Drood [sound recording] : a novel by Dan Simmons

    Review by: Linda J.

Title:  Drood [sound recording] : a novel

Author:  Dan Simmons

Collection:  Adult Audiobook

Dan Simmons (born April 4, 1948) is an American author most widely known for his Hugo Award-winning science fiction series, known as the Hyperion Cantos, and for his Locus-winning Ilium/Olympos cycle.  Born in Peoria, Illinois, Simmons received an A.B. in English from Wabash College in 1970, and, in 1971, a Masters in Education from Washington University in St. Louis, Missouri. He subsequently worked in elementary education until 1989.  He soon started to write short stories, although his career did not take off until 1982, when, through Harlan Ellison’s help, his short story “The River Styx Runs Upstream” was published and awarded first prize in a Twilight Zone Magazine story competition. His first novel, Song of Kali, was released in 1985.
His book, Drood (2009) is historical fiction.  It takes place in the last five years of Charles Dickens’ life and uses actual events as a background to a mysterious tale.  The story is told from the viewpoint of Wilkie Collins, Dickens’ friend and collaborator.  The story begins when Dickens is involved in a train wreck.  Dickens survives while helping the injured passengers, meets Drood a sinister character who is lurking at the scene.

Dickens relates the details of the wreck to Collins, and mentions the fact that this Drood seemed to be causing some of the injured to die.  Collins, who has a laudanum addiction begins to believe that Drood is the leader of an ancient cult and does a little investigating.
Collins follows Dickens as he meets with shady shadows beneath the streets of London.  They find a system of tunnels, opium dens, sewers and maybe even a temple to an ancient Egyptian god.
How much of the tale is reality and how much is fantasy?  Who can be believed?  Is there an elaborate plot going on, or is it all a hoax?  Who is the crazy one here?  This fascinating story is fiction, but Simmons weaves a tale that could have actually happened!
I listened to the audiobook version of Drood.  John Lee does an excellent job of bringing out the different characters and their various accents.  This book is going to be discussed at the October meeting of the Twisted Jane Book Club at South Cumberland Library.   Read it and come discuss!

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