Thunderstruck

  • by Erik Larson
  • Narrated by Tony Goldwyn
  • 5 hrs and 49 mins
  • Abridged Audiobook

Publisher's Summary

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. Their 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 crime. With his superb narrative skills, Erik Larson guides these parallel narratives toward a relentlessly suspenseful meeting on 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. Thunderstruck presents a vibrant portrait of an era of séances, science, and fog, inhabited by inventors, magicians, and Scotland Yard detectives, all presided over by the amiable and fun-loving Edward VII as the world slid inevitably toward the first great war of the 20th century. Gripping from the start, and rich with fascinating detail about the time, the people, and the new inventions that connect and divide us, Thunderstruck is splendid narrative history from a master of the form.

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What the Critics Say

"Larson has a knack for creating genuine suspense in his writing, and his latest is thoroughly enthralling." (Booklist)
"Splendid, beautifully written....Thunderstruck triumphantly resurrects the spirit of another age." (Publishers Weekly)

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Customer Reviews

Most Helpful

Great story

I enjoyed the story very much. It was a superbly written book about an era I love, the turn of the last century. I did not care for the significantly over dramatic tone of the narrator. I felt like I was listening to a 1950's radio commercial where every syllable of every word is over annunciated. Some listeners may enjoy that style. It is just not my preference. I do recommend the book though, especially if you enjoyed Mr Larson's other book , Devil in the White City.
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- KELLY CHMIELEWSKI

educational entertainment

fascinating way of intertwining two historical stories--one well known and the other not as much
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- Cathy Manning

Book Details

  • Release Date: 10-12-2006
  • Publisher: Random House Audio