Drood, By Dan Simmons.
As ever, if you want a synopsis or plot outline, read the back of the book or the Wikipedia page.
I review with the understanding that you have read the book.
London After Midnight starring Lon Chaney is a film that was lost during the 1965 MGM vault fire. The plot is about a murder, subterfuge by characters seeming to have the powers of hypnotism and are of a supernatural nature.
A mockumentary about London After Midnight, titled Lon Chaney After Midnight, premiered at the Egyptian Theater in 2008.
What, Dear Reader, does this have to do with Drood?
I'll get to that.
First things first.
This is a delicious read. It has become very rare for me these days to NOT skim paragraphs and chapters to get to the bloody point. I usually cannot even remember the characters names in many of the books I read because I care so little for the two dimensional quality that seems to fill most books these days. It often feels like I am given a trope or cliche regarding a character that is touted as the driving force of the characters psychology. Current fiction seems to have almost every character be some kind of anti-hero with tragedy as the carrot that leads their ass.
Dan Simmons made me read every word, pay attention to every character, and wrote with an amazing prose. This is one of the books you read as a journey and not a destination, to abuse a cliche. It is worth the 700+ pages it takes to go from Charles Dickens train accident to his eventual death, and Wilkie Collins, the drug addicted anti hero narrates the events with his own level of hypnotism. When I have read other books with this page length, such as Stephen Kings abysmal Under the Dome (spoiler! Giant space ants from another dimension are torturing us for adolescent fun!), I will sometimes go through it with a red pen and slash all the pages that do nothing to further the plot, character, or to give understanding of the situation. Kings Dome is over 1000 pages. It could be 200. I would not go at Simmons book with a red pen. Even when it seems like nothing is moving the plot or characters forward, the atmosphere that is developed saturates and immerses you in the Victorian world, it's customs, its culture, and more. Politics are barely mentioned, yet you can grasp the political climate. Temperature is romanticized and vilified and adds a shading that doesn't try to act like a metaphor but still sets the tone and "cinema" of any given scene.
I cannot stress how nice it was to read this book, even though the plot itself is creepy and boring (yes, I sad creepy and boring. A lot happens, but also nothing really happens., and Wilkie Collins is a despicable and loathsome character that is beyond redemption).
I didn't know Wilkie Collins was an actual person, or a real life friend of Charles Dickens. I thought it was one of those clever stories where the fictional character is written interweaving actual historical events. So I feel as though I was entertained but also learned something about history, life in the 1800s, beliefs and attitudes of the time.
How does Lon Chaney factor into it?
Drood is the metaphysical being that appears in both Dickens and Collins life, attempting to pull them into his cult using blackmail, manipulation both by strong arm and hypnotism. He is described as having filed and sharp teeth, eyes with large dark circles under them as well las the eyelids are cut off, an out of date tophat, and a cape. He is Egyptian.
Go look up London after Midnight and tell me that Drood is NOT described as Lon Chaney.
Read this book if you haven't. Tell Dan Simmons about my guess regarding Drood.
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