both Dickens and Collins, how much they earned for their various novels, the details of Wilkie's laudanum addiction, Dickens' interest in mesmerism and every other piece of biographical information you could wish to know. Some readers might find this boring, but I enjoyed these sections - I thought the descriptions of Dickens' reading tours were particularly interesting. Another thing I liked about the book was the way Simmons deliberately tries to confuse and mislead the reader - at several points in the novel we are made to wonder whether something we've just read is real or an illusion.
The book is told in the form of a memoir written by Wilkie Collins and addressed to an unknown reader in the future.Read more ›
However, it is this latter that Simmons tries to repeat with "Drood" and sadly he fails appallingly in my opinion. I have read Dicken's and Wilkie Collin's both academically and for pleasure and i was massively looking forward to the story once i saw it's synopsis. Sadly i found it to be an extremely tedious and uneven mixing of miniscule historical detail and ridiculous sensationalism. Simmons has clearly done an awful lot of research for the novel and my god does he want the reader to know about it. I'm all for inclusion of reality and anecdote but most of the time "Drood" reads like a dry-as-dust textbook. Andrew Sanders' biography of Dickens, despite it's non fiction status, is twice as involving and at least we can be sure of its accuracy.
The character's of Wilkie Collins and Dickens are the only two that the reader is ever invited to know. Everyone else orbits the pair without being suitably fleshed out. Most often they seem included merely to display the extent of Simmons' knowledge of Dickens's social circle. And the inclusion of Drood himself is so ludicrous that it almost seems to belong to another novel. It is obvious that the contrast betweent the dry factual passages and the sensational chapters involving Drood and the subtteranean London landscape serve to emphasise the two speheres of Dickens's existence.Read more ›
Most Recent Customer Reviews
It's been some years since I read this book, but it's still one of those that I remember quite well because I liked the story so much. Read morePublished 6 months ago by Marablaise
A very strange book indeed. One that some people will find fulfilling but others will give up on well before the end of a book that runs to almost 800 pages. Read morePublished 8 months ago by Peter Steward
I started reading the Italian translation of Drood when I soon realised that it was "really" written by Wilkie Collins, at least the author wonderfully managed to use his... Read morePublished 10 months ago by Chase Insteadman Mountbatten
This book took me very long time to finish. Partly my fault for reading a set of short stories at the same time but mostly the fault of the episodic narrative of Drood. Read morePublished 13 months ago by Greatbeast
Where do I begin folks.
I have written a few reviews now on amazon & I hate writing negative ones. Hate it. Read more
Drood has been my first and last foray into the work of Simmons, of whom I have never heard. A lover of the work of both Dickens and Collins, I ought to have known better, and left... Read morePublished on 9 Feb. 2014 by MallingFox
I rarely bother writing a bad review, but couldn't help myself with this. I tried very hard to get into this novel, and there are some interesting parts, but it is spoilt... Read morePublished on 2 Feb. 2014 by I CLARK
l am a big reader and there is not many book l read twice but this one l have first in book from [ then l gave it to a friend who love it also ask if she could keep it so brought... Read morePublished on 13 Dec. 2013 by stjamespark