Drood is a 2009 Dan Simmons novel telling the story of Dickens' life after he meets Drood during the aftermath of a train wreck. Wilkie Collins narrates.
from the back of the book:
On June 9, 1863, while traveling by train to London with his secret mistress, fifty-three-year-old Charles Dickens –at the height of his powers and popularity, the most famous and successful novelist in the world– hurtled into a disaster that changed his life forever.I got to page 425, about halfway through, and saw this:
Did Dickens begin living a dark double life after the accident? Were his nightly forays into the worst slums of London and his deepening obsession with corpses, crypts, murder, opium dens, the use of lime pits, and a hidden London-beneath-London mere research ... or something much darker?
Based on the historical details of Charles Dickens's life and narrated by Wilkie Collins -Dickens's friend, frequent collaborator, and Salieri-style secret rival- Drood explores the still-unsolved mysteries of the author's last years and may provide the key to his final, unfinished work: The Mystery of Edwin Drood.
Chilling, haunting, and utterly original, Drood is Dan Simmons at his powerful best
"That moment was the end of my life as I had known it."
Well, if I'd known that I'd have skimmed the first half of the book. Honestly, all those people and houses and mistresses and now he's starting over??? But I kept reading. Another 15 pages, though, was enough to make me understand that those Readers Digest Condensed Books might be useful in some cases. I'm done for now. I may pick it back up eventually to finish it. But maybe not.
The LA Times calls it "big, bulky, outrageous, irritating, phantasmic." The Washington Post concludes, "Inside this artery-clogging almost-800-page book is a sleek and sinewy 300-page thriller waiting to be teased out. If only Simmons hadn't left the job to us." The New Yorker closes by saying, "The narrative is overlong, with discarded subplots and red herrings, but Simmons, a master of otherworldly suspense, cleverly explores envy’s corrosive effects."
Kirkus Reviews says it's "suspenseful and spooky". HorrorNovelReviews.com begins its review: "...Unfortunately for me, Drood proved to be somewhat boring during the last half. It’s nearly eight hundred pages long, and the blasted thing took me a solid month to read. I almost stopped several times during the course of those four weeks."