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The Secret History of Twin Peaks Hardcover – 25 October 2016
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- Publisher : Macmillan (25 October 2016)
- Language : English
- Hardcover : 352 pages
- ISBN-10 : 144729386X
- ISBN-13 : 978-1447293866
- Dimensions : 18.7 x 3.6 x 24.3 cm
- Best Sellers Rank: 4,353 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)
- Customer Reviews:
From the Publisher
About the author
Mark Frost is an American novelist, screenwriter, director and film producer, best known as a writer for the television series Hill Street Blues and as the co-creator of the television series Twin Peaks.
The Secret History of Twin Peaks
The Secret History of Twin Peaks enlarges the world of the original series, placing the unexplained phenomena that unfolded there into a vastly layered, wide-ranging history, beginning with the journals of Lewis and Clark and ending with the shocking events that closed the finale. The perfect way to get in the mood for the upcoming Show-time series.
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Top reviews from Australia
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In this book, you as the reader, get to follow the investigation of FBI Agent TP (probably deliberate initials there) as she works her way through a discovered dossier of primary documents, annotated by a mysterious Archivist. Her mandate is to discover the identity of the Archivist and to determine why the dossier was compiled.
The documents range through Washington’s history from diary excerpts from Lewis and Clark, through to FBI classified documents relating to Roswell, UFOs and so on until the time the television series took place. I can’t say I know a lot about some of the real-life events discussed in the earlier parts of the book, but from the little I do know, an incredible amount of research has gone into integrating these real-life mysteries and conspiracies with the history of Twin Peaks. L. Ron Hubbard, Alistair Crowley, Richard Nixon and numerous other shady and renowned characters make an appearance. And the manner of doing this through the ploy of uncovered top-secret documents gives the whole thing a realistic, edge-of-your-seat and ominous undercurrent, just like the TV series. You’re not just reading a narrative, you’re alert and scanning for clues along with the agent. If you want any conclusions, you have to make them yourself!
You’ll figure out the identity of the mysterious Archivist quickly enough, but that doesn’t detract from enjoyment of the book. There is still so much mystery to be enjoyed as you shadow TP’s investigation of the dossier that tries to explain the origin and nature of the supernatural, dark forces that pervaded Twin Peaks. I’ve only just finished reading it and my mind is still a bit boggling. It raises more questions than it answers (a lot of cheeky clues – red herrings maybe – thrown in) and assuredly sets the tone for what the new series of Twin Peaks will have to offer.
It doesn’t go much beyond the events of the last episode (leaving a big cliff-hanger about what happened to the Archivist the day after we were last in Twin Peaks) although we do find out what happened to some characters in the immediate aftermath. Someone, for instance, survived the bomb blast at the bank. We also are given hints that some things were not as they seemed, for instance, the death of the Mayor’s brother may have been deliberate. Characters that were minor and seemed a bit thrown-in to fill in time in the series, here become significant players with complex back-stories that places them at the centre of events. And while it does re-cap much of what happened in the series and film, there were some interesting omissions – some major characters not even mentioned, at least one main character’s death not mentioned. Whether these omissions are significant or not will remain to be seen. And of course, to leave us on tenterhooks, we are not told what has happened to Agent Cooper since a day after his visit to the Black Lodge.
I had three problems with this book which prevented me from giving it 5 stars. Firstly, as documents in the dossier are presented as images, they were unreadable on my Kindle. I had to switch to my i-Pad in order to read this book and then it was fine although I had to squint at some of the earlier hand-written, cursive documents. If you are considering this book, I would recommend getting a hard copy.
Secondly, there are some anomalies in the history of characters that don’t match up with the TV show – how Ed & Nadine, and Hank and Norma, ended up getting married for instance; and in this book Norma’s mother dies before the events of the TV series. The reason for Audrey’s civil disobedience in the last episode of the TV series is different. Here, Hank knew the Reneau brothers much earlier. Perhaps there is a reason for this. After all, we only know what we know because certain characters told us in the series, and there’s always the possibility of the “unreliable narrator”. But otherwise, it just seems a bit sloppy.
Thirdly, there were a few errors in my kindle version. Paragraphs repeating themselves. In one case a whole page was duplicated.
If not for these things, I would have given five stars. This is a great read if you are a Twin Peaks fan -- even though it does go into the history of UFO sightings at times in a way more reminiscent of X-Files -- and a great teaser to the upcoming new series. The ending to this book occurs just a day after the events of the last episode of the last season. And like the last words of that episode, the last words of this book will leave you stunned, and desperate to know what happens next. I only hope the upcoming TV series can live up to the expectation!
Top reviews from other countries
The book makes a strong connection between Twin Peaks and UFO conspiracy theories, which is touched in in the series (Briggs's disappearance and the strange brandings).
The book is presented as a dossier of factual documents, many of them military. This makes much of it very chronological, neutral and colourless - like spending a day reading conspiracy theories on Wikipedia. This is most true of the first third, which is a slog through 100 years of conspiracy lore, many of which I hadn't come across before. The next third gives some backstory on other characters, including Ed and Norma. The last third combines the Twin Peaks thread with the UFO stuff. I found the middle third hard to put down, the first third was hard to keep going.
There are few hints to the next series - the lumberjack by the lake? But I really hope it doesn't turn into the X-Files, with BOB and the other lodge residents as extra-terrestrials. I'm relying on a clue at the beginning, which says (from memory) that stories are things we tell to make sense of the inherent mystery of life. So hopefully the X-Files stuff is a rationalisation of a deeper mystery.
I read the book on Kindle. The dossier makes heavy use of footnotes, so it's unfortunate that this edition doesn't allow you to click on the number and call up the footnote in a separate box. I tried reading on the web reader and the footnotes were so small I couldn't read them. At least you can magnify the various documents in different sized text.
Twin Peaks fans will be grinning gleefully as they step through this (only slightly) alternative take on American history, eventually peppered with not only characters they know and love, but the ancestors of those characters!
Beginning with the fabled Lewis and Clark exploration and ending up with Laura Palmer, this impressively researched volume also takes in Jack Parsons, Project Bluebook and the Manhattan Project, as well as many other things I won’t mention due to spoiling the thrill of reading it yourself! It’s written as a collected FBI dossier, so there is a lot to enjoy ‘around’ the text, including ‘reprints’ from the Twin Peaks gazette and a whole lot more.
Frequently, I reached for my phone to google a name or event, only to find the info to be 100% true! The Twin Peaks pre-story is fed through these real events subtly and sympathetically, achieving a really spellbinding effect. It really accumulates!
I loved reading this book and it’s a beautiful thing to have on the shelf now that I’ve finished it. I wholeheartedly recommend this without hesitation.
Reviewed in the United Kingdom on 25 August 2017
As for the book itself I’m very happy. Looking like a great read
Please note that I initially bought the Kindle version and had to get a refund as it was completely unreadable as a large amount of the information is presented through newspaper clippings and handwritten letters etc which are not represented on the Kindle screen at all. The print version looks great and is clearly the intended medium