From the #1 New York Times bestselling author of The Devil in the White City, a true story of love, murder, and the end of the world’s “great hush”
In Thunderstruck, Erik Larson tells the interwoven stories of two men—Hawley Crippen, a very unlikely murderer, and Guglielmo Marconi, the obsessive creator of a seemingly supernatural means of communication—whose lives intersect during one of the greatest criminal chases of all time.
Set in Edwardian London and on the stormy coasts of Cornwall, Cape Cod, and Nova Scotia, Thunderstruck evokes the dynamism of those years when great shipping companies competed to build the biggest, fastest ocean liners; scientific advances dazzled the public with visions of a world transformed; and the rich outdid one another with ostentatious displays of wealth. Against this background, Marconi races against incredible odds and relentless skepticism to perfect his invention: the wireless, a prime catalyst for the emergence of the world we know today. Meanwhile, Crippen, “the kindest of men,” nearly commits the perfect murder.
With his unparalleled narrative skills, Erik Larson guides us through a relentlessly suspenseful chase over the waters of the North Atlantic. Along the way, he tells of a sad and tragic love affair that was described on the front pages of newspapers around the world, a chief inspector who found himself strangely sympathetic to the killer and his lover, and a driven and compelling inventor who transformed the way we communicate.
About The #1 New York Times bestselling author Erik LarsonSee more books from this Author
“Thunderstruck” would be a far better book if it conveyed a clearer sense of how the Crippen marriage reached this unfortunate state of affairs. But Mr. Larson renders both Crippens only sketchily.Read Full Review of Thunderstruck | See more reviews from NY Times
"Thunderstruck" would be a far better book if it conveyed a clearer sense of how the Crippen marriage reached this unfortunate state of affairs. But Larson renders both Crippens only sketchily.Read Full Review of Thunderstruck | See more reviews from NY Times
Both the Marconi and the Crippen stories have been told several times before and, taken singly, could not perhaps bear another outing. However, wrapped around each other like a kind of double helix, they give us a richer picture of Edwardian London than could ever be managed if each stood alone.Read Full Review of Thunderstruck | See more reviews from Guardian
More significantly, the Marconi story feels far less engaging than that of Crippen. There is plenty to be enthralled by in the Marconi tale - Larson touches on the late 19th-century overlapping of magic and science and belief, yet renders it less magical than it might be...Read Full Review of Thunderstruck | See more reviews from Guardian
...a fascinating, well-researched and well-written, thought-provoking look...Much of “Thunderstruck” deals with the running corporate battle between Marconi and his competitors...Read Full Review of Thunderstruck
Erik Larson has a winning combination here --- pairing a celebrated segment of history with a heinous crime --- making what, in the wrong hands, could turn out as a dull account into a fast-paced drama.Read Full Review of Thunderstruck
Thunderstruck lacks the urgency and blood-chilling revelation that made The Devil In The White City such a page-turner, though Larson does fill the book with cliffhangers, teases, and mini-mysteries.Read Full Review of Thunderstruck | See more reviews from AV Club
The development of the wireless has its fascinations, but against a gory sexual psychodrama it doesn’t stand a chance.Read Full Review of Thunderstruck
I began “Thunderstruck” wondering how Larson would ever manage to connect an inventor and a madman. Yet I came away pondering why no other writer had already written what seemed like an obvious story.Read Full Review of Thunderstruck
Thanks in a large part to his realistic portrayal of England and his work's tense pacing, Larson approaches this well-trodden turf – the second-most famous murder in England, according to the preface – from a unique and fresh perspective.Read Full Review of Thunderstruck
But there's more than just page turning, though that in itself is enough. It's impossible to read about Marconi without thinking of his equivalents in the dot-com days. Larson's vision of the past informs not just his readers' vision of the past, but also our vision of the present and future.Read Full Review of Thunderstruck
Larson has a knack for making history seem immediate. Even though the two stories in THUNDERSTRUCK are a bit of a stretch when it comes to matching timelines, they are both fascinating.Read Full Review of Thunderstruck
It’s a fascinating book that has it all: romance, mystery, paranoia, politics, magicians, psychics, seances, industrial espionage, murder, and some history thrown in to boot.Read Full Review of Thunderstruck
Read it! If you can get through the technical information, you will be rewarded by an exciting story that leaves you wondering if someone got away with murder.Read Full Review of Thunderstruck
Thunderstruck reads like the best of novels, but has the weight of truth behind it. Carefully crafted and brilliantly written, it is a true crime story that compares with the best fiction for twists, turns, and moments of crime-solving worthy of Dr. Thorndyke or Sherlock Holmes.Read Full Review of Thunderstruck
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