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Andrew

Chinnor, United Kingdom
  • 52
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  • 332
  • helpful votes
  • 67
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  • Painting the Sand

  • By: Kim Hughes
  • Narrated by: Oliver Hemsbrough
  • Length: 9 hrs and 9 mins
  • Unabridged
  • Overall
    4.5 out of 5 stars 793
  • Performance
    4.5 out of 5 stars 736
  • Story
    5 out of 5 stars 732

Kim Hughes is the most highly decorated bomb disposal operator serving in the British Army. He was awarded the George Cross in 2009 following a gruelling six-month tour of duty in Afghanistan, during which he defused 119 improvised explosive devices, survived numerous Taliban ambushes and endured a close encounter with the Secretary of State for Defence.

  • 5 out of 5 stars
  • A truly great read!

  • By D. J. Craig on 31-10-17

Interesting Story About a Dangerous Job

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

Reviewed: 28-01-19

This is a story about courage - a look at a very different sort of job (the kind that can end very badly in a moment). Centered around Kim Hughes' time in Afghanistan during the war - with daily missions to deal with IEDs it seemed almost pointless at times. Constantly clearing bombs only to have to come back and clear them again. Seeming perhaps petty - I did find his personal views about situations, people, his marriage somewhat wearying and times a little self pitying. That said he was more kindly towards his wife (possibly now ex-wife) nearer the end of the book.
An interesting tale about a dangerous way of life.

  • Scrublands

  • By: Chris Hammer
  • Narrated by: Rupert Degas
  • Length: 13 hrs and 16 mins
  • Unabridged
  • Overall
    4.5 out of 5 stars 117
  • Performance
    5 out of 5 stars 108
  • Story
    4.5 out of 5 stars 107

A dead river. A dying town. A killer's secrets.... In an isolated country town ravaged by drought, a charismatic young priest opens fire on his congregation, killing five men before being shot dead himself. A year later, journalist Martin Scarsden arrives in Riversend to write a feature on the anniversary of the tragedy. But the stories he hears from the locals don't fit with the accepted version of events. Just as Martin believes he is making headway, a shocking discovery rocks the town.

  • 5 out of 5 stars
  • Best in ages.

  • By Robert E. on 07-10-18

Excellent!

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

Reviewed: 27-01-19

I enjoyed this from start to finish. Chris Hammer is a brilliant story teller. His writing paints the locations so well - the town and surrounding scrublands, burning in the sun and swirling in dust. Characters are well drawn and convincing. The plot is satisfyingly complicated - with many twists and turns along the way. I completely engaged with the story and found it a great escape during long commutes (& not long enough runs).

Making a good story even better was Rupert Degas’ fantastic narration. So many voices - always clear who was who and a complete pleasure to listen too.

Wish it wasn’t over!

  • Brimstone: Pendergast, Book 5

  • Booktrack Edition
  • By: Douglas Preston, Lincoln Child
  • Narrated by: Scott Brick
  • Length: 19 hrs and 42 mins
  • Unabridged
  • Overall
    4 out of 5 stars 2
  • Performance
    5 out of 5 stars 2
  • Story
    3.5 out of 5 stars 2

A body is found in the attic of a fabulous Long Island estate. There is a claw print scorched into the wall, and the stench of sulfur chokes the air. When FBI Special Agent Pendergast investigates the gruesome crime, he discovers that 30 years ago four men conjured something unspeakable. Has the devil come to claim his due?

  • 4 out of 5 stars
  • Plot staggers in places

  • By Andrew on 17-01-19

Plot staggers in places

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

Reviewed: 17-01-19

First off - I really do like the Pendergast series of novels - and in many ways they get better with each iteration I read (well, listen to). This story even managed - for once - not to be set largely underground.

However I find sometimes I tire of long scenes of drama and suspense that really do go on and on. A large cast of baddies prepared to do terrible things with nothing but contempt for their victims to be (i.e. completely comic book) and events occuring along unfeasible timelines (the bad guy always being one step ahead).

However - there are some interesting and colourful characters, a reasonably entertaining plot and a fair amount of suspense.

At some point I will tackle the next one - after a long rest and some alternative listening.

  • Still Life with Crows

  • A Novel
  • By: Douglas Preston, Lincoln Child
  • Narrated by: Scott Brick
  • Length: 15 hrs and 55 mins
  • Unabridged
  • Overall
    4.5 out of 5 stars 86
  • Performance
    5 out of 5 stars 73
  • Story
    4.5 out of 5 stars 73

For the first time in unabridged audio! A small Kansas town has turned into a killing ground. Is it a serial killer, a man with the need to destroy? Or is it a darker force, a curse upon the land? Amid golden cornfields, FBI Special Agent Pendergast discovers evil in the blood of America's heart.

  • 4 out of 5 stars
  • Most enjoyable Pendergast so far...

  • By Andrew on 21-12-18

Most enjoyable Pendergast so far...

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

Reviewed: 21-12-18

This is the fourth book in the Preston/Child Pendergast series. For me it has been the best and most enjoyable so far. The first two thirds are particularly gripping. Good dialogue, great characters and a nice portrayal of a small town in the middle of nowhere.

As things build towards a climax however, a few of the characters, sometimes start to behave in less convincing ways. For example (and without providing spoilers) - why would someone, already scared, in a large empty factory, at night, in the middle of a storm and knowing there's a particularly nasty murderer in town - decide that certain noises are kids larking about? Really? There's sometimes a little too much of that sort of thing which leaves me feeling unconvinced at times.

Another slight irritation - and this is something more prevalent in the earlier books at times - is how highly trained teams of people are so easily and repeatedly despatched by rather unsophisticated forces of darkness.

However, all said and done - it's a fun story with some great characters introduced who are pretty convincing and often very amusing. Pendergast, the character that ties all of the books together, is both entertaining and mysterious. Bit by bit we are seeing his back story unfold more with each story.

Scott Brick's narration was, for me, perfect for the story.

If you have found the earlier stories enjoyable - I think you'll definitely find this a great listen.

  • Relic

  • Pendergast, Book 1
  • By: Douglas Preston, Lincoln Child
  • Narrated by: David Colacci
  • Length: 13 hrs and 1 min
  • Unabridged
  • Overall
    4 out of 5 stars 281
  • Performance
    4.5 out of 5 stars 175
  • Story
    4.5 out of 5 stars 175

Just days before a massive exhibition opens at the popular New York Museum of Natural History, visitors are being savagely murdered in the museum's dark hallways and secret rooms. Autopsies indicate that the killer cannot be human. But the museum's directors plan to go ahead with a big bash to celebrate the new exhibition, in spite of the murders. Museum researcher Margo Green must find out who - or what - is doing the killing.

  • 5 out of 5 stars
  • Excellent book

  • By S. Brown on 19-11-11

A New Seam of Gold!

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

Reviewed: 06-10-18

Recommended by a friend I really enjoyed this book - all the more for knowing there was plenty more where this came from. I think (not being of a scientific background) that some of the science is a little stretched - but the characters and story are great. That said the denouement plays out in a quite protracted way.

There is quite a lot of humour, particularly earlier on. I believe various characters reappear at times in later books - particularly Pendergast - a contemporary Sherlock Holmes (though far more polite and unfortunately - tiny spoiler? - with a penchant for hunting).

The narration by David Colacci is excellent (except perhaps the Scottish accent!) and adds well to the story. I’m disappointed to see he does not narrate the next few, but see he does reappear later.

Recommended!

1 of 1 people found this review helpful

  • Grey Sister

  • Book of the Ancestor, Book 2
  • By: Mark Lawrence
  • Narrated by: Helen Duff
  • Length: 16 hrs and 2 mins
  • Unabridged
  • Overall
    4.5 out of 5 stars 535
  • Performance
    5 out of 5 stars 492
  • Story
    4.5 out of 5 stars 490

The second novel in the brilliant new series from the best-selling author of Prince of Thorns. In Mystic Class, Nona Grey begins to learn the secrets of the universe. But so often even the deepest truths just make our choices harder. Before she leaves the Convent of Sweet Mercy, Nona must choose her path and take the red of a Martial Sister, the grey of a Sister of Discretion, the blue of a Mystic Sister or the simple black of a Bride of the Ancestor and a life of prayer and service.

  • 5 out of 5 stars
  • Another cracking instalment

  • By Robyn on 16-05-18

Enjoyable...

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

Reviewed: 24-09-18

I mostly enjoyed this - it is a pretty solid follow on to Red Sister. The story flows along and there's a lot which happens. Unfortunately it does suffer from a few too many convenient tweaks to the plot - allowing for salvation in quite unlikely ways. However if you enjoyed Red Sister you undoubtedly will enjoy this.

  • U.S.S. Seawolf

  • Submarine Raider of the Pacific
  • By: Gerold Frank, James D. Horan, Joseph Eckberg
  • Narrated by: Tom Perkins
  • Length: 7 hrs and 16 mins
  • Unabridged
  • Overall
    4.5 out of 5 stars 6
  • Performance
    4.5 out of 5 stars 6
  • Story
    4.5 out of 5 stars 6

The USS Seawolf was one of the greatest submarine raiders of all time. Having narrowly avoided the attack on Pearl Harbor the Seawolf set out for the seas of the Pacific to wreak havoc on Japanese shipping. Joseph Melvin Eckberg was on the Seawolf from her maiden voyage and remained with her until January 1943. As chief radioman he was instrumental in assisting Captain Frederick Warder to find and destroy enemy targets. From the claustrophobia of being trapped under water and the overwhelming fear of depth charges to the joys of aiding the war-effort and the camaraderie on the ship.

  • 4 out of 5 stars
  • Interesting & an eye opener

  • By Andrew on 09-07-18

Interesting & an eye opener

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

Reviewed: 09-07-18

This was an interesting “dive” into the life of submariners during the Pacific war. That said I think it doesn’t capture what presumably would be a lot of fear as well it might (or I’m wrong about how scared people would be at times). Like reality there’s a degree off rinse/repeat about it all - submerge at day, surface at night. Which probably reflects well the boredom at times. Brave men doing a dangerous job.

  • Snow Crash

  • By: Neal Stephenson
  • Narrated by: Jonathan Davis
  • Length: 17 hrs and 3 mins
  • Unabridged
  • Overall
    4 out of 5 stars 892
  • Performance
    4.5 out of 5 stars 702
  • Story
    4 out of 5 stars 705

Neal Stephenson is a blazing new force on the sci-fi scene. With the groundbreaking cyberpunk novel Snow Crash, he has "vaulted onto the literary stage." It weaves virtual reality, Sumerian myth, and just about everything in between with a cool, hip cybersensibility - in short, it is the gigathriller of the information age.

  • 5 out of 5 stars
  • A Perfect Blend

  • By R on 23-09-10

Long winded...

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

Reviewed: 16-06-18

Having really enjoyed Cryptonomicon and Reamde - I found this to be somewhat disappointing. For my taste it was too abstract and surreal - confusingly strung between the real and the virtual. Set in what seemed like a pretty dystopian future the story does introduce some interesting ideas. I'm not sure how much of what I heard is based on fact (long, long discussions about language and viruses) and how much is just story and fabrication. I hope it's the former (i.e. fact) because it's a lot of long winded detail for just being fiction.

Although I was determined to get to the end - it did feel like a struggle getting there. Perhaps it's just me...

  • Commune: Book Two

  • Commune Series 2
  • By: Joshua Gayou
  • Narrated by: R.C. Bray
  • Length: 15 hrs and 2 mins
  • Unabridged
  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars 331
  • Performance
    5 out of 5 stars 311
  • Story
    5 out of 5 stars 311

The survivors have come to settle in the mountains of Wyoming, fighting day in and day out to establish a home for themselves in a near-empty world. Things are good at first; scavenging is a workable, short-term solution that seems to be providing all they need. But they know that it’s only a matter of time before the food runs out. They need to scramble to find a sustainable solution before the clock stops, and for a little handful of people up in the mountains, the odds don’t seem very favorable.

  • 5 out of 5 stars
  • When’s the next book out?

  • By Tina Jane on 07-04-18

A Great Follow On...

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

Reviewed: 05-05-18

Having enjoyed book one of the Commune story I was both hoping for and expecting more of the same. I've not been disappointed. Continuing with the same group of characters from book one - and mixing in some new ones - the story continues to unfold with the same level of believability (is that a word?)

Life is getting tougher as things are becoming more scarce. Characters develop along with their experiences in trying to survive. Situations which arise are handled with a fair degree of thoughtfullness - it is not just the gun which rules everything. That said - in a similar vein to many other stories from this genre - guns do play their part in the story with quite a lot of references to same throughout. Survival after some sort of disaster seems to be a thing amongs people with what might be described as an overly developed interest in firearms. If I was in their position however - I'd be after the same!

There is one thing in the story which irritated me - given that fuel and ammunition are in short supply - and must peopke in a given group would probably be expected to be out foraging. However I am not going to spoil things by detailing it - and it did not detract from my overall enjoyment of the story.

Once again Mr. Bray was an excellent narrator and made the whole experience a greater pleasure. I am now anticipating book three (I think it's been published - just not yet on Audible).

  • Commune

  • Commune, Book 1
  • By: Joshua Gayou
  • Narrated by: R.C. Bray
  • Length: 9 hrs and 46 mins
  • Unabridged
  • Overall
    4.5 out of 5 stars 395
  • Performance
    5 out of 5 stars 378
  • Story
    4.5 out of 5 stars 377

For dinosaurs, it was a big rock. For humans: Coronal Mass Ejection (CME). When the Earth is hit by the greatest CME in recorded history (several times larger than the Carrington Event of 1859), the combined societies of the planet's most developed nations struggle to adapt to a life thrust back into the Dark Ages. In the United States, the military scrambles to speed the nation's recovery on multiple fronts including putting down riots, establishing relief camps, delivering medical aid, and bringing communication and travel back on line. Just as a real foothold is established in retaking the skies (utilizing existing commercial aircraft supplemented by military resources and ground control systems), a mysterious virus takes hold of the population, spreading globally over the very flight routes that the survivors fought so hard to rebuild.

  • 5 out of 5 stars
  • Great story. R C Bray awesome as always

  • By Matthew B. on 23-11-17

Excellent!

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

Reviewed: 05-05-18

I'm a big sad fan of post apocalyptic stories. Generally I prefer them without zombies (or similar) but I don't mind how the end of things comes about - just make it believable. This is a story without zombies - just people. And people can be bad enough (and good enough) without the undead putting in an appearance.

What appealed to me strongly is the sense of "real" that I felt from the story (and most of book two also). The characters are interesting and well developed. People are both good and bad, weak and strong (well a couple are mostly strong), kind and unkind. In situations where there is violence and confrontation - it is illustrated well and believable.

One thing which I have found irritating in other similar stories is when a group of people who are perhaps rather more bad than good - attack the protaganists in a story and our heroes rise to the occassion and sock it to them. What do the baddies do? They fight on ruthlessly to the last man. What would real baddies (and most people) really do? Run away when things were looking iffy. In Commune - they behave as you'd expect (with one irksome exception in book two).

This is not a book with constant action and excitement - time is spent on back stories and painting the bigger picture and for that reason when action comes it is all the more satisfying for not being plastered throughout. Difficulties are painted in what seems to me to be a pretty realistic light - survival being a tough call from day one.

All in all - this is an exciting and for me mostly believable "end of the world" story. And R.C. Bray is absolutely the right person to be reading it - adding even more to the experience. Bring on book three!