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Erika

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A ripping good yarn

Overall
4 out of 5 stars
Performance
4 out of 5 stars
Story
4 out of 5 stars

Reviewed: 29-05-20

Excellent narration by Jill Tanner who gives character to each voice, or should that be voice to each character. An enjoyable listen all round. I initially found some of the explicit parts troublesome to my delicate ear but as the book progressed I became hardened to language that a delicate lady is not accustomed to (ho ho). If you can tolerate some vulgarity the book is really most enjoyable and quite unusual. The author Michel Faber has a good range of vocabulary but won't tax you. I recommend this book, which is all the more digestible as an audiobook.

Best ever listen.

Overall
5 out of 5 stars
Performance
5 out of 5 stars
Story
5 out of 5 stars

Reviewed: 15-04-20

Fantastic writing skills. Great character depiction and really exciting story based very much on true history. Hilary Mantel has become one of my favourite authors and has never disappointed me. I have so much enjoyed all her books and Ben Miles narrates at a good pace and captures each character perfectly. I enjoyed this story tremendously and very much enjoyed Ben Miles style of narration. I recommend this audiobook.

1 person found this helpful

Melodic journey of discovery.

Overall
5 out of 5 stars
Performance
5 out of 5 stars
Story
5 out of 5 stars

Reviewed: 28-12-19

Really loved this audio book. I was a bit unsure at first and the slow monotone narration took some adjusting to. However, I’m so glad I persevered and the more I listened to this book I came to enjoy the relaxing melodic narration. The author has, in my opinion, penned an excellent literary work. The history is great and, in accordance with my knowledge of history, accurate in many details. The theme of Sir Francis Drake runs through the whole book, but Minkoff uses clever devices to draw the book through the Elizabethan era to beyond the reign of James VI of Scotland and I of England. The story is played out mainly at sea and in the very early American settlements. If you enjoy action and adventure, history and romance, and if you can tolerate some violence blood and cruelty then you may love this book as much as I did. If you subscribe to audible I really recommend this book. Although it is long, for me that was part of the appeal. I found this book really easy and enjoyable to listen to. Audible has such a great deal for subscribers so if you don’t like the book you can change it. I really really loved this book and will hunt down more of Minkoff’s work. I hope he’s written more.

Fantastic read of the world in turmoil.

Overall
5 out of 5 stars
Performance
4 out of 5 stars
Story
5 out of 5 stars

Reviewed: 21-09-19

I can’t put into words how great this audio book is. The first book , The Fall of Giants, is equally good and whilst it took me a short while to get into that first book, once I did I couldn’t stop listening and had to have this follow on book. This was not a mistake and I highly recommend. Ken Follett captures the feeling of the times so well and has clearly researched. I particularly enjoyed this book as a connection with my cultural heritage. The author masterfully presents some very difficult events in a very realistic and balanced way, without losing any sense of the suffering and tragedy, but still developing and delivering a most enjoyable read. If you enjoy this book I also Recommend “Winter: A Berlin Family” by Len Deighton.

Dickens brought to life

Overall
5 out of 5 stars
Performance
5 out of 5 stars
Story
5 out of 5 stars

Reviewed: 22-12-18

Dickens needs no introduction and Kobna Holbrook-Smith is a genius of characterisation. The narration is so perfectly and artistically performed as to make a most enjoyable and beautiful story even better than in printed form. Kobna Holbrook-Smith gives a unique and perfect voice to each character, he’s amazing; so brilliant as a voice actor (is that the right term?). I will look for more audio books narrated by him and highly recommend this book and this narrator.

A compulsive listen

Overall
5 out of 5 stars
Performance
5 out of 5 stars
Story
5 out of 5 stars

Reviewed: 09-11-18

What a great find, one of the most enjoyable audio books I have listened to.

Edward Rutherfurd takes us on a journey through time, from before the Roman conquest of Britain up to the modern day. This is not a history book (text book), although many interesting snippets of history find their way into the stories. We meet many interesting families and characters on the journey through time and the listener is often left wishing to know more, but time must move forward and each family and character must make place for the next generation, who is equally engaging and worthy of interest. The stories are skilfully written with characters each worthy of a fuller story in their own right.

Andrew Wincott narrates perfectly. His pleasant English accent works well with this biography of London and he succeeds in giving voice to each character which makes the individual seem to come alive. Each story leads gently into the next as time rolls along and in spite of the length of the book I never found it tedious for a single moment. All my regular duties were neglected as I melted into this most enjoyable read. I will certainly look for more books by the author Edward Rutherfurd and by the narrator Andrew Wincott. Thank you to both for giving me many hours of pleasure.

A compulsive read

Overall
5 out of 5 stars
Performance
5 out of 5 stars
Story
5 out of 5 stars

Reviewed: 16-08-18

David Churchill recreates history (no doubt mixed with fiction) skilfully so that the reader feels drawn into the story and lives the experience of the time. This wonderful historical novel sets the background to a William the B*** (or conqueror) in a way that many readers might be unaware of. Not being a historian I can’t say how accurate the story is, but there are many aspects which I do believe to be historically accurate, including Williams parentage and in general terms the struggles of the various protagonists for power both in England, and Normandy. This is a ripping good yarn, buy it now!

Russell Bentley narrates at a good pace, not slow and not fast. I found his voice pleasant and easy to listen to and liked the voice he gave to each character.

I’m downloading David Churchill’s next book “Duke” right away.

A journey back to the times of the crusades.

Overall
5 out of 5 stars
Performance
5 out of 5 stars
Story
5 out of 5 stars

Reviewed: 04-08-18

This book takes the reader/listener on a wonderful engaging journey to the time of the crusades. You feel you are living the experience with the richness of description and realistic dialogue. William Marshal on his deathbed is remembering events and so the story occasionally returns to William's present time and his deathbed, then moving back again to the events he is remembering. This is all done with great skill and expertise and I found it to work well.

I have listened to the Elizabeth Chadwick’s other books and particularly enjoyed the William Marshal themes, which are all extremely well written with good use of vocabulary and description. Elizabeth Chadwick deals with different aspects of life as only a brilliant writer can. Her romantic and sex scenes are not over embellished but give enough detail to communicate to the reader the feel of the moment, as relevant to understand the story and the characters. Fighting scenes give sufficient detail to be exciting but without allowing the reader to lose interest. Elizabeth Chadwick deals particularly well with William Marshal’s passing and how he makes his end. The writer is very skilled and her ability to communicate final events of this kind is seen in her other books, for example in “The Winter Mantle” and her depiction of Waltheof of Huntingdon, I won’t say more but recommend that book/audio book as indeed I reccomend all her books.

The book is more than just fiction, although technically it is fiction. The main events in the book are all historically recorded and the book is therefore not complete invention. The characters are very real and the narrator, Jonathan Keeble, brings them to life masterfully giving personality to each in the way that only a truly brilliant voice actor can. I would recommend this audio book especially to those who have already listened to Elizabeth Chadwick’s book “The Greatest Knight”. If you haven’t listened to “The Greatest Knight” then my recommendation is to listen to that first, although perhaps “Templar Silks” can stand on its own, in my opinion it is best taken after “The Greatest Knight”. The Greatest Knight is in any event a truly great book and wonderful audio book so what’s not to like! Have them both, have them all, because all this author’s books are great reads and great listens.

I will be back for more and hope Elizabeth Chadwick keeps writing and writing, and that Jonathan Keeble will keep narrating. It’s great to find historical fiction which has a literary feel to it.

1 person found this helpful

Predictable and monotonous

Overall
1 out of 5 stars
Performance
1 out of 5 stars
Story
1 out of 5 stars

Reviewed: 03-01-18

The characters are not plausible. The narrator reminded me of watch with mother (for those of you old enough to remember the early 1970's small children's tv entertainment). I regret that her well bred, clipped English accent didn't work for me. The combination of narrator and the other character voice actors significantly detracted from any enjoyment I might have had from this audio book. I have listened to many audio books and love audible as such. I also enjoy traditional books, mainly now on my kindle, as this allows me to adjust text size to suit my eyes. This particular audio book was a disappointment, although I managed to persist to the bitter end of this vol 1. I will not be back for vol 2. Having said this, if you are an audible subscriber then by all means try it, perhaps it's just not my glass of tea. After all, if you don't like it you can return it and get your credit back.

Great post apocalyptic style survival story

Overall
5 out of 5 stars
Performance
5 out of 5 stars
Story
5 out of 5 stars

Reviewed: 23-10-17

The story is set in the USA, but nevertheless captures the interest and imagination of the UK or European reader. I love natural disaster and post apocalyptic style stories, but only if they are well written with good and varied vocabulary as well as plausible characters. The author hit the mark for me and managed to communicate a sense of American pride and confidence, without that off putting “ra, ra, ra” cheerleader style which some writers sadly slip into. The reader will find themselves drawn into an exciting and moving narrative. The characters became very real for me and it was easy to believe that the events portrayed could be true. The narrator masterfully portrays the voice of a child, of a teenage girl and boy, the voice of an older lady, of a thirty something woman, of an African American, of an old man, of a man in his prime. I normally find American accents to grate on my ear when listening to an audio book (sorry Americans, nothing personal). However, the combination of this narrators particular talent and the fact that this story is set in the USA meant that pretty soon I was not noticing the narrators accent, but was just engrossed in this very moving and strangely beautiful story. Beautiful because it jolts the reader into a realisation that for all the power and riches that could ever be, there is another power and another wealth which is beyond what is material. This story made me think of the original European settlers in America, as well as all those peoples around the world who suffer in similar ways to those in this story. This book is a story of suffering and loss and of survival for some, beyond what people would expect to survive. Although this story is set in the USA, I felt that for some it is here and now. I recommend this book as a great read and a page turner, particularly if you enjoy these disaster survival style books. If you’re at all soft hearted you will cry. Don’t worry it’s just a story. But for some it’s real and it’s now.