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Extended Audio Sample The Last Dickens: A Novel, by Matthew Pearl Click for printable size audiobook cover
3 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 5 3.00 (3,178 ratings) (rate this audio book) Author: Matthew Pearl Narrator: Paul Michael Publisher: Penguin Random House Format: Unabridged Audiobook Delivery: Instant Download Audio Length: Release Date: March 2009 ISBN: 9780739344293
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In his most enthralling novel yet, the critically acclaimed author Matthew Pearl reopens one of literary history's greatest mysteries. The Last Dickensis a tale filled with the dazzling twists and turns, the unerring period details, and the meticulous research that thrilled readers of the best sellers The Dante Club and The Poe Shadow.

Boston, 1870. When news of Charles Dickens's untimely death reaches the office of his struggling American publisher, Fields & Osgood, partner James Osgood sends his trusted clerk Daniel Sand to await the arrival of Dickens's unfinished novel. But when Daniel's body is discovered by the docks and the manuscript is nowhere to be found, Osgood must embark on a transatlantic quest to unearth the novel that he hopes will save his venerable business and reveal Daniel's killer.

Danger and intrigue abound on the journey to England, for which Osgood has chosen Rebecca Sand, Daniel's older sister, to assist him. As they attempt to uncover Dickens's final mystery, Osgood and Rebecca find themselves racing the clock through a dangerous web of literary lions and drug dealers, sadistic thugs and blue bloods, and competing members of Dickens's inner circle. They soon realize that understanding Dickens's lost ending is a matter of life and death, and the hidden key to stopping a murderous mastermind.

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Quotes & Awards

  • A rousing yarn of opium, book pirating, murder most foul, man-on-man biting and other shenanigans—and that's just for starters.[The Last Dickens is] a pleasing whodunit that resolves nicely, bookending Dan Simmons's novel Drood (2009) as an imaginative exercise in what might be called alternative literary history.—Kirkus
  • Just what do the seemingly disparate parts of the story have to do with one another? What the publisher becomes embroiled in, in London, is far more complicated than simply manuscript detection. A whole world of life-and-death nefariousness awaits both him and the reader, who will be well rewarded. Booklist
  • Well executed and tightly controlled…extremely clever. Los Angeles Times
  • “Pearl’s plot is ambitious and satisfying, involving a murder and a missing manuscript, the opium trade, the emerging publishing business In New York and Boston, and the predicament of single, divorced women in America in the 19th century. Fans of Dickens will appreciate Pearl’s literary allusions and his thoroughly researched characterizations… Milwaukee Journal Sentinel
  • Strongly recommended… Pearl enriches his story through an in-depth knowledge of Dickens’s career and literary works. Library Journal

Listener Opinions

  • 2 out of 52 out of 52 out of 52 out of 52 out of 5 Janette | 2/7/2014

    " Had a great idea for a plot. I started out quite good, but I lost interest in the last third of the book. It didn't keep the tension/action strong enough to hold my interest. "

  • 3 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 5 Danielle | 2/5/2014

    " Another historical fiction about Charles Dickens' last novel that was never completed due to his untimely death. It's made me want to go back and read Great Expectations...and some of his other classics... "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 Brian Layman | 1/19/2014

    " A quite unique novel. I now wish to read me some Charles Dickens. It might have helped the enjoyment of the book to read "The Mystery of Edwin Drood" but is not a requirement for the first read of The Last Dickens. "

  • 5 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 5 Ryan | 1/18/2014

    " Very Da Vinci Code-esque. Charles Dickens' final novel, The Mystery of Edwin Drood, was only half-finished when the celebrated author died. Or was it? Publisher James R. Osgood embarks on a hunt for the final six chapters, braving opium dens, pirates, and a motley crew of clever "book"-aneers. Loaded with colorful characters, insights into Dickens' life, as well as chases and derring-do worthy of an action flick, this is a fun must-read! "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 Pschmunk | 1/13/2014

    " Loved it. Was especially fascinated by the state sponsered drug network across different locations in the book. Mathew Pearl does a great job of bringing a different time to life and telling a really good story at the same time. "

  • 3 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 5 Liske | 1/8/2014

    " I was looking forward to reading THE LAST DICKENS since I found THE POE SHADOW to be quite interesting & gripping. It took me quite a while (read: days) to get into this book, which frustrated me because I am a quick reader, but in the end it turned out to be enjoyable. If you're interested in this time period (1800s), Charles Dickens, a bit of mystery mixed with history, and getting a feel for the publishing industry back in the day, you may want to give THE LAST DICKENS a try... Just as long as you have the time and patience to wait for the story to pick up the pace. "

  • 2 out of 52 out of 52 out of 52 out of 52 out of 5 Ashley Thompson | 12/23/2013

    " I would summarize this book with one word: slow. Aside from that, I don't have much else to say about it, unfortunately. The main characters suffered so much injustice and betrayal that it was preposterously predictable, yet unbelievable at the same time. "

  • 3 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 5 Kellyann | 12/20/2013

    " Pretty interesting, both for its plot and for its portrayal of Charles Dickens and the American public's worshipful adoration of him. Sympathetic, well-drawn characters; some unbelievable plot twists. Fun. "

  • 2 out of 52 out of 52 out of 52 out of 52 out of 5 Anna | 12/9/2013

    " God, this book is 485 pages long in Polish edition and I had read it in one evening. Not because so entertaining. Just I was just looking for some plot. The title is The last Dickens, but the book is all about James Osgood, Rebecca Sand and her dead brother Daniel Sand. Very little about Dickens. "

  • 3 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 5 Andrew | 11/8/2013

    " Cool concept, fun mystery, and not too obvious. Some of it seemed contrived (well, it is historical fiction) but I did enjoy it. I will probably read the others, but not in a terrible hurry to do so. "

  • 3 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 5 Andrea | 11/4/2013

    " I really enjoyed the subject of this book, being a lover of Dickens and all, but I really didn't like that there was too much going on. There were too many mysteries and it just became too loaded with discoveries at the end. Still, it was a really interesting read. "

  • 3 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 5 derrick white | 8/29/2013

    " Although this book was a little predictable in it's final act, it was great fun over all. Much better than the similarly formulaed Dante Club (by the same author). Osgood was a believable hero and Herman was a terrific villan. "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 Livius Nedin | 8/10/2013

    " My feelings for this book may be enhanced by Drood by Dan Simmons.This book also covers the mystery of Dickens last unfinshed novel but compliments Drood by offering what was lacking there, the American Dickens tour. I suggest you read both if you have any interest at all. "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 Brian Jacobs | 12/8/2012

    " Very cool story...well written. "

  • 1 out of 51 out of 51 out of 51 out of 51 out of 5 Pat Harmon | 8/11/2012

    " This is one of the few books that I never bothered to finish. After reading approximately 150 pages or more, it never grabbed me. I truly disliked the writing style, and just couldn't get past it to get into the story - such as it was. An interesting concept, but poor implementation. "

  • 2 out of 52 out of 52 out of 52 out of 52 out of 5 Dina | 5/22/2012

    " Soooooooo slow. So slow. I've decided I'm not a Matthew Pearl fan (no offense to his devotees). I'm too old and too ornery to read something tortuous. Interesting mystery & concept, though. "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 Debbie | 11/28/2011

    " Great mystery, historical fiction, and literary fiction all combined and populated with real people and written with a Dickensian flare. Makes me want to return to Dombey and Dorrit. "

  • 3 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 5 Lillian | 11/16/2011

    " good read if you enjoy literary/historical suspense. "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 Julie | 4/26/2011

    " It has some really interesting stuff about charles dickens and how he was treated while touring the u.s. the story was interesting to and took a look at the publsihing industry back then. "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 Gary | 4/25/2011

    " The fact that Dickens' last novel was unfinished opens the door to this carefully crafted suspense novel. You don't have to be a Dickens fan to enjoy, but I'm sure that it helps. "

  • 2 out of 52 out of 52 out of 52 out of 52 out of 5 Stephen | 4/13/2011

    " Mr. Pearl can get the atmosphere and characters pretty good, but as for an engaging plot and interesting action... not so much. "

  • 1 out of 51 out of 51 out of 51 out of 51 out of 5 Flora | 4/10/2011

    " As a Dickens lover, I was so excited to read this book. What a disappointment. It bored me senseless. I've attempted it twice, and abandoned it both times. It just wasn't interesting enough to finish. "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 Jessica | 3/23/2011

    " a bit of a slow start to get into, but loved the way everything came together at the end! "

  • 3 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 5 Roko | 3/12/2011

    " I didn't find this book as engaging as his books about Poe and Dante. Still a good read, but not a book that I couldn't put down. "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 Tavia | 2/26/2011

    " This was pretty good. I have read his other books and I like how they involve people real and imagined. It's also nice to read about the time period when some of my favorite authors lived and wrote. It was a good thriller. "

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