#BookReview: The Opium-Eater by David Morrell

Historical Mystery
Biographic Fiction

Thomas De Quincey #1.5

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From bestselling thriller author David Morrell comes a brooding tale about the coldest of deaths and their heartbreaking aftermath.

Thomas De Quincey - the central character of Morrell's acclaimed Victorian mysteries, MURDER AS A FINE ART and INSPECTOR OF THE DEAD - was one of the most notorious and brilliant literary personalities of the 1800s. His infamous Confessions of an English Opium-Eater made history as the first book about drug dependency. He invented the word 'subconscious' and anticipated Freud's psychoanalytic theories by more than a half century. His blood-soaked essays and stories influenced Edgar Allan Poe, who in turn inspired Sir Arthur Conan Doyle to create Sherlock Holmes.

But at the core of it all was a terrible tragedy. In this special-edition novella, based on real-life events, De Quincey shares the story of a horrific snowstorm fifty years earlier, in which a mother and father died and their six children were trapped in the mountains of the Lake District. Even more gripping is what happened after. This is the true tale of how De Quincey became the Opium-Eater, brought to life by an award-winning storyteller.

An afterword contains photos of the dramatic locations in the story.

David Morrell's Thomas De Quincey series is one of my favorites. Murder as a Fine Art and Inspector of the Dead blew me away, but I didn't realize the series included a novella until I went looking for book three, Ruler of the Night. I'm not sure how I missed the publication of The Opium-Eater, but I couldn't resist snagging a copy for my personal library.

At only sixty-seven pages, the piece is hardly intimidating, but the content itself is nothing short of brilliant. Those new to the series get a taste of the style and tone of the larger volumes, while established fans get to satisfy their curiosity by learning what makes Thomas De Quincey tick.

Dark and emotional, The Opium-Eater packs a powerful punch and fleshes out Morrell's enigmatic antihero. Complete with photos, the volume also gives singular insight to the world De Quincey knew and memories he couldn't escape.

Rating: ★ ★ ★ ★ ☆
Obtained from: Personal Kindle Library
Read: October 21, 2016

“There’s no such thing as forgetting, but perhaps I can force wretched memories into submission if I confront them.”