Kemper's Reviews > Drood

Drood by Dan Simmons
Rate this book
Clear rating

by
405390
's review
Mar 13, 10

really liked it
bookshelves: crime-mystery, sci-fi, historical-fiction

Hello, Dear Readers. Wilkie Collins here. In case you’re unfamiliar with me, I was a best selling English novelist during the mid-1800s, and a friend and frequent collaborator with Charles Dickens. I’m also the narrator of this new novel Drood despite the fact that this Dan Simmons fellow is trying to claim the credit when it clearly states that I left this manuscript to be published one-hundred and twenty-five years after my death.

Something I should confess immediately is that I use laudanum and opium regularly as treatment for my physical ailments. In fact, I tend to swig the laudanum like spring water on a hot day, and while I was initially a bit frightened by the opium dens, I soon found them quite inviting. Oh, and my physician was also giving me regular doses of morphine. I admit to using the medicines freely so that the readers will know that I’m still a reliable narrator. I’m also haunted constantly by apparitions like a frightening doppelganger who tries to take over my writing and my life. However, I’m quite sure these are visions are real and have nothing to do with the laudanum. Or the opium. Or the morphine.

The other thing you should know is that my good friend and colleague Charles Dickens was immensely popular in his day. (This chap, Kemper, informs me that in current terms, Dickens was ‘like a f------g rock star’.) Not that I was jealous, mind you. Even though he was always more popular with critics and the public, made far more money than I did, and always got the lion’s share of credit of projects we collaborated on, I can assure you that I always stayed above petty concerns like envy. Even as he treated my brother, Charles’s son-in-law, quite terribly and had a habit of being a bit condescending when we discussed writing, I still bore Charles no ill will. (At least, not until near the end.)

Anyhow, it’s well known that when Charles Dickens died he left an unfinished novel called The Mystery of Edwin Drood. What isn’t known is the story behind that novel and Charles’s odd behavior during the last five years of his life.

In 1865, Charles was on a train that had a terrible accident. While he was unharmed, many other passengers were injured or killed. Charles confessed to me that while helping with the wounded, he met a very strange man who called himself Drood. Charles noticed later that most of the injured that Drood appeared to be helping were later found to be dead.

Charles wanted to track down this Drood character and enlisted me as a companion while following clues through the worst slums of London, including an entire underground society existing in the numerous crypts beneath the city.

This began a nightmare period for me that lasted until Charles’s death. A former police inspector began blackmailing me to report on Charles’s activities with Drood, and this inspector claimed that Drood was the leader of a vast criminal organization responsible for hundreds of deaths. Charles became obsessed with murder and mesmerism. Despite his failing health, he insisted on embarking on a series of readings in Europe and America that frequently shocked and terrified his audiences. Worst of all, Drood began to take an interest in me also.

So I highly recommend you read this tale of our tragic involvement with Drood and how it impacted our friendship, our writing and our sanity. Again, I’ll dispute Kemper’s theory that my medicine may have had some impact on my perception of these events, but I will admit that when you have two prominent fiction writers involved in a story, it’s wise to be wary of embellishments.

As a bonus, you’ll also get to read how Charles and I always conducted ourselves as English gentlemen. For example, when Charles’s wife and mother of his ten children had the audacity to complain about his mistress, Charles forced her to apologize to the woman and then exiled her from his house and family. Or how I lived with a woman I claimed as my housekeeper for years, but would never let my mother visit because I obviously couldn’t allow Mother to associate with such a harlot.

Ah, those were the days.

Sincerely,
Wilkie
98 likes · flag

Sign into Goodreads to see if any of your friends have read Drood.
Sign In »

Comments (showing 1-26 of 26) (26 new)

dateDown arrow    newest »

message 1: by Kasia (new) - added it

Kasia You're reading 2 Dan Simmons books at once? Is he that good? Drood's been on my TBR for a while now, but I've been pushing it back...


message 2: by Kemper (last edited Mar 06, 2010 10:32AM) (new) - rated it 4 stars

Kemper I'm a big Simmons fan, but this was kind of an accident. I got Drood for Xmas. Then I was looking for a new audio book for driving/work time and saw that he had Black Hils out so I downloaded it. Finished my last book and realized that I'd finally cleared my library pile to he point where I'd promised myself I'd start Drood. I blame Simmons for writing so damn much...


message 3: by Kasia (new) - added it

Kasia Yeah it's lengthy, but with some books that's a good thing.

And hey, fun review!


Lori Haha, yes, great review!


Kemper Kasia wrote: "Yeah it's lengthy, but with some books that's a good thing.

And hey, fun review!"


It was long but very good. Black Hills has been really interesting so far, too.


Momoselli Oh Kemper, too classy. "Hello, Dear Readers. Wilkie Collins here." LOVED it. Very nicely done. (I really like Wilkie telling the tale, too.)


Kemper Momoselli wrote: "Oh Kemper, too classy. "Hello, Dear Readers. Wilkie Collins here." LOVED it. Very nicely done. (I really like Wilkie telling the tale, too.)"

Thanks! I don't get called 'classy' very often.


message 8: by Lisa (new) - added it

Lisa I've hit on 2 of your reviews tonight searching for my next book victims. Thanks for the free entertainment.


Kemper Lisa wrote: "I've hit on 2 of your reviews tonight searching for my next book victims. Thanks for the free entertainment."

I hope you found something useful in the midst of all my blatherings.


Erssie Despite you stating that you are indeed the author of this newly surfaced tale, and that Dan Simmons is falsely claiming authorship, I hate to inform you that I feel that Dan Simmons could indeed be the true writer of this account.

It pops out when he uses words like 'yard', 'sidewalk', 'gotten' when in fact, we know that our Dear true Wilkie, would have referred to these items as garden, pavement and not used the word 'gotten' at all. if it is paved, square, and is at the back of a builder's merchants then dear Dickens's land would indeed have been described as a yard, but as it was at the front, had trees grass and greenery I am pretty sure it was a garden.


Robert And the morphine derivitives may have had something to do with the Other Wilkie, the Green Woman, Drood and The Entity, but not everything - unless you think Wilkie was lying when he said some of them had been around all his life.


message 12: by Kemper (last edited Jul 11, 2012 07:56AM) (new) - rated it 4 stars

Kemper You'll have to take up all these questions with Wilkie. I just posted it for him since he's not very internet savvy because he's from the 1800s. And also dead....


Robert Hmmmm...how much by way of morphine derivatives have you been using? ;-)


Kemper Just enough to make the voices stop...


Robert giggles


Kemper Robert wrote: "giggles"

And so today I had to take a drug test for work. Seriously. The day after we're joking about me being on morphine on here, I get an email telling me I gotta go pee in a cup. I think my bosses are reading this thing. (Actually, they're testing everyone because we got moved to a differnt division and they're treating us all like new employees but it's still pretty funny.)


message 17: by Gary (last edited Feb 09, 2011 04:41PM) (new) - rated it 5 stars

Gary I thought this book was totally great, totally engrossing, totally interesting....now speaking of wilkie collins ...anyone read his book THE WOMAN IN WHITE? I hear it's very good. Opinions??

I have a couple other Dan Simmons books lying around that I need to read. And I will! I liked Drood that much! THE TERROR is next on my list of his to read!


Kemper I haven't read any of Wilkie Collins books. I knew nothing about him other than his name before reading this.


message 19: by Stacey (new) - added it

Stacey To Gary, yes, Woman in White is one of my all-time favs, also Moonstone. Both worth reading.


Robert It's kinda depressing that employees are drug tested...


Kemper Robert wrote: "It's kinda depressing that employees are drug tested..."

It really interferes with my crank habit.


Erssie .anyone read his book THE WOMAN IN WHITE? I hear it's very good. Opinions??

I have read quite a feew Wilkie Collins books.
I would say that my fave, and his masterpiece, is actually The Moonstone (which contains the sergeant which he based on the real life Inspector).
The Woman in White is also good.

At the time that he wrote these, the idea of a crime mystery novel and the investigation of real life crimes by the use of detection and deduction was a fairly novel idea.


Erssie Kemper wrote: "Robert wrote: "giggles"

And so today I had to take a drug test for work. Seriously. The day after we're joking about me being on morphine on here, I get an email telling me I gotta go pee in a..."


God, I would fail that test right away...and so would most of my friends...how awful.
Do they allow for drugs and medical conditions then?
Most of mine are prescribed and the rest is over the counter cos my doc is too mean to prescribe them for reduced price on the practice's bill.


message 24: by Henrik (new) - added it

Henrik Good review.
You raised some intresting points about Wilkie, that I haven't yet realised myself.


message 25: by Lisa (new) - added it

Lisa I was just recommended this book and saw your review. amazing. thank you for sharing!! love it. the review that is. I have read the book yet but I'm excited to now!


Kemper Lisa wrote: "I was just recommended this book and saw your review. amazing. thank you for sharing!! love it. the review that is. I have read the book yet but I'm excited to now!"

Thanks! I hope you like it.


back to top