- Mass Market Paperback: 360 pages
- Publisher: HarperCollins; Mass Paperback Edition edition (October 28, 2008)
- Language: English
- ISBN-10: 0061706493
- ISBN-13: 978-0061706493
- Product Dimensions: 7.5 x 4.3 x 1 inches
- Shipping Weight: 5.6 ounces
- Average Customer Review: 4.4 out of 5 stars See all reviews (254 customer reviews)
- Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #313,555 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)
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The Great Train Robbery Mass Market Paperback – October 28, 2008
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"A nineteenth-century version of The Sting...Crichton fascinates us."-- The New, York Times Book Review --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.
From the Inside Flap
"A nineteenth-century version of THE STING...Crichton fascinates us."
THE NEW YORK TIMES BOOK REVIEW
In teeming Victorian London, where lavish wealth and appalling poverty live side by side, Edward Pierce charms the most prominent of the well-to-do as he cunningly orchestrates the crime of the century. Who would suspect that a gentleman of breeding could mastermind the daring theft of a fortune in gold? Who could predict the consequences of making the extraordinary robbery aboard the pride of England's industrial era, the mighty steam locomotive? Based on fact, as lively as legend, and studded with all the suspense and style of a modern fiction master, here is a classic caper novel set a decade before the age of dynamite--yet nonetheless explosive....
From the Paperback edition. --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.
Top Customer Reviews
Edward Pierce wants 12,000 pounds sterling that will be sent by rail to fund the Crimean War. The obstacles are huge. It takes four keys to get to and unlock the safe. This was before the days of nitroglycerine, so the safe could not be blown, and it was too heavy to carry away. All four keys are held by separate persons and must be found and copied. The thieves have to get the payload unseen off of a moving train. Mr. Pierce has a hazy background, presents himself as a wealthy traveling businessman with a fine home in London, a well-dressed gentleman with an appreciation of the finer things. As we get to know him better, we learn he has nerves of steel, a quick and clever wit, and is relentless planner with infinite patience. He is blessed with a mysterious mistress, Miriam, whose acting abilities could put Meryl Streep to shame. The suspense and tension as Pierce and his accomplice, Robert Algar, work for a solid year on their plan is riveting. Naturally, when the heist takes place, even the most careful plans have to change with unforeseen circumstances. Will they get away with it? Read it and see.
The author puts us in the skins of Victorian people of the time. For instance, the police department is only 25 years old. London citizens were accustomed to being very hands-on when a crime is committed. Not like today when one's first thought is to call the police.Read more ›
The story is exciting in its own right, but Crichton takes it to a whole new level.
Central to the entire crime is the understanding that in the 1855, there was no such thing as dynamite or other explosives, so safes really were impregnable without keys or unlimited to time to pick them. Thus, the robbery of the monthly gold shipment that traveled by rail to France to pay for the Crimean War was deemed inconceivable, as opening the safes required four keys which were held in three separate locations. However, along comes Edward Pierce, a safecracker and master con artist who wanted that gold. The book tells how using an incredible array of scams, assistants and associates, misdirection, boldness, and quick thinking, he obtains copies of the four keys and embarks on the theft of the century. Crichton does this is a fairly documentary style for the most part, however the dialogue amongst the criminals sparkles with period underworld slang (all of which he stops to explain).
The story is recounted with continual reference to the trial, so its clear from the get go that the plot was successful, yet somehow the plotters were caught.Read more ›
Michael Crichton's technothrillers, as much as I enjoy them, often suffer from wooden characters. This book most definitely does not. Pierce, the surprisingly (sometimes infuriatingly) engaging hero/villian, is beautifully written; and the cast of characters surrounding him comes colorfully alive, even for those who play relatively minor roles. The dialog written in dialect and the wealth of historical and cultural detail add texture, and the plot works well; but it's the characters that make this story such a pleasure to read.
Most Recent Customer Reviews
Full of history and intrigue. Once started hard to put down. And at the end I dare you to not root for the "villain"!Published 6 days ago by Myron L Curtis
Well written, of course. The narrative voice was perfect. Well developed characters and the reader is treated to a raw picture of Victorian England.Published 22 days ago by T.L.
Crichton takes you back to crime and criminality in Victorian England, and reconstructs the true crime of the century in his inimitable style. Read morePublished 1 month ago by Chuck Johnson
This book is a lot of Crichtonites favorite book. I didn't like it as much as his others, but it's still very well executed and I can see the appealPublished 1 month ago by Amazon Customer
This was a very entertaining book. Its a story about a caper told in a very readable style. I particularly like the fact that it gives details on what life was like during the time... Read morePublished 1 month ago by Michelle M
This is a classic because it's one of the few non fiction books by Micheal Chricton . So full of detail and imagery of the times the robbery occurred. Read morePublished 3 months ago by james stallings
I love the language used...unknown a many words, but somehow, Crichton just know how to convey the meanings. And the twists in this tale is just so fascinatingly! Read morePublished 3 months ago by Amazon Customer
Truth is really stranger than fiction! I don't think an author back in 1880s England could have come up with such a fascinating story. Read morePublished 4 months ago by Mystic by the Lake