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Child 44 Audiobook

Child 44

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Audible Editor Reviews

Child 44 is an enthralling historical crime thriller audiobook written by debut novelist Tom Rob Smith and narrated by British Actor Steven Pacey. Deep in communist Russia the hardships of its people are unfathomable, suffering terribly as a result of the harsh regime. Told through the eyes of naïvely loyal MGB Officer Leo. His obedience to his superiors is tested beyond measure as he sees atrocious crimes committed as a result of his allegiance. No one can be trusted, anyone could be a spy. Can Leo obey the most unimaginable of orders? Available now from Audible.

Publisher's Summary

Winner of the British Book Awards, New Writer of the Year, 2009.
Shortlisted for the British Book Awards, Crime Thriller of the Year, 2009.

MGB officer Leo is a man who never questions the Party Line. He arrests whomever he is told to arrest. He dismisses the horrific death of a young boy because he is told to, because he believes the Party stance that there can be no murder in Communist Russia.

Leo is the perfect soldier of the regime. But suddenly his confidence that everything he does serves a great good is shaken. He is forced to watch a man he knows to be innocent be brutally tortured. And then he is told to arrest his own wife.

Leo understands how the State works: Trust and check, but check particularly on those we trust. He faces a stark choice: his wife or his life. And still the killings of children continue.

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©2008 Tom Rob Smith; (P)2008 W F Howes Ltd

What Members Say

Average Customer Rating

4.5 (1038 )
5 star
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4.6 (757 )
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Performance
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  •  
    Brian Preston, United Kingdom 29/09/2010
    Brian Preston, United Kingdom 29/09/2010 Member Since 2016
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    "Mans Inhumanity to Man"

    The book is one of the best I have purchased from audible.It portrays the life in Russia under Stalin and the fear of reprisals.
    Leo's world is turned upside down from being an avid supporter of the state system he then experience's the Horrors of being an enemy of the state.
    Does one have sympathy for Leo's fate or do you try to think you are suffering the same fate of many other People he has sent of to the Gulags.
    The brutality and fear portrayed in the book are tools of the state to ensure obedience.
    20 million people entered the gulag system under Stalin.
    Man is wolf to man

    19 of 21 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Jon Lymp. 19/01/2016
    Jon Lymp. 19/01/2016 Member Since 2017

    Retired soak up books of all genres . Used to read . Audible is excellent for Me now has my eyes ache with to much Reading...

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    "Brilliant . I have always by Russian history after the ar"

    Along with the wonderful narration of Steven pacey I thought
    The author accomplished with great success the hard ship
    And terror of living in Stalins Russia . Living in a world
    When the state is everything And nobody can be trusted.
    A very unusual mystery come love story takes place. I listened
    To the book in 2 goes very unusual for me
    I would love to see more books like this from the author
    Human survival and love against all the odds...

    3 of 3 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Karl K Djinn LDN 02/12/2015
    Karl K Djinn LDN 02/12/2015 Member Since 2015
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    "Evocative if Slightly Preposterous"
    Would you consider the audio edition of Child 44 to be better than the print version?

    I haven't read the print version so its difficult to comment, what I would say is that I enjoyed it. In audio terms it was a page turner and in contrast to 'weightier' books I came away feeling as though I'd actually 'read' it, there was a keener sense of participation.


    What other book might you compare Child 44 to, and why?

    It was unique from my perspective anyway (I'm sure there are comparable stories) in it's combining of historical setting, which was evocative, and serial killer story line which was faintly cheesy and not up to Hannibal Lecter/Tom Ripley standards but then it was more traditional in its outlook.


    Which character – as performed by Steven Pacey – was your favourite?

    Leo was my favourite because he is the most present I suppose, all the action is channeled through him.


    Did you have an emotional reaction to this book? Did it make you laugh or cry?

    No but I did feel slightly chilly some mornings when I was listening to it while trudging to work.


    Any additional comments?

    It was pretty good. The idea for the setting was strong but the story line itself was maybe a bit silly, I wasn't that scared of bumping into the killer. The character forming stuff was a bit a bit clunky; character A is like this because of *insert traumatic childhood event. Also I'm not sure about the need for the reader to put on the Russian accent when the characters are speaking, its vaguely meerket-esque but that in itself is a really difficult decision for the director who wants the listener to identify the characters as Russian which they are, but they're clearly not speaking Russian, they're speaking English because the book is written in English.

    3 of 3 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Andy 01/05/2015
    Andy 01/05/2015 Member Since 2014

    Submarine commander, astronaut and surgeon.....on a weekend. In the week I take it easy, when my regular job, kids and dogs allow :)

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    "Dark crimes in darkest Stalinist Russia. Absorbing"
    Where does Child 44 rank among all the audiobooks you’ve listened to so far?

    Right near the top. Dark times in Orwellian Russia that delivered desperate situations by the bucket load that tested your nerves as the characters used every conceivable act to survive. Fabulous


    What other book might you compare Child 44 to, and why?

    1984


    Which scene did you most enjoy?

    The scene on the prisoner train and the conclusion....


    Was this a book you wanted to listen to all in one sitting?

    No. I never do. A break in proceedings adds to the tension and enjoyment.


    Any additional comments?

    If the film is half as good as the audio book, you won't be disappointed. Also, the Narrator was superb. His vocalisation of the Russian accent brought the characters - of all ages and gender - even more to life.

    3 of 3 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Andy LOUGHBOROUGH, United Kingdom 07/04/2013
    Andy LOUGHBOROUGH, United Kingdom 07/04/2013 Member Since 2015

    I like a wide range of books especially when I discover something new and great. I like to mix some classics in with the crime and sci fi .

    HELPFUL VOTES
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    "Bleak but gripping"

    The opening scene is a shocker that brings home some of the hardest times endured by human kind. Don't worry we move on to more tolerable times though it never gets as far as an easy life for our hero.

    Strong plot and great sense of place and time very satisfyingly all brought together.

    it is essentially a defective story set in the soviet era I think I will need to read something a bit lighter to follow but I am very glad I read it.

    3 of 3 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Laura M NewbridgeIreland 13/02/2011
    Laura M NewbridgeIreland 13/02/2011
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    "Superb"

    I found this book tough at the start to get into. Some of the content is not easy to listen to - pretty brutal conditions in Stalinist Russia. However, it became absorbing after the first hour and ultimately unputdownable. An excellent story.

    13 of 16 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Gavin Dunbar, United Kingdom 31/01/2014
    Gavin Dunbar, United Kingdom 31/01/2014 Member Since 2016
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    "One of those books that is close to perfect"

    One of the best books I have come across in a while. A brilliant mix of history and fiction. It start with a bleak and disturbing view of Stalin’s Russia and some of the vile means they controlled the people. Then as the book moves on you find yourself drawn in to a very powerful crime drama with huge characters and brilliant plot. Without wanting to reveal anything about the story the way the narrative keeps reverting back to previous sections is totally enthralling.
    As other people have mentioned some of the story line is hard to hear and it made me angry that people can be so cruel and callous to others but it is presented in a historic rather than sensational way.
    If I had a criticism it would be that the end fails to live up to the rest of the book but in fairness this is partly because I did not want there to be an end and I wanted to stay in the narrative.
    Excellent book wonderfully read. Thank you.

    15 of 19 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Gregory 13/11/2016
    Gregory 13/11/2016 Member Since 2016
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    "1st audio book"

    I thought it was very good all round.
    the narrator is excellent,
    the story is original and engaging.
    I recommend it.

    2 of 2 people found this review helpful
  •  
    danielle_eades 07/11/2016
    danielle_eades 07/11/2016 Member Since 2016
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    "what a great book"
    Any additional comments?

    This is a refreshing change from the masses of awfully written boring thrillers available these days. Really interesting, well-thought out dimensional characters and a gripping storyline. I had to stop myself from reading it all in a few days.

    2 of 2 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Andrew 22/10/2016
    Andrew 22/10/2016
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    "Utterly Enthralling."

    Brilliant... Can't recommend it highly enough.
    Great story in an unbeatable setting fantastically drawn characters, action scenes that'll have you on the edge of your seat and mystery that'll keep you hooked.

    2 of 2 people found this review helpful
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  • BSquaredInOz
    Adelaide, Australia
    13/05/09
    Overall
    "Excellent, evocative book"

    In his debut novel Smith has painted a bleak picture of Stalin's Russia where blind faith in the State, or pretence of it, is the norm. Across the disparate parts of this story people's actions and decisions are fuelled by paranoia, desperation and vengeance. Many people abuse whatever power they have and many others live in constant fear of that abuse. The few acts motivated by love, friendship or hope are memorable for their rarity. In some ways this is a familiar picture of Russia during this era but I thought Smith did a better job than many writers in demonstrating the subtle differences in people's behaviour and exploring the reasons behind that behaviour rather than portraying everyone in as stereotypical good and evil as is often the case.

    Few of the characters are likable however understandable their actions may be. But they're very credible in the context of the world Smith has depicted. The writing is breathtaking in the way it depicts scenes so vividly that you're transported to the places where action takes place and can feel the emotions of those involved. My main criticism of an otherwise terrific book is that in the last third the plot moved from credible to 'Hollywood' with the number of in-the-nick-of-time escapes and coincidences used to get to the ending.

    It's an evocative portrayal of a time and place that's been demonised many times in literature and movies but rarely explored in such a thoughtful and thought-provoking way.

    3 of 3 people found this review helpful
  • Don
    Curtin, Australia
    28/03/14
    Overall
    Performance
    Story
    "It just didn't engage me"
    What could have made this a 4 or 5-star listening experience for you?

    The story felt like it relied on a lot of old soviet cliches, the crime story took 7 hours to get going and was a bit fanciful.


    Would you ever listen to anything by Tom Rob Smith again?

    I doubt it.


    Would you listen to another book narrated by Steven Pacey?

    He didn't add or subtract from the story.


    If you could play editor, what scene or scenes would you have cut from Child 44?

    it was very long for a thin story line. A few decent twists but nothing particularly interesting or not telegraphed.


    Any additional comments?

    I finished the book but only pushed on to finish it so I could get back to the Harry Bosch series

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful

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