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The Great Train Robbery Kindle Edition
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London, 1855, when lavish wealth and appalling poverty exist side by side, one mysterious man navigates both worlds with perfect ease. Edward Pierce preys on the most prominent of the well-to-do as he cunningly orchestrates the crime of his century. Who would suspect that a gentleman of breeding could mastermind the extraordinary robbery aboard the pride of England’s industrial era, the mighty steam locomotive? Based on fact, but studded with all the suspense and style of fiction, here is a classic historical thriller, set a decade before the age of dynamite—yet nonetheless explosive…
About the Author
MICHAEL CRICHTON was born in Chicago in 1942. His novels include Timeline, Jurassic Park, and The Andromeda Strain. He was also the creator of the television series ER. One of the most popular writers in the world, his books have been made into thirteen films, and translated in thirty-six languages. He died in 2008.
- ASIN : B007UH4DD6
- Publisher : Vintage; 1st edition (May 14, 2012)
- Publication date : May 14, 2012
- Language : English
- File size : 3005 KB
- Text-to-Speech : Enabled
- Screen Reader : Supported
- Enhanced typesetting : Enabled
- X-Ray : Enabled
- Word Wise : Enabled
- Print length : 386 pages
- Lending : Not Enabled
- Best Sellers Rank: #46,700 in Kindle Store (See Top 100 in Kindle Store)
- Customer Reviews:
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Top reviews from the United States
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In the director's commentary on the film DVD, Crichton says that he wanted it to be something between a documentary and just a caper flick. I'm not sure how well he succeeds in that in the film; the set decorators and costume designers did a great job, but this "show, don't tell" approach can do only so much. The book, on the other hand, includes numerous essays on life in Victorian times: about the growth of railroads and the importance of trains and why the train robbery was so shocking, about safes and locks and the security of the times, about the position of women and the difficulty of being an old maid, about "ratting sports," about the activities of Rotten Row, about the Crystal Palace, about Victorian horror of premature burial, and about all manner of crimes and deceptions, with details that are only hinted at in the film.
But this very factual historical background makes it very tempting to believe that the entire story is true--which it is not. Not that it isn't very convincing. As you read the book, you have to firmly remind yourself of this because Crichton confidently quotes verbatim from invented newspaper stories and includes extended excerpts from entirely fictitious books. The best example of this is detailed at http://hnn.us/article/153726 ("A Tale Worthy of Poe: The Myth of George Bateson and his Belfry").
The cultural history is just lagniappe, though. The distinctive characters and meticulously plotted story are what make this book worth rereading. On rereading, I was impressed and pleased again by the design of the book--not just the typography and graphics but the way Crichton has divided the story into discrete parts and chapters almost like acts and scenes. Most of the chapters are quite short, and each is a little jewel that advances just one aspect of the plot.
Having become more knowledgeable about the actual Great Train Robbery of 1855, and having listened to Crichton's director's commentary on the movie DVD, I was even more impressed with this book the second time through. When I first read it, I was impressed with the amount of research Crichton had done and the way he made it read like fiction. The second time I knew that it was almost entirely fiction, so I was equally impressed with his creativity and imagination. As he says on the DVD, "the original episode...was considerably more seedy," and "the real details are sordid and grubby and lacking in drama." Although Crichton did not base his story on the trial transcripts (which he didn't know existed) or on actual newspaper stories (though the book includes several such that he invented), it is clear that he must have done at least some research on the original crime, as the story he tells does match the historical event at some points. But, as he says of the film, "I really like this train robbery a lot better. I'm much more pleased with this version."
Indeed. Crichton has made a silk purse out of a sow's ear, and it is well worth reading. For readers who have enjoyed the book, I do also recommend the film, which is equally excellent in its own way, and I especially recommend listening to the director's commentary, which brings out many fascinating aspects of the story.
good, though not as clear and concise as others I have listened to. The trial and the aftermath were fascinating as well, though they were overshadowed by the Indian uprising. Having taken a break from reading his works, I had forgotten what fun his books are. Pierce was as brilliant as Maria try.
Top reviews from other countries
I recommend this book.