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It always amazes me when I read the reviews of books I am thinking of buying at audible.com. It makes it very hard to decide whether to buy it or not. The same book receives 5 stars outstanding from one listener and a 2 star very poor from another. The author of The Fifth Heart took on a daunting task with a book requiring credible dialogue amongst a host of historical and fictional characters. I applaud Dan Simmons' attempt, but it would take a scholar of outstanding achievement and understanding of the historical characters as well as a master story teller of Sir Conan Doyle's caliber to get the chemistry on this plot right. Taking into account the difficulty of the endeavour I listened to the whole book despite reservations. For examples of authors who get the fictional/historical character dialogue right check out Max Allan Collins' True Crime series and Neal Stephenson's Cryptonomicon or Baroque Cycle. The premise of The Fifth Heart is fun and promising so go ahead and enjoy (with reservations.)
11 of 11 people found this review helpful
The concept for this novel is brilliant. The writing is magnificent. The story is engaging, but . . . readers need to settle in and be prepared for details, details, details. If you like Dickens, you might enjoy The Fifth Heart. It is rich in atmosphere and characters but it is a bit of a slog to get through. If you are prepared for that, it is an intriguing novel, worth the commitment to it. Just know what you are getting in to first.
20 of 21 people found this review helpful