Looks like it’s the best of times for Dan Simmons: He just landed at No. 15 on the Publishers Weekly fiction best-seller list with Drood, his historical thriller about Charles Dickens. Simmons didn’t make a single press appearance, so how do you explain the success of a 784-page Dickens-inspired novel in a market where easy reading rules the charts? According to Reagan Arthur, Drood‘s editor at Little, Brown, the book’s sheer heft might have actually been an attraction. ”Something about the ?time of year is appealing to people’s need for a big, hearty, old-fashioned read in the sort of Dickensian model,” she says. And though you might not recognize Simmons’ name, ?plenty do. His cult fan-base has been building since his days as a sci-fi and horror writer and reached fever pitch in 2007 with The Terror. ”When we are publishing a book [of his], you can see the Internet start to stir months beforehand,” ?says Marlena Bittner, his publicist at Little, Brown. Count director Guillermo del Toro as one of those followers: ?He’s already bought the film rights to Drood.