Thursday, November 11, 2010

Great Train Robbery

This is the historical account of a Victorian-era heist of gold from a moving train. Most of the novel concerns the planning involved in carrying out the robbery. The actual robbery happens near the end (and is appropriately only a small part of the whole operation.) The final bit details the public reaction, along with the capture and escape of the robbers. (The final destination of gold and thieves is not known.)

Though based on true events, it is told in a highly engaging manner similar to Crichton's other thrillers. Instead of scientific details, we get details of mid 19th-century life and criminal activity. The criminals are portrayed sympathetically as smart, highly creative individuals engaged in a complicated plot.

The actual robbery required a number of preparatory actions: to open the safes on the train, the keys needed to be obtained. This required social activity to locate the keys, and even a jailbreak to get someone with the proper skills needed to help obtain and duplicate the keys. There were so many ways that the plot could have failed, it is a wonder that it totally succeeded.

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