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Margaret Clare Stoll

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Very gloomy. Not a hint of any happy endings.

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

Reviewed: 18-12-18

Misery, misery, misery. Every one of the characters either dies before their time, is killed in some way, or ends up having an extremely unhappy life. One sentence that rings out at me: 'A man must be master in his own house'. So he proceeds to be a tyrant and is hated by all around him.

Waste of time

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

Reviewed: 10-07-16

What disappointed you about Churchill's Secret Warriors?

The recording is awful. It sounds as if it's being recorded under water. Fuzzy, echoing. I couldn't bear to listen to it so I can't comment on the story or the content.

Would you ever listen to anything by Damien Lewis again?

If read by someone else, maybe.

How did the narrator detract from the book?

Ruined it! And the actual recording.

Excellent

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

Reviewed: 24-09-14

Where does Covenant with Death rank among all the audiobooks you’ve listened to so far?

This is the story of something unique - the 'Pals' battalions in the British Army in World War One. They were a completely new idea - a volunteer citizen army, not professional soldiers and not reservists. They learned to be soldiers completely from scratch. Morale, comradeship, courage were of the highest. Tragically, they didn't last long. Most went into battle on the 1st July, the first day of the battle of the Somme, what was called the 'Big Push'. Most never even fired a shot in anger. They were shredded on that first day. Literally shredded. This novel tells the story of one such 'Pals' battalion from one northern city. Only one professional soldier in the whole lot, a Regimental Sergeant Major from a Guards regiment plus one retired veteran, and they had the job of turning all these civilian men into soldiers.

What did you like best about this story?

It was intensely moving, funny in places, very realistic, you could almost imagine you were there. The author pulls no punches at all.

Have you listened to any of Mike Rogers’s other performances? How does this one compare?

I haven't, but I like his voice. Would be happy to hear another book read by him.

1 person found this helpful

The Black Tower cover art

Details

Overall
4 out of 5 stars

Reviewed: 03-05-10

Although P D James is meticulous about the smallest details, she made 2 errors:

1. The sister's headgear, a triangular veil, as worn in the forces nursing services (used to be!) - was worn in the QARANC, which was the army nursing service. In the text it is wrongly named - what P D James calls it would have been the naval nursing service, which is not what she's describing here.

2. 'Specializing' a patient i.e. one-to-one care by a named nurse to one patient - no, it was called 'specialling' not 'specializing'. A patient was described as 'being specialled by nurse.....'

1 person found this helpful

Very enjoyable

Overall
5 out of 5 stars

Reviewed: 07-07-09

I'm enjoying this enormously. Once I'd left school I always enjoyed historical fiction more than the history I'd been taught at grammar school for 'O' levels (oops, showing my age!) because I was much more interested in 'bringing the past to life' than in bare facts and figures.

The 14th century, which this book focuses on rather than any of the other 'medieval' centuries, was one of fundamental change, radical new ideas, tumultuous events - the Black Death, the Peasants' Revolt - and yet a lot of things stayed basically the same.

I was fascinated by the way fashions changed, and yet the people could be doing exactly the same jobs, dressed differently, from their grandparents. The prosperous villein driving his plough-team of oxen is dressed differently from his grandfather earlier in the century, but he's still driving a team of oxen, scowling at the man guiding the plough! People's jobs did not change. The sumptuary laws meant that you had to dress according to your 'station in life', not just whether you could afford better, or not. It reminded me of that hymn that goes 'The rich man in his castle, the poor man at his gate. God made them high or lowly, and ordered their estate'.

Those earlier times are where that thinking came from. It has lasted until quite recent times.

This book really does go into the basic minutiae of life and brings it all vividly into focus. More please, other centuries!

25 people found this helpful

I didn't like this

Overall
1 out of 5 stars

Reviewed: 10-11-08

I didn't like this and I didn't listen to more than the first few pages. It was a big disappointment because I enjoy Frederick Forsyth's books, his style of writing etc, and I had enjoyed listening to 'The Afghan'.

As Forsyth is such an English writer, I was surprised and disappointed that the reader is American. I hadn't realised that. I find it very difficult to listen to American readers - I've found that with other audiobooks.

Terrible accents!

Overall
3 out of 5 stars

Reviewed: 22-03-08

I agree with Clare about the accents. I found most of them reasonably 'English' in the first 2 parts, except for mispronunciation of words like 'inquiry' in which the stress should be on the second syllable and not the first. And 'Tor-kway' not 'Tor-kee'! Mrs Michaelson was the worst and the most obviously American. I thought this was a shame, for an English audience about such a ground-breaking English novel.

As writers did in his time, Wilkie Collins uses 20 words where one would do. How DID they manage it, using pen and ink, laboriously scratched on paper? However, the story is compelling. It's worth mentioning, however, that in 1860 ALL of a woman's money became her husband's the moment the marriage was solemnised. I don't think Laura's signature would ever have been required. Not until the Married Women's Property Acts 20 years later, until then a woman didn't own even the clothes she stood up in.

2 people found this helpful