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on 16 March 2017
I loved the Tom Hanks film. It immediately draws you in with its atmospheric backdrop to a princely delivering by Mr Hanks as the deadly assassin, Michael "Angel" O'Sullivan, at the top of his game. The beauty of Mr Hank's craft adds delightful​ layers of colour as we come to know our assassin as a family man, through the eyes of a child, his older son, Michael O'Sullivan, Jnr. His dilemma strikes at us all in the same place, our hearts. Whether you are a parent or not. It's questionable morality notwithstanding, who would argue with Mr O'Sullivan about his choices?

This, however, is something special: the added narration of adult Michael Jnr to each chapter. In italics, and somewhat in retrospect, this additional voice feels right at home. It is poignant, urgent and welcomed. An enduring and compelling tale of love conquering all. Buy it. It will be one of your favourites.
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on 27 September 2017
What an amazing read. Read it in one day. Couldn't put this masterpiece down. Having watched the film too many times, I had to check out the graphic novel for the first time. So happy I did. Love the similarity with both. There is however big differences. Won't spoil it but very happy I got to read this as it's like rewatching the movie in a different way. Both are as good as each other.
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on 3 June 2017
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on 2 August 2017
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on 2 April 2017
This is a novel with a very unusual history. It began as a graphic novel by Max Allan Collins, which was adapted for film, with the screenplay written by David Self. Tom Hanks and Paul Newman starred in the film, which was very good. Collins then wrote a novelization of the screenplay and now has written an expanded novel, which adheres very closely to the movie.

The story is set in Illinois in the early 1930s. The Great Depression is well underway, and times are grim for virtually everyone. One exception seems to be the criminal gangs, which are continuing to prosper at a time when Prohibition is still the law of the land.

A gangster named John Looney controls most of the vice in Rock Island, Illinois, on the Mississippi River, about a hundred and seventy miles directly west of Chicago. Looney runs his empire in league with the Capone organization in Chicago. Michael O'Sullivan is a happily married man and the father of two young boys. O'Sullivan is also a feared enforcer for Looney and is nicknamed "The Angel of Death." Looney looks at O'Sullivan as a surrogate son and spoils O'Sullivans's children as if they were his own grandchildren. The problem arises from the fact that Looney has one real son, a hot headed, self-indulgent jerk known as "Crazy" Connor.

O'Sullivan's twelve-year-old son, Michael Jr., is curious to know what his father actually does when on his missions for Mr. Looney. A devoted reader of comics, Michael Jr. envisions that his father is some sort of secret agent. One night Michael Jr. hides in his father's car, when Dad leaves on a "mission," and he sees "Crazy" Connor Looney shoot a man to death. Connor turns and sees the boy, and from that moment, everyone's world is thrown into turmoil. In consequence, the O'Sullivans, father and son, find themselves on the deadly road to Perdition in an effort to survive the forces that have suddenly been unleashed against them.

This is a gripping novel that moves at a very quick pace. Collins based the idea on the real-life gangster, John Looney, who did rule a criminal empire in Rock Island in the 1920s. The O'Sullivans are fictional characters and Collins has moved Looney into the 1930s, even though Looney actually fled to New Mexico in the middle Twenties. Still, this is a minor matter in a book like this, and having lived in Rock Island for a number of years, I enjoyed reading about the city and its colorful past. Both the book and the movie will appeal to large numbers of people.
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on 21 September 2002
Now that Max Collins' original graphic novel has been transformed into Sam Mendes' oscar-favourite movie, one would assume that many of those who appreciated the film might look into its origins and take a gander at this, the story's first birth. Drawn by Richard Piers Rayner, whose devotion to authentic 1930s detail meant it took four years to draw, the novel, like its film counterpart, tells the story of Michael 'O''Sullivan, a hitman living in the Tri-Cities, whose wife and younger son are murdered by his employer's unstable offspring, Connor. Mike and his elder son Michael Jr. go on the run, trying to reach Perdition, Kansas, while the safety of Michael Jr. becomes more and more arduous.
While most of the elements seen in the film are intact, with Tom Hanks deftly (and somewhat surprisingly) carrying the role of the mass-murdering anti-hero, there are key differences. Max Collins based much of his story on actual events in the 1930 Midwest. However, the film removes Elliot Ness, one of O'Sullivan's few allies (who seems pretty handy with a tommy-gun), but adds Jude Law's character Maguire, the rival hitman-cum-journalist.
Max Allan Collins really does tug at the heart-strings in this novel, and the tragic death of Peter, drawn so adoringly by Rayner, is reminiscent of many of the bitter-sweet moments in 'Jimmy Corrigan', while the ensuing butchering of a group of ex-employer John Looney's cronies with a certain sharp, silent object is morbidly satisfying. The father-son story bares comparison to Japan's 'Lone Wolf and Cub' series, as do the two books' beautiful black and white art. 'Road to Perdition' stands on its own two, very American feet.
The depth of contemporary detail, added to the strength of story and its appeal to mature readers aswell as the more easy going, '2000AD' mentality-comic fans puts it above, in my opinion, classics like 'V for Vendetta'. This is a must, not only for graphic regulars, but for the literary community as a whole. Granted, this is no 'Watchmen', and while there are only three or four panels to a page, there are three-hundred of them to get through. And you'll probably find, as I did (for the first time with a graphic novel), that as soon as you finish it, you'll wanted to turn to the front and start again, if only to marvel at the impressive artwork. My only quibble with 'Road to Perdition' was its somewhat sudden, and horribly inevitable ending, although the film does change things, and it is certainly worth checking out both.
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on 4 June 2014
I cannot really remember the film but I'm sure there are quite a few differences to this graphic novel.
Apparently the fantastic artwork took 4 years to draw. I can see why. Not sure if an updated, colour version would work but I'd like to see it tried.
Great story. This was based on the manga story Lone Wolf and Cub, I believe. I've got the follow up RTP 2 and Return to Perdition (there are 3 in total, one set in the 70's). Looking forward to reading them.
Paradox press do a 2 volume pocket sized book called The Project about poverty, gangs and drugs. Reading that at the moment. It's very reminiscent of The Wire and The Corner by David Simon. Worth a look.
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on 2 October 2013
My son had to read this and was not looking forward to it. However he was very chuffed when it arrived and he discovered that it was written in cartoon form. Just like an old fashioned manga book. Speech bubbles and everything. He read it in two days over the summer holidays and couldn't have been happier. This book was not new but was still in good nick and for a compulsory school book who's complaining.
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on 12 August 2015
The Road to Perdition I a wonderful book which insightful explores the hard times in which these brilliantly painted characters exist. A very moving tough unflinching narrative with a lot of heart and compassion.
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on 11 February 2017
I didn't know there was a book. Lol, I've tried a few times to watch the film because I love Paul Newman and admire Tom Hanks but even two of my favourite actors couldn't get me past the unconvincing (as actors and human beings) performances of Daniel Craig and Jude Law.

As is the case 99% of the time, I loved the book so much more than the film. Sadly, in this case it was bad casting that ruined the film but the book is great.
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