I was excited when I found I'd been given the assignment to review the book "Drood" by Dan Simmons. I love suspense novels and as the author had produced at least two dozen books, including two New York Times best sellers, I felt I would be in good hands. Unfortunately, the deeper I got into the book, the more convinced I became that, as a piece of literature, "Drood" is not Simmons' finest hour.
Set in Victorian England, the book is a fanciful tale about author Charles Dickens' final years, his relationship with his friend, author William "Wilkie" Collins, and their mutual interaction with a mysterious and demonic character known simply as "Drood." Though the book includes many actual historical figures and events (the book's title is itself taken from Dickens' last and unfinished work, "The Mystery of Edwin Drood"), Simmons' tale is pure, unadulterated fiction.
As seen through the eyes of his narrator Collins, Victorian London is a hellish place full of foggy streets, seedy opium dens and dark, steamy catacombs. "The bodies lay along wooden benches that ran from floor to ceiling for the entire length of the passage... They were skeletal, but not mere skeletons; the tanned and stringy flesh and glass marble