The Great Train Robbery by Michael Crichton

No Series

Lavish wealth and appalling poverty live side by side in Victorian London -- and Edward Pierce easily navigates both worlds. Rich, handsome, and ingenious, he charms the city's most prominent citizens even as he plots the crime of his century, the daring theft of a fortune in gold. But even Pierce could not predict the consequences of an extraordinary robbery that targets the pride of England's industrial era: the mighty steam locomotive.

Based on remarkable fact, and alive with the gripping suspense, surprise, and authenticity that are his trademarks, Michael Crichton's classic adventure is a breathtaking thrill-ride that races along tracks of steel at breakneck speed.

“It is difficult, after the passage of more than a century, to understand the extent to which the train robbery of 1855 shocked the sensibilities of Victorian England.”

I’m trying to read more Michael Crichton - have a lot of his stuff but haven’t actually read much of him yet. This was certainly a different plot type than some of his later works that I have read, like Sphere and Jurassic Park.

I’m a fan of Crichton’s writing style in the books I’ve read, but this was one of his earlier works and sometimes I found the way the writing style was crafted to be a chore or downright bore, but the book was saved by the sneaked in twists and turns. This isn’t to say it’s poorly written, however, just that there was some dryness here and there and a slow-rolling pace.

This was detailed and elaborate, and the scenes are drawn through almost excruciatingly slow. Some of those scenes were very interesting, and the ending with how the villains goes out with a bang of glory as impressive as his planning and execution of the actual crime makes any slow spots worth enduring.

It’s one of those tales where little happens to the good guys but most of the criminals get happiness of sorts. Sometimes we need these stories to shake things up a bit.

The speaking style was hard for me to get used to, and I still don’t get some of the slang, but the authenticity rang true and the characters were memorable enough. Eventually I need to track down the movie and see if it’s the same story-line.

Book Quotes

“Having wallowed in a delightful orgy of anti-French sentiment, having deplored and applauded the villains themselves, having relished the foibles of bankers, railwaymen, diplomats, and police, the public was now ready to see its faith restored in the basic soundness of banks, railroads, government, and police.”


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1 comment:

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