Jonathan Briggs's Reviews > The Great Train Robbery

The Great Train Robbery by Michael Crichton
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's review
May 16, 2012

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Can this really even be considered a novel? It's more like a series of lectures loosely stitched around a historical heist (a great train robbery, it so happens). The plot trickles out in dribs and drabs, frequently interrupted every few paragraphs by gracelessly inserted infodumps that go on for pages. There's zero characterization unless Crichton's repeated descriptions of the protagonist's red beard count (and there follows a mini-lecture on Victorian whisker fashions). The dialogue is nearly indecipherable coz Crichton decided to use every bit of Victorian slang he came across in his research. Victorians didn't even use this much Victorian slang. Much of the book is fairly interesting (if skewed slightly rightwing), it's just not put together very solidly. It reads like something that was researched for months, then slapped together in about a week.

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