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Drood

by Dan Simmons

MembersReviewsPopularityAverage ratingConversations / Mentions
2,8381504,251 (3.47)1 / 254
Based on the historical details of Charles Dickens' life, "Drood" explores the still-unsolved mysteries of the famous author's last years and may provide the key to his final, unfinished work: "The Mystery of Edwin Drood".
  1. 40
    The Moonstone by Wilkie Collins (Jannes, amweb)
    Jannes: For obvious reasons. If you enjoyed Drood you might as well give it a try.
  2. 30
    What Alice Knew: A Most Curious Tale of Henry James and Jack the Ripper by Paula Marantz Cohen (Caramellunacy)
    Caramellunacy: Both are Gothic 'gaslight' thrillers featuring famous authors as protagonists. Drood is a macabre story of what ostensibly inspired Dickens to write his last unfinished novella (according to his ever-unreliable friend Wilkie Collins). What Alice Knew features the James siblings (psychologist William, author Henry and their invalid sister) as they attempt to puzzle out who is responsible for the Ripper murders.… (more)
  3. 41
    The Alienist by Caleb Carr (bnbookgirl)
  4. 31
    The Meaning of Night by Michael Cox (shellibrary)
    shellibrary: This book has a very similar atmosphere and feel.
  5. 20
    The Last Dickens by Matthew Pearl (suzecate)
    suzecate: They're historical mystery/thriller set in Victorian England and involving Charles Dickens.
  6. 10
    Neverwhere by Neil Gaiman (Reysbro)
    Reysbro: Down below London...a fantasy tale taking place in London's Underworld / Undertown. Similar to the beginning of Drood with the descent beneath London's streets.
  7. 00
    The Mystery of Edwin Drood by Charles Dickens (Cecrow)
  8. 00
    The Quincunx by Charles Palliser (SheReadsNovels)
    SheReadsNovels: This book is also set in the 19th century and written in the style of Charles Dickens or Wilkie Collins.
  9. 11
    The Queen of Bedlam by Robert R. McCammon (Scottneumann)
  10. 11
    Mister Slaughter by Robert R. McCammon (Scottneumann)
  11. 01
    The Crook Factory by Dan Simmons (Runkst)
    Runkst: In both books, Simmons fictionalizes a famous writer and fits his story around the historical facts. (Drood: Charles Dickens, The Crook Factory: Ernest Hemingway)
  12. 01
    Speaks the Nightbird by Robert R. McCammon (Scottneumann)
  13. 01
    The D. Case: Or The Truth About The Mystery Of Edwin Drood by Carlo Fruttero (ehines)
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» See also 254 mentions

English (143)  French (3)  Dutch (1)  Spanish (1)  Italian (1)  All languages (149)
Showing 1-5 of 143 (next | show all)
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. The Mystery of Edwin Drood by Charles Dickens was never finished and this book tells about how Charles Dickens become obsessed with the mysterious being called Drood. It's a thick book, but well-written and fascinating to read. Simmons capture the atmosphere of the late 1900-centery very well. The story is dark and mysterious and keeps you captivated. ( )
  MaraBlaise | Jul 23, 2022 |
After being directly involved in a train accident in 1865, Charles Dickens is never quite the same. Claiming to have come into brief contact with a dark fellow by the name of Drood while assisting with the aftermath of the accident, he shares his story with fellow writer and friend Wilkie Collins. However, it is Collins who seems to carry the tale of Drood with him, day in and day out, haunting both his daytime and nighttime dreams. Told from the viewpoint of Wilkie Collins, the reader never quite knows what is real and what is fabrication or delusion.

I'm familiar with Charles Dickens of course, but I've not actually read any of his works. Ditto with Wilkie Collins. Thus, I've not read the Mystery of Edwin Drood. And so I'm certainly not the best person to review this book. However, I recently read another book centered on Drood (Matthew Pearl's The Last Dickens), and having this audiobook by Dan Simmons on my shelf for quite some time, I thought it might be a good follow-up to my previous read, as some details from that still stick in my mind.

I confess to not really knowing anything about Wilkie Collins other than that he wrote The Woman in White. So I didn't have any background on the man himself going in. I was frankly appalled by his characterization in this book -- very unlikeable in general and chauvinistic toward women (though I get that this was likely a characteristic of that time period). Also a laudanum and opium addict. Were all of these qualities true of the real Wilkie Collins? I suspect perhaps yes, though I don't know that for sure. Anyway, it was hard to feel any sympathy for him as the narrator. I did have trouble getting into this book. It seemed long and slow-moving and overly detailed. But again, that's typical of Victorian literature, and though Dan Simmons is a contemporary writer, I do feel he captured the time period well. There was creepiness in this story and a bit of the macabre. And I was never certain if Collins was retelling fact or if he was going mad and/or under the influence of laudanum. It was all a bit murky, though I'm sure it was purposefully written that way in order to keep the reader guessing. I'm sure I would've appreciated this novel more had I been familiar with Dickens' story of Drood, so I'd definitely recommend reading that prior to diving into this one. ( )
  indygo88 | Aug 19, 2021 |
I wouldn't have kept going if it wasn't such a fun read, but I do feel a bit cheated. I wonder if Wilkie Collins really imbibed so much laudanum, and that's as close to a spoiler as I'm going to get.
Fantastic period detail and oh my, the squalor. So much squalor.
( )
  flemertown | Jul 10, 2021 |
This review is written with a GPL 4.0 license and the rights contained therein shall supersede all TOS by any and all websites in regards to copying and sharing without proper authorization and permissions. Crossposted at WordPress, Blogspot & Librarything by Bookstooge’s Exalted Permission
Title: Drood
Series: ----------
Author: Dan Simmons
Rating: 4 of 5 Stars
Genre: Horror
Pages: 725
Words: 281K

Synopsis:

From Wikipedia & Me

The book is a fictionalized account of the last five years of Charles Dickens' life told from the viewpoint of Dickens' friend and fellow author, Wilkie Collins. The title comes from Dickens' unfinished novel, The Mystery of Edwin Drood. The novel's complex plot mixes fiction with biographical facts from the lives of Dickens, Collins, and other literary and historical figures of the Victorian era, complicated even further by the narrator's constant use of opium and opium derivatives such as laudanum, rendering him an unreliable narrator.

Collins narrates the story of how Dickens met a strange fellow named Drood at a railroad accident. Dickens is convinced that Drood is some sort of evil incarnate while Collins is pretty sure Dickens is just being Dickens.

As time passes however, Collins is no longer so sure that Dickens was wrong. Dragged along by Dickens in his quest to find Drood and uncover the mystery of who he is and what his goals are, Collins becomes a pawn of the mysterious Drood. Drood is King of the Underworld and a practitioner of dark arts lost since the times of the Pharoahs. At the same time Collins is also wooed by one Inspector Fields, a former head of Scotland Yard who is convinced that Drood has killed over 300 people and plans on some sort of supernatural takeover of London.

Caught up in his own literary world, Collins must contend with Drood, Fields, the success of Dickens and his own increasing use of drugs such as laudanum, opium and morphine to combat the pain and hallucinations brought about by syphilis and the scarab beetle put into his brain by Drood to control him. With the death of Dickens, Collins is sure that Drood will leave him alone, even though Dickens revealed to him that everything that had gone on before was a combination of mesmerism, hypnotic suggestion and drugs, all as an experiment on Dickens part and making use of Collins.

Collins knows better though and even though he outlives Dickens by many years, the shade of Drood haunts him to the end.

My Thoughts:

I went into this completely blind. I was hoping for a completion of Dickens' unfinished The Mystery of Edwin Drood. This was not that book. This was the syphilitic hallucinatory ramblings of an opium and morphine addict.

There were times that the narrator would talk for a whole chapter and then at the beginning of the next chapter you realized that the entire thing had happened in his head, or in his opium dreams or was just a wish fulfillment on his part. It was disturbing to say the least and by the end of the book I was having bad dreams. I didn't realize it, but this WAS horror and it affected me as such. Not your gruesome 80's slasher kind of horror, but the invisible dread that hovers over your soul kind of horror. While I've read some of Simmons SF, I'd never sampled his horror offerings. After this, I won't be trying out anything else by him.

With all of that, this was fantastically written, kept me glued to the pages and even though an unreliable narrator tends to send me into the screaming heeby jeeby rants I never once thought of stopping. Simmons kept me reading page after page like he had inserted a magic beetle of his own into MY brain. And that was disturbing to me too.

I think that some familiarity with Wilkie Collins' works, at least his Moonstone, would help a lot. Since this is a fictionalized account, I'm not sure that too much knowledge would actually help as the confusion between fiction and reality would make this even more of a psychedelic read. Unless you LIKE having your mind messed with, then by all means, dive into this head first and see what happens.

As a completion to The Mystery of Edwin Drood this was a complete failure. As a standalone horror story, it was a complete success. I shall try my hand again at finding another “ending” to the Mystery. I have my eye on one by David Madden but considering it was never released as an ebook, I'm not sure if I'll be able to get a hold of it. If you've heard of any other books or authors who tried to complete the Mystery, let me know please.

★★★★☆ ( )
  BookstoogeLT | Mar 26, 2021 |
Possibly the most unlikable characters I have encountered in a book in a long time. There were no positive or likable characters in this book. Not one.

I've never been a Dickens fan and am always prepared to be disgusted when he pops up in any discussion or review. This book only deepened my dislike of the man and his works.

However. The book is told through the eyes of one character. Wilkes is disgustingly snobbish, possibly psychotic, definitely hallucinating, a junky, and he is completely unreliable both as a character and a narrator. He is utterly repulsive. The lower he sinks into addiction and hedonism the more his delusions and narcissism floats.

He will now sit on a shelf next to Patrick Bateman. Bravo to Dan Simmons for creating him.

The settings for the book were well written, as was the plot. The plot is the very tricky bit and it's handled wonderfully. The book is very readable. Everything moves along nicely, the action is layered with a deepening disquiet and darkening of the settings.

Really liked this one! ( )
  rabbit-stew | Nov 15, 2020 |
Showing 1-5 of 143 (next | show all)
Se documentant énormément, lisant et relisant les œuvres des deux auteurs anglais, Simmons avoue s'être immergé dans son sujet jusqu'à ressentir le lien douloureux qui unissait les deux écrivains. Drood serait-il le roman le plus personnel de son auteur ? Lorsqu'on lui pose la question, Dan Simmons reste silencieux un long moment puis finit par acquiescer. Avec une lueur de fierté dans le regard.
 
L’essentiel ne tient pas à l’enquête à la Sherlock Holmes sur Drood, avec un passage gratiné où les quinquagénaires Dickens et Collins traînent leurs guêtres dans un semblant d’Achéron nauséabond et où le second s’endort malgré tout. L’enjeu du livre passe par la voix nasillarde et risible de Collins, celle de l’auteur détruite par le laudanum et les visions, celle de l’envieux devant le génial. L’histoire fourmille de détails, le ton tient de l’époque. Et Drood force Dickens, comme Salieri Mozart, à lui écrire un roman. Drood, comme une métaphore du démon de l’écrivain.
 
"Despite the odd mistake that only an American could make (describing Sir Walter Scott as “an English writer”, for instance), Simmons has taken great pains to make his backdrop of everyday Victorian life convincing. This is a rich and strange book, and the pages fly by."
 
"Drood, though trying the reader's patience (never mind credulity) in sight of its 800th page, wears its research lightly and is written with genuine verve."
added by bookfitz | editThe Guardian, DJ Taylor (Mar 21, 2009)
 
Simmons's novel is a long, overweight gothic fantasy, stuffed with the fruits of its author's research. The fictional Dickens, Collins and their world do not quite correspond with historical reality. But the story has a manic energy that compels shock and awe, if not belief. The closer it comes to fantasy, the better it becomes.
 
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Epigraph
"What brought good Wilkie's genius nigh perdition? Some demon whispered - 'Wilkie! Have a mission.' " - A.C. Swinburne, Fortnightly Review, Nov., 1889
Dedication
First words
My name is Wilkie Collins, and my guess, since I plan to delay publication of this document for at least a century and a quarter beyond the date of my demise, is that you do not recognise my name.
Quotations
"Drood levitated."
All those thousands upon thousands of days and nights of writing--writing through unspeakable pain and intolerable loneliness and in utter dread--and you...Reader...have not read or been in the audience for any one of them.

To hell with it. To hell with you.
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(Click to show. Warning: May contain spoilers.)
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Wikipedia in English (1)

Based on the historical details of Charles Dickens' life, "Drood" explores the still-unsolved mysteries of the famous author's last years and may provide the key to his final, unfinished work: "The Mystery of Edwin Drood".

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Book description
V červnu roku 1865 se většina vagonů vlaku, v němž cestoval spisovatel Charles Dickens se svou milenkou a její matkou do Londýna, zřítila z železničního mostu. Jejich vůz zkáze unikl. Slavný spisovatel začal ihned pomáhat raněným. Tady se poprvé setkal s tajuplnou a děsivou bytostí, která si říkala Drood. Měla hrozivý umrlčí zjev, byla oděna v dlouhém černém plášti, mluvila nepřirozeným hlasem, připomínajícím syčení hada. Navíc se zdá, jako by se spíše vznášela, než kráčela po zemi. Dickens se rozhodl, že musí za každou cenu odhalit jeho tajemství. Vypravěčem příběhu není Dickens sám, ale jeho přítel a spolupracovník Wilkie Collins, kterého Dickens požádá, aby mu asistoval při pátrání po podivném Droodovi. Collins je však rovněž gambler, který se potýká se závislostí na opiu. Vydejme se s nimi nejen do těch nejtemnějších a nejnebezpečnějších londýnských čtvrtí, kam je honba za tajemnem opředeným Droodem zavede, ale rovněž do chmurných zákoutí lidské mysli. Zjistěme, co z jeho pamětí je skutečnost a co výplod fantazie.
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Hachette Book Group

6 editions of this book were published by Hachette Book Group.

Editions: 0316007021, 1600244637, 0316037583, 031600703X, 1600248349, 0316120618

 

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