Tuesday, September 13, 2011


Similar to his Devil in the White City, Larson ties together the story of somebody's monumental achievement and another person's major crime. In this book, we learn of the gruesome exploits of Dr. Hawley Harvey Crippen along with the wireless achievements of Marconi.

The story of Crippen is told in a sympathetic manner. Not until the end, does he come across as a killer. I was wondering early on in the story which of the characters would be the actual killer. (The doctor was one of the last one's suspected.)

Marconi's adventures were also well-done, portraying the story of an inventor and shrewd businessman, who alas had some social difficulties. We feel for his obsession with trans-oceanic radio communication - even as he goes down numerous false paths. We also see his secretiveness and willingness to borrow from others, while being reluctant to share himself.

The novel provides a great deal of background for the characters and the early 1900s culture that they lived in. The final "murder" happens quickly with a trans-Atlantic boat chase enabled by Marconi's in-boat wireless communication. We also get a small coda of how Marconi was supposed to travel on the titanic, but a last minute change of plans prevented it.

The novel was very engaging, with the pacing providing numerous details, yet still moving along quickly.

No comments:

Post a Comment