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  • 18
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  • 162
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  • War at the Edge of the World

  • By: Ian Ross
  • Narrated by: Jonathan Keeble
  • Length: 12 hrs and 36 mins
  • Unabridged
  • Overall
    4.5 out of 5 stars 105
  • Performance
    5 out of 5 stars 101
  • Story
    4.5 out of 5 stars 101

Once a soldier in an elite legion from the Danube, Aurelius Castus believes his glory days are over, stuck in Britain's provincial backwater. But history is about to take a hand and when the king of the Picts, the savage people beyond Hadrian's Wall, dies in mysterious circumstances, Castus is selected to command the bodyguard of a Roman envoy sent to negotiate with the barbarians. But the diplomatic mission ends in bloody tragedy…

  • 5 out of 5 stars
  • solid story, good action

  • By john cb on 24-09-15

Great book, brilliantly read by Jonathan Keeble

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

Reviewed: 20-02-16

What made the experience of listening to War at the Edge of the World the most enjoyable?

Jonathan Keeble is a brilliant narrator, making each character distinctive and making you see these characters as real people.

What was one of the most memorable moments of War at the Edge of the World?

The whole episode when the soldiers go beyond the Antonine wall and meet the Picts for the first time - the feeling of unease, feeling out of their comfort zone, the alien nature of the Picts themselves and not understanding their language, and feeling so cut-off from the rest of the Roman army. This whole section of the book is utterly gripping.

What does Jonathan Keeble bring to the story that you wouldn’t experience if you had only read the book?

I know this from having read the read the book first as an ebook, which I enjoyed, and then listening to Jonathan Keeble bring this story to life. The different voices, the accents - it all makes the story and the different characters seem much more real. I felt much more engaged in the story during Jonathan Keeble's narration.

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

The book made me laugh in places, but I was mostly caught up by the intense emotions that Castus and his fellow-solders went through.

Any additional comments?

The book also gives a fascinating insight into Roman warfare and life, as well as covering some historical background information that is necessary to understand the underlying intrigue that is going on around Castus and his soldiers.

1 of 1 people found this review helpful

  • Tower Lord

  • Raven's Shadow, Book 2
  • By: Anthony Ryan
  • Narrated by: Steven Brand
  • Length: 24 hrs and 39 mins
  • Unabridged
  • Overall
    4.5 out of 5 stars 1,086
  • Performance
    4.5 out of 5 stars 1,014
  • Story
    4.5 out of 5 stars 1,017

The realm burns. Vaelin Al Sorna is tired of war. He's fought countless battles in service to the Realm and Faith. His reward was the loss of his love, the death of his friends and a betrayal by his king. After five years in an Alpiran dungeon, he just wants to go home. Reva intends to welcome Vaelin back with a knife between the ribs. He destroyed her family and ruined her life.

  • 4 out of 5 stars
  • Better than book 1!

  • By Janine on 08-07-14

Whata sequel - utterly brilliant!

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

Reviewed: 07-09-14

Would you recommend this audiobook to a friend? If so, why?

I would definitely recommend this book and Blood Song, as they are such fantastic listens. These books have great plots, a vast cast of fabulous characters, and enough twists and turns to keep you on the edge of your seat. This book (Tower Lord) is quite different from Blood Song in that the plot is not linear, but told by multiple characters. Initially, all the jumping around was a little confusing, but now that I have finished it, I realise that this is the only way this book could work. And the plot is as fast-paced and action-packed, if not more so, than the first book.

What was one of the most memorable moments of Tower Lord?

I don't want to give away the plot, but the moment when Frentis meets Malcius again was the most memorable for me.

What does Steven Brand bring to the story that you wouldn’t experience if you had only read the book?

Steven Brand's reading isn't perfect as it is often difficult to work out exactly who is speaking, but overall his reading is very good.

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

I didn't want the book to end, but at the same time I wanted to know what was happening.

Any additional comments?

I can't wait for book 3!

1 of 2 people found this review helpful

  • Blood Song

  • Book 1 of Raven's Shadow
  • By: Anthony Ryan
  • Narrated by: Steven Brand
  • Length: 23 hrs and 5 mins
  • Unabridged
  • Overall
    4.5 out of 5 stars 1,556
  • Performance
    4.5 out of 5 stars 1,459
  • Story
    4.5 out of 5 stars 1,455

We have fought battles that left more than a hundred corpses on the ground and not a word of it has ever been set down. The Order fights, but often it fights in shadow, without glory or reward. We have no banners. Vaelin Al Sorna is the Sixth Order's newest recruit. Under their brutal training regime, he learns how to forge a blade, survive the wilds and kill a man quickly and quietly - all in the name of protecting the Realm and the Faith. Now his skills will be put to the test.

  • 3 out of 5 stars
  • Superb debut novel

  • By Karen on 16-07-14

Fantastic read, couldn't put it down

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

Reviewed: 07-09-14

Would you listen to Blood Song again? Why?

I would definitely listen to it again. What initially seems to be a straightforward story about one character - Vaelin - quickly turns into a complex plot involving a large number of intriguing characters and events. I suspect re-reading this book will highlight parts that I missed during my first reading.

What other book might you compare Blood Song to, and why?

I haven't read anything like this before, though the detail of the world the characters live in reminds me a little of Tolkien and Patrick Rothfuss. You become totally immersed in their world, with their religions and beliefs, their histories, wars, and different races.

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

Vaelin is my absolute favourite, though I like others too such as Frentis and Nortah. Steven Brand didn't always make it clear which of the characters was speaking, but I really liked his overall narration.

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

If it has been a lot shorter, I would have listened to it in a single sitting, as it was hard to put it down. But the book was too long. And I also didn't want it to stop. I just wanted to continue reading about these interesting characters, their lives, and the twists and turns in the plot.

Any additional comments?

The lack of maps is a bit of a problem, but the author has put them on his website.

  • The Bruce Trilogy 1

  • The Steps to the Empty Throne
  • By: Nigel Tranter
  • Narrated by: Michael Elder
  • Length: 2 hrs and 47 mins
  • Abridged
  • Overall
    4 out of 5 stars 20
  • Performance
    4.5 out of 5 stars 11
  • Story
    5 out of 5 stars 11

The compelling story of Scotland's hero-king who, tutored and encouraged by the great William Wallace, united his despairing people in a deadly fight for the throne and national survival. In the first of this best selling trilogy, Nigel Tranter charts these turbulent years, revealing the flowering of Bruce's character, sustained by a passionate love, not only of his land and people, but....

  • 4 out of 5 stars
  • The Bruce Trilogy 1: The Steps to the Empty Throne

  • By Lavina on 18-10-10

Fantastic trilogy!

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

Reviewed: 29-10-13

Would you recommend this audiobook to a friend? If so, why?

Definitely - this is an excellent account of the life of Robert the Bruce. While it is classed as fiction, it is a very accurate account of what happened during the Scottish Wars of Independence. This version is abridged, but is still contains all the key elements from the written books, and it is excellently read by Michael Elder.

Who was your favorite character and why?

My two favourite character is Robert the Bruce, who led the most amazing life. He had everything but the crown of Scotland, which he took by murdering his rival because he feared for his life. He then lost everything - most of his brothers were executed, his wife, child and sisters were imprisoned. He went on the run, hunted and in desperate need of help, while he developed a system of guerilla warfare that eventually led to him winning back his kingdom. There is no more inspiring story than that of Robert the Bruce, of a man who went from being hunted through the Scottish hills to being the king who led his people to victory at the battle of Bannockburn. This is a fantastic story.

And the book is full of other inspirational characters such as the Black Douglas, William Wallace, Robert the Bruce's grandfather (Robert the Noble).

Which character – as performed by Michael Elder – was your favourite?

Robert the Bruce was definitely my favourite character as read by Michael Elder. In history books, Robert can seem a little one-dimensional, but Nigel Tranter wrote his books to show Robert as a man, as a noble warrior and as a king. The combination of Nigel Tranter's descriptions of Robert and Michael Elder's reading of the book really bring Robert the Bruce and a host of other characters to life. This is not history from a history book, but a rousing tale of wars, battles, legends, and heroic men and women.

Any additional comments?

Robert the Bruce had a most amazing life, and these books are a very accessible way of reading about that life.

The Testament of Mary cover art
  • The Testament of Mary

  • By: Colm Toibin
  • Narrated by: Meryl Streep
  • Length: 3 hrs and 6 mins
  • Unabridged
  • Overall
    4 out of 5 stars 76
  • Performance
    4.5 out of 5 stars 69
  • Story
    4 out of 5 stars 70

The incomparable, multi-award-winning Meryl Streep reads this spellbinding novel from acclaimed author Cólm Toibín. 'I remember everything. Memory fills my body. As much as blood and bones.' This is Mary. A mother whose son was taken from her and lost to the world. A woman who lives now in exile, watched by those who seek to preserve the sanctity of her son's memory. But Mary's recollections of his difficult life and tragic death are a truth that few who knew her son now recognize.

  • 5 out of 5 stars
  • Wonderful re-telling of an old story

  • By Caroline on 19-10-13

Disappointing

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

Reviewed: 29-10-13

What did you like best about The Testament of Mary? What did you like least?

I never felt this book delivered what I expected. It was moving if taken as a story of a mother whose son has been executed. But I felt the book was too short, the dialogue as spoken by Mary seemed too modern and out-of--place, and most of the characters were never fully developed, so it was difficult to really care about them or their fate.

How would you have changed the story to make it more enjoyable?

I would have made the book longer and developed the characters so that they became more than just shadowy figures. That way, people would have been able to empathise with the characters and get more involved in the story.

Which character – as performed by Meryl Streep – was your favourite?

The only character with anything to say was Mary, who naturally was very bitter and angry, but I struggled with her dialogue as, for me, it felt out of place and too modern for the time in which the story is set. Would Mary, a woman from that time, really have thought this way? Why did she complain about her painful feet when her son was being crucified? Why did she run away rather than stay to the end? I found Mary a rather cold character, someone difficult to get close to.
Meryl Streep did a wonderful job of reading the story. I suspect that if I had read the book rather than listened to it, I would have given up before the end.

If this book were a film would you go see it?

No

Any additional comments?

I have recently read a few short books / novellas, and while I enjoyed a few of these stories, I generally disliked this format for the reasons mentioned above. I love long books where I can immerse myself in the story and characters, where I can submerge myself in another world, and I suspect this has coloured my view of The Testament of Mary.

2 of 3 people found this review helpful

  • Girl with a Pearl Earring

  • By: Tracy Chevalier
  • Narrated by: Hattie Morahan
  • Length: 7 hrs and 23 mins
  • Unabridged
  • Overall
    4.5 out of 5 stars 120
  • Performance
    4.5 out of 5 stars 106
  • Story
    4.5 out of 5 stars 106

An international bestseller with over two million copies sold, this is a story of an artist's desire for beauty and the ultimate corruption of innocence. 17th Century Holland. When Griet becomes a maid in the household of Johannes Vermeer in the town of Delft, she thinks she knows her role: housework, laundry and the care of his six children.

  • 5 out of 5 stars
  • love love love

  • By Andy on 01-12-13

Beautiful story, beautifully read

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

Reviewed: 15-10-13

What made the experience of listening to Girl with a Pearl Earring the most enjoyable?

I particularly loved the slow-paced plot full of wonderful descriptions of Delft, of Vermeer's home and family, and of his paintings. There is also a gradual sexual tension between Griet and Vermeer which adds an interesting dimension to the story.

Who was your favorite character and why?

I was fascinated by Maria Thins, who was Vermeer's mother-in-law. She seemed to know everything that went on in the house, and worked with Griet to help Vermeer complete his paintings.

Which character – as performed by Hattie Morahan – was your favourite?

Griet was my favourite character. She was beautifully portrayed by Hattie Morahan. Serious, quiet, yet passionate and bright, she is the most fully-developed character in the book.

Any additional comments?

This is a book I would read again - it is full of details of life in Delft at the time of Vermeer, and you almost feel as though you are in one of his paintings.

2 of 2 people found this review helpful

  • Snow Flower and the Secret Fan

  • By: Lisa See
  • Narrated by: Janet Song
  • Length: 11 hrs and 7 mins
  • Unabridged
  • Overall
    4.5 out of 5 stars 130
  • Performance
    4.5 out of 5 stars 114
  • Story
    4.5 out of 5 stars 113

In 19th-century China, when wives and daughters were foot-bound and lived in almost total seclusion, the women in one remote Hunan county developed their own secret code for communication: nu shu (“women’s writing”). With the arrival of a silk fan on which Snow Flower has composed for Lily a poem of introduction in nu shu, their friendship is sealed. As the years pass, through famine and rebellion, they reflect upon their arranged marriages, loneliness, and the joys and tragedies of motherhood.

  • 4 out of 5 stars
  • A book all women should read

  • By acasia on 13-03-15

Incedibly moving story

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

Reviewed: 15-09-13

Would you listen to Snow Flower and the Secret Fan again? Why?

This book is beautifully written and read. It very moving story about a friendship between two girls - Snow Flower and Lily - in early to mid 19th century China. But it is more than that - it immerses you in their world so that you see how little love these "worthless" women were given by their own families, by their husbands and mothers-in-law, you see how hard their lives were and how friendships between women could make their lives more bearable. You care about the characters and their lives, you become emotionally attached to these women, their children and their families. I suspect that each time you read this book, you will pick up on details you missed the previous time.I have added this book to my list of books to re-read, as it moved me very much and made me cry.

Who was your favorite character and why?

It's difficult to pick out a favourite character as I am still pondering over the book, the storyline, the characters and events. I loved Lily, Snow Flower and Madam Wang, but was also fascinated by other characters such as The Butcher.

Which character – as performed by Janet Song – was your favourite?

I really liked Janet Song's performance when she was reading the dialogue of Madam Wang - she really brought this character to life. Initially, I found Janet Song's reading style a little strange, but soon settled into the rhythms of her speech and by the end of the story I really enjoyed the way she read this story.

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

No, I wanted to savour the slow-pace of the story and the details of the characters' lives. But I also found the book hard to put down.

Any additional comments?

I have to confess that I cried at the end of this book. I cried for both Snow Flower and Lily, for the things they left unsaid and for their enduring love for each other. This is a beautiful book, and one that I will read again and again.

1 of 1 people found this review helpful

  • Shadow of the Moon

  • By: M. M. Kaye
  • Narrated by: Tara Ochs
  • Length: 34 hrs and 16 mins
  • Unabridged
  • Overall
    4.5 out of 5 stars 67
  • Performance
    3.5 out of 5 stars 63
  • Story
    4.5 out of 5 stars 64

The author of The Far Pavilions returns us once again to the vast, intoxicating romance of India under the British Raj. Shadow of the Moon is the story of Winter de Ballesteros, a beautiful English heiress come home to her beloved India. It is also the tale of Captain Alex Randall, her protector, who aches to possess her. Forged in the fires of a war that threatens to topple an empire, their tale is the saga of a desperate and unforgettable love that consumes all in its thrall.

  • 4 out of 5 stars
  • This is my favourite book....but oh dear!!!!

  • By Dog Lover on 18-08-13

Fantastic book, beautifully read by Tara Ochs

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

Reviewed: 24-08-13

Would you listen to Shadow of the Moon again? Why?

This was the second time I had read this book, and I would definitely read it again. I love the slow build-up, the huge cast of characters, some of whom you love, and some you hate, the historical facts that helps you understand the bigger picture, and the amazing descriptions of India itself. The book is beautifully written and read.

What was one of the most memorable moments of Shadow of the Moon?

Almost every scene with Winter and Alex is memorable because of the tension and chemistry between them.

Which character – as performed by Tara Ochs – was your favourite?

When I first read the book as an impressionable teenager, I was irritated by Winter, but I grew to like and understand her more during this reading of the book. But my favourite character was Alex Randall - principled, decisive, handsome and capable. What more could a woman want?

Any additional comments?

This book is well-plotted and it moves at a leisurely pace as it very gradually builds up the sense of unease and tension that explodes into the Indian mutiny. Definitely worth a read if you love well-written historical fiction.

3 of 4 people found this review helpful

  • Headhunters

  • By: Jo Nesbo
  • Narrated by: Sean Barrett
  • Length: 7 hrs and 50 mins
  • Unabridged
  • Overall
    4 out of 5 stars 456
  • Performance
    4.5 out of 5 stars 277
  • Story
    4.5 out of 5 stars 275

Roger Brown has it all. He's the country's most successful headhunter. He has a beautiful wife and a magnificent house. And to maintain this lifestyle, he's also a highly accomplished art thief. At a gallery opening, his wife introduces him to Clas Greve. Not only is Greve the perfect candidate for a position with one of Roger's high-profile clients, he is also in possession of 'The Calydonian Boar Hunt' by Rubens, one of the most sought-after paintings in the world.

  • 5 out of 5 stars
  • Best yet!

  • By Jill on 26-05-12

Terrific read

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

Reviewed: 12-07-13

What made the experience of listening to Headhunters the most enjoyable?

This is terrific read, with a fast-paced plot, lots of suspense, a dark sense of humour and interesting characters. But it is the dark humour that really makes this book really stand out for me.

Who was your favorite character and why?

Who can fail to love Roger Brown's plucky character? Though you can't help admiring the clever but sinister Clas Greve too. It is the tension between these two characters that keeps the reader on the edge of their seat throughout the book.

What does Sean Barrett bring to the story that you wouldn’t experience if you had only read the book?

A good narrator should do more than just read the book - they should bring the story and characters to life, help you empathise with those characters and make the listening experience a joy. Which is what Sean Barrett does so skilfully with this book.

The Suspicions of Mr Whicher cover art
  • The Suspicions of Mr Whicher

  • By: Kate Summerscale
  • Narrated by: Christian Rhodska
  • Length: 10 hrs and 32 mins
  • Unabridged
  • Overall
    3.5 out of 5 stars 187
  • Performance
    4 out of 5 stars 41
  • Story
    4 out of 5 stars 42

It is midnight on 30th June 1860 and all is quiet in the Kent family house in Road, Wiltshire. The next morning they wake to find that their youngest son has been the victim of an unimaginably gruesome murder. Even worse, the guilty party is surely one of their number - the house was bolted from the inside. As Jack Whicher, the most celebrated detective of his day, arrives to track down the killer, the murder provokes national hysteria. This true story is the original Victorian whodunit.

  • 5 out of 5 stars
  • Oustanding

  • By Noush on 10-06-10

Rivetting book

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

Reviewed: 08-07-13

Would you listen to The Suspicions of Mr Whicher again? Why?

This book is bursting with information about the crime, the suspects, Mr Whicher himself, the Victorians and their obsession with grisly crimes, and the history of detective work - all of which is completely fascinating but probably needs at least two reads for all the details and characters to sink in.

What was one of the most memorable moments of The Suspicions of Mr Whicher?

There are so many, it is difficult to pick out just one - all the fascinating little facts about detective work, how the language of detective work evolved (leads, clues, etc) and how the detectives developed their skills on the job.
It is fascinating that Charles Dickens commented on the case, and that various literary detectives were based on Jack Whicher.

What does Christian Rhodska bring to the story that you wouldn’t experience if you had only read the book?

This book is beautifully read, with all the accents, which brings the characters to life. You development an emotional attachment to the characters, which might be more difficult to do if you were just reading the book.

Any additional comments?

Beautifully read and beautifully written, this is the story of the murder of a small boy and the mystery surrounding the case. But it is not just a mystery in the past, it is still very much a mystery today, and that is what makes this book so fascinating.