Drood Author:Dan Simmons On June 9, 1865, while traveling by train to London with his secret mistress, 53-year-old Charles Dickens -- at the height of his powers and popularity, the most famous and successful novelist in the world and perhaps in the history of the world -- hurtled into a disaster that changed his life forever. — Did Dickens begin living a d... more »ark double life after the accident? Were his nightly forays into the worst slums of London and his deepening obsession with corpses, crypts, murder, opium dens, the use of lime pits to dissolve bodies, and a hidden subterranean London mere research . . . or something more terrifying?
Just as he did in The Terror, Dan Simmons draws impeccably from history to create a gloriously engaging and terrifying narrative. Based on the historical details of Charles Dickens's life and narrated by Wilkie Collins (Dickens's friend, frequent collaborator, and Salieri-style secret rival), DROOD explores the still-unsolved mysteries of the famous author's last years and may provide the key to Dickens's final, unfinished work: The Mystery of Edwin Drood. Chilling, haunting, and utterly original, DROOD is Dan Simmons at his powerful best.« less
This novel is billed as a story about the last years of Charles Dickens' life narrated by Wilkie Collins, but I think Collins was the central character in the book telling his story in the first person. Dickens was a supporting character although a very important one. Simmons takes his time telling a story and in "The Terror" it worked very well but "Drood" could have been pared down by several hundred pages and been a better book for it. Dickens and Collins groupies will probably love this book, but for me it was good but too wordy and too meandering. If you are just looking for a good story, there are better books to read. If you are interested in the relationship between Dickens and Collins or in either author individually, this book is for you.
I feel completely bi-polar when it comes to this book. On the one hand, there are sections that are indeed utterly engrossing and (as one other reader put it) deliciously creepy. The character of Drood starts out as this maybe-zombie, maybe-demon, maybe-man, which was enough to keep me going through the first 400 pages.
After that, however, it felt like a relationship I had with an ex; exciting and thrilling at times, but in between those thrills it was tedious, drawn out and something I knew wouldn't be staying in my heart forever. You can tell Simmons did a huge amount of research into the lives of Dickens and Collins, as well as the 'minor characters' who were parts of their lives, but after a while it definitely felt like a lot of the information was being included just because Simmons did the research and didn't want to go to waste.
While I'm glad I read the entire book, it's a lot easier to enjoy if you know a few things about the narrorator (Wilkie Collins) before reading it, namely that he was a narcissistic, ego-driven jerk (for lack of better word), just like Dickens.