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Comments for Drood

Drood: 02/05/15

cover art

Drood by Dan Simmons exams the friendship and rivalry between Charles Dickens and Wilkie Collins. The book is framed within an 1865 train crash that Dickens and his mistress survived. It, if Collins via Simmons is to be believed, became a major obsession in the last five years of Dickens's life.

Dickens tells Collins that he saw a mysterious figure at the crash site who answers only to the name Drood. This vision — or hallucination — inspired him to begin work on The Mystery of Edwin Drood, a novel he had not finished by the time of his death.

This unfinished work has inspired other works of fiction, including The Last Dickens by Matthew Pearl. It was also primarily the Drood connection that made me want to read the book.

Unfortunately, it wasn't enough to make me want to finish it without severe skimming. The book is nearly 800 pages and densely detailed. Yes, Simmons did his homework and for fans of Dickens, Collins and the Victorian era, his work will be rewarding. To the casual reader, it's not something to pick up at the library and expect to finish in three week's time.

Two stars

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