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Michael

Hook, United Kingdom
  • 4
  • reviews
  • 48
  • helpful votes
  • 11
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  • The Man Who Was Thursday

  • By: G. K. Chesterton
  • Narrated by: Toby Longworth
  • Length: 5 hrs and 56 mins
  • Unabridged
  • Overall
    4 out of 5 stars 73
  • Performance
    4.5 out of 5 stars 56
  • Story
    4 out of 5 stars 56

Chesterton's allegorical masterpiece is a surreal, psychologically thrilling novel that centres on seven anarchists in turn of the century London who call themselves by the names of days of the week. The story begins when poet Gabriel Syme is recruited as a detective to a secret anarchist division of Scotland Yard by a shrouded, nameless person. Syme infiltrates a secret meeting of anarchists who are intent on destroying the world and becomes known as 'Thursday', one of the seven members of the Central Anarchist Council.

  • 5 out of 5 stars
  • The Man Who Was Thursday

  • By Amazon Customer on 10-01-08

I need hardly say there was a collision.

Overall
5 out of 5 stars

Reviewed: 26-06-11

This is excellent and one of my favourite books. Subtitled A Nightmare, it follows that dream logic in which the rational world is twisted kink by kink until you are running for your life. Surely too some seeds of The Goon Show and Monty Python spring from here. Toby Longworth's reading is a joy, clearly revelling in the comic absurdity, witty lines, and giving terrifying voice to the Man who is Sunday.

3 of 3 people found this review helpful

  • Smiley's People

  • The Karla Trilogy, Book 3
  • By: John le Carré
  • Narrated by: Michael Jayston
  • Length: 14 hrs and 23 mins
  • Unabridged
  • Overall
    4.5 out of 5 stars 982
  • Performance
    5 out of 5 stars 731
  • Story
    4.5 out of 5 stars 728

George Smiley was summoned from his dubious retirement by two seemingly unconnected events - an old woman in Paris is promised the return of a daughter she will never see, and a handover is to take place on a steamer in Hamburg.

  • 5 out of 5 stars
  • An underrated writer

  • By Claudia on 24-09-12

Observe Moscow Rules

Overall
5 out of 5 stars

Reviewed: 16-04-11

The brutal actions of Karla, his absolutism, provoke Smiley to investigate, frustrate and hunt his opponent. Karla's violence is countered by Smiley's intellect. The trilogy concludes with an elegiac and satisfying pay-off.

This is compelling. Michael Jayston's narration is superb, again; he imbues Smiley's voice with quiet echoes of Sir Alec Guinness's tones. Needless to say, his Peter Guillam is flawless.

I loved it!

  • The Blade Itself

  • The First Law: Book One
  • By: Joe Abercrombie
  • Narrated by: Steven Pacey
  • Length: 22 hrs and 15 mins
  • Unabridged
  • Overall
    4.5 out of 5 stars 3,756
  • Performance
    5 out of 5 stars 3,264
  • Story
    4.5 out of 5 stars 3,262

Inquisitor Glokta, a crippled and bitter relic of the last war, former fencing champion turned torturer, is trapped in a twisted and broken body - not that he allows it to distract him from his daily routine of torturing smugglers.Nobleman, dashing officer and would-be fencing champion Captain Jezal dan Luthar is living a life of ease by cheating his friends at cards. Vain and shallow, the biggest blot on his horizon is having to get out of bed in the morning to train with obsessive and boring old men.

  • 5 out of 5 stars
  • Possibly My Favourite Listen So Far...

  • By Andrew on 18-10-13

I am still alive!

Overall
5 out of 5 stars

Reviewed: 21-08-10

Imagine Dumas and Stendhal were thrown into a dungeon and told to knock out something post-Tolkien with beefed-up sordid realism and judicious dashes of cheek and swearing. Their jailers, Robert E Howard and Raymond Chandler, may add a few bon mots should they feel inclined; and, while they're at it, they should also reanimate Arthur C Clarke for a wonderfully strange segment in the middle. Fortunately we have Joe Abercrombie, so you don't have to.

To describe the plot may make it seem like many other fantasy fictions out there, but it isn't. It's not the stuff of doom and gloom either. Bayaz the affable wide boy magus, but woe betide you if you disrupt his bath time, has a cunning plan, the ramifications of which presumably play out over the trilogy. To this end he draws in diverse characters to the capital city of the Union (itself about to enter a war on two fronts). Our adventurers are already on the hop before they are drawn in, and, in some cases, beset by hazards both human and somewhat beyond. And it's the somewhat beyond that interests Bayaz. There are numerous intertwining threads beyond this though that reach out across Abercrombie's world. The characters are skillfully drawn---so much so, that the novel could be regarded as fantasy's The Wire.

Mr Abercrombie, perhaps tapping into his skills as a film editor, brings a seemingly effortless pace to proceedings. There is a sense of reality too: the protagonists seldom leave confrontations unscathed, and even use of magic has a price.

Which brings us to Steven Pacey. His narration is extraordinarily good. The book has a huge cast, and Mr Pacey imbues each and every one of it, including female characters, with a recognisable and believable voice (so much so, I began to wonder if he had smuggled Sean Locke and Pete Postlethwaite, and many more, into the recording sessions). Yes, Mr Pacey deserves an audio-Oscar (and a proper one too).

25 of 27 people found this review helpful

  • The Honourable Schoolboy

  • The Karla Trilogy, Book 2
  • By: John le Carré
  • Narrated by: Michael Jayston
  • Length: 20 hrs and 28 mins
  • Unabridged
  • Overall
    4.5 out of 5 stars 895
  • Performance
    4.5 out of 5 stars 612
  • Story
    4.5 out of 5 stars 608

George Smiley has become chief of the battered British Secret Service. The betrayals of a Soviet double agent have riddled the spy network, and Smiley wants revenge. He chooses his weapon: Jerry Westerby, "The Honourable Schoolboy", a passionate lover, and a seasoned, reckless secret agent. Westerby is pointed east, to Hong Kong. So begins the terrifying game.

  • 5 out of 5 stars
  • The Honourable Shoolboy

  • By Bruce on 13-02-11

After Gerald the Mole

Overall
5 out of 5 stars

Reviewed: 05-04-10

This book falls between Tinker Tailor and Smiley's People. Smiley reasons that actions taken by Gerald the mole at Karla's behest may reveal some insight into Moscow Centre's machinations, and perhaps a weakness. Having exposed the mole, Smiley is faced with the task of restoring the Circus's tattered reputation, and to do that he must go on the offensive. A golden thread is revealed in the Far East, and Gerry Westerby, the Honourable Schoolboy, is despatched to tease it out.

This is a wonderful trilogy, and hopefully Audible will make unabridged readings of the other books available too (though the recent BBC radio adaptations are becoming available---it would also be good to see the older BBC Bernard Hepton adaptations as well). Le Carre is an exceptional author, and his unabridged works are magical, even Dickensian.

Michael Jayston, who featured in the BBC television adaptation of Tinker Tailor Soldier Spy, is delightful as the narrator, and even brings something of Alec Guinness' thoughtful intonation to his reading of Smiley.

This rich and complex middle novel was not adapted for television, so the audio book sits nicely as a bridge between the two faithful adaptations.

20 of 21 people found this review helpful