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Mark Pack

  • 8
  • reviews
  • 160
  • helpful votes
  • 12
  • ratings
  • The Spy and the Traitor

  • By: Ben MacIntyre
  • Narrated by: Ben Macintyre
  • Length: 14 hrs and 32 mins
  • Unabridged
  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars 1,563
  • Performance
    5 out of 5 stars 1,458
  • Story
    5 out of 5 stars 1,450

On a warm July evening in 1985, a middle-aged man stood on the pavement of a busy avenue in the heart of Moscow, holding a plastic carrier bag. In his grey suit and tie, he looked like any other Soviet citizen. The bag alone was mildly conspicuous, printed with the red logo of Safeway, the British supermarket. The man was a spy. A senior KGB officer, for more than a decade he had supplied his British spymasters with a stream of priceless secrets from deep within the Soviet intelligence machine. No spy had done more to damage the KGB. The Safeway bag was a signal: to activate his escape plan to be smuggled out of Soviet Russia.

  • 5 out of 5 stars
  • Brilliant Documentary of the Cold War

  • By Paul on 03-10-18

Promising but audio version starts at chapter 9

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

Reviewed: 14-10-18

The book itself seems very good so far, but the audio version alas rather less so - it starts at chapter 9.

  • Artemis

  • By: Andy Weir
  • Narrated by: Rosario Dawson
  • Length: 8 hrs and 57 mins
  • Unabridged
  • Overall
    4.5 out of 5 stars 6,980
  • Performance
    4.5 out of 5 stars 6,580
  • Story
    4 out of 5 stars 6,567

Jazz Bashara is a criminal. Well, sort of. Life on Artemis, the first and only city on the moon, is tough if you're not a rich tourist or an eccentric billionaire. So smuggling in the occasional harmless bit of contraband barely counts, right? Not when you've got debts to pay and your job as a porter barely covers the rent. Everything changes when Jazz sees the chance to commit the perfect crime, with a reward too lucrative to turn down.

  • 5 out of 5 stars
  • Jazzed Up Sci-Fi Crime Caper

  • By Simon on 15-11-17

Great novel, excellent narrator

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

Reviewed: 08-12-17

What did you like best about this story?

As you might expect from the author of The Martian, there's a detailed and (to my non-expert mind) plausible scientific background to the world created for this book. The plot takes a little while to get going as the world is set out for the reader/listener, but is very enjoyable once it does. There's one moment where the cast of main characters is assembled in a room for a briefing that feels like it was written with half an eye on a future film adaptation, and likewise, near the end there's a twist in the plot that feels like it sets up the sort of conclusion that Hollywood prefers. But very enjoyable even so.

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

Narrator Rosario Dawson is excellent for the audio book version, using subtle changes of pace, tone and accent to help distinguish the characters and to bring out the personality of the main persona (so much so, that I suspect this works rather better than reading the book).

  • Master of the Senate

  • The Years of Lyndon Johnson, Volume III (Part 2 of a 3-Part Recording)
  • By: Robert A. Caro
  • Narrated by: Grover Gardner
  • Length: 18 hrs and 10 mins
  • Unabridged
  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars 52
  • Performance
    4.5 out of 5 stars 43
  • Story
    5 out of 5 stars 44

Master of the Senate carries Lyndon Johnson's story through one of its most remarkable periods: his 12 years, from 1949 to 1960, in the United States Senate. Once the most august and revered body in politics, by the time Johnson arrived the Senate had become a parody of itself and an obstacle that for decades had blocked desperately needed liberal legislation. Caro shows how Johnson's brilliance, charm, and ruthlessness enabled him to become the youngest and most powerful majority leader in history.

  • 5 out of 5 stars
  • Great book, great narrator, surprisingly poor edit

  • By Mark Pack on 02-01-17

Great book, great narrator, surprisingly poor edit

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

Reviewed: 02-01-17

Would you listen to Master of the Senate - The Years of Lyndon Johnson, Volume III (Part 2 of a 3-Part Recording) again? Why?

The book is brilliant, the story fascinating and the narration excellent.

Any additional comments?

But the editing of the second part of the three-part audio book is surprisingly poor. On more than a dozen occasions bits of text are repeated as the audio track suddenly doubles back by a few words or even a few sentences. The first part was edited professionally without such errors. It looks like by the time of the second part time or budget was too short to avoid repeatedly making a basic mistake.

1 of 1 people found this review helpful

  • Wide-Eyed and Legless

  • Inside the Tour de France
  • By: Jeff Connor
  • Narrated by: Ben Elliot
  • Length: 4 hrs and 41 mins
  • Unabridged
  • Overall
    4 out of 5 stars 64
  • Performance
    4 out of 5 stars 56
  • Story
    4 out of 5 stars 56

Named ‘The No. 1 Cycling Book of All Time’ by Cycle Sport, Wide-Eyed and Legless is a fast-paced, fly-on-the-wall story of courage, endurance, bungling, rows and cheating in sport's greatest marathon. In 1987, the Tour was won by Irishman Stephen Roche. It was the first time the champion had hailed from outside the Continent or the States and the first time in 20 years a British team - ANC Halfords - had competed in the world's toughest and craziest race.

  • 5 out of 5 stars
  • Great book, but beware the "unabridged" claim

  • By Mark Pack on 21-08-14

Great book, but beware the "unabridged" claim

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

Reviewed: 21-08-14

If you could sum up Wide-Eyed and Legless in three words, what would they be?

It's a great book, but watch out for the "unabridged" claim. The audio version is incomplete, as it misses out several of the appendices at the back of the book, even ones that are quite amenable to be read out loud.

3 of 3 people found this review helpful

  • Commando

  • Winning World War II Behind Enemy Lines
  • By: James Owen
  • Narrated by: Andrew Wincott
  • Length: 13 hrs and 55 mins
  • Unabridged
  • Overall
    4.5 out of 5 stars 55
  • Performance
    4.5 out of 5 stars 48
  • Story
    4.5 out of 5 stars 48

June 1940: As Britain's soldiers limped home from Dunkirk, a maverick Army officer was already devising a bold plan to hit back at the enemy. His idea was to revolutionise military thinking and change the face of warfare forever. Relying as much on stealth and guile as on courage and stamina, the Commandos brought to the battlefield the skills of the guerrilla. Trained by an unconventional band of experts, and led by a big-game hunter, a film star, a Highland chief and an eccentric wielding a bow and arrow, they became the spearhead of the Allied drive for victory.

  • 5 out of 5 stars
  • gripping first book

  • By Dave on 10-11-16

Book good, but audio recording - oh dear

Overall
1 out of 5 stars

Reviewed: 20-01-13

It's a good book let down by a poor audio recording. Or more precisely, let down by the very strange and even confusing mis-pronunciations that feature very heavily in the recording. Some are just bizarre, but some also undermine the meaning, most particularly the way Boulogne (in France) is pronounced as Bologna (in Italy). Unless you already know otherwise, that makes for some very confusing sections,

1 of 2 people found this review helpful

  • The Power of Habit

  • Why We Do What We Do, and How to Change
  • By: Charles Duhigg
  • Narrated by: Mike Chamberlain
  • Length: 10 hrs and 53 mins
  • Unabridged
  • Overall
    4.5 out of 5 stars 3,541
  • Performance
    4.5 out of 5 stars 2,887
  • Story
    4.5 out of 5 stars 2,864

In The Power of Habit, award-winning New York Times business reporter Charles Duhigg takes us to the thrilling edge of scientific discoveries that explain why habits exist and how they can be changed. With penetrating intelligence and an ability to distil vast amounts of information into engrossing narratives, Duhigg brings to life a whole new understanding of human nature and its potential for transformation.

  • 4 out of 5 stars
  • Appendix missing

  • By Mark Pack on 22-07-12

Appendix missing

Overall
4 out of 5 stars

Reviewed: 22-07-12

Something to watch out for if you buy this audio version: when I got it, the book's Appendix ("A Reader's Guide to Using These Ideas') was missing.

140 of 148 people found this review helpful

  • The Commodore

  • By: C. S. Forester
  • Narrated by: Christian Rodska
  • Length: 9 hrs and 36 mins
  • Unabridged
  • Overall
    4.5 out of 5 stars 119
  • Performance
    5 out of 5 stars 94
  • Story
    4.5 out of 5 stars 94

In the ninth instalment of the series, C.S. Forester transports us to the quaint village of Smallbridge. Predictably restless and eager to embark on his next adventure, Horatio Hornblower dreams of returning to the seas and commanding his next ship. Now happily married to Lady Barbara Leighton and widely celebrated for his recent successes with the navy, Hornblower has been knighted and appointed a commodore. Fortunately for Horatio, his uneventful days as village squire are soon interrupted.

  • 4 out of 5 stars
  • Complete and Enjoyable

  • By Donn Edwards on 21-07-14

Last chapter is missing from the audio book

Overall
1 out of 5 stars

Reviewed: 12-10-11

Luckily the last chapter is more an epilogue than the climax of the book, but even so to be missing the last chapter is a pretty disappointing error in an audio book.

4 of 5 people found this review helpful

  • Gateway

  • By: Frederik Pohl
  • Narrated by: Oliver Wyman, Robert J. Sawyer
  • Length: 8 hrs and 37 mins
  • Unabridged
  • Overall
    4.5 out of 5 stars 160
  • Performance
    4.5 out of 5 stars 129
  • Story
    4.5 out of 5 stars 127

When prospector Bob Broadhead went out to Gateway on the Heechee spacecraft, he decided he would know which was the right mission to make him his fortune. Three missions later, now famous and permanently rich, Robinette Broadhead has to face what happened to him and what he is...in a journey into himself as perilous and even more horrifying than the nightmare trip through the interstellar void that he drove himself to take!

  • 1 out of 5 stars
  • Great book, shame it's not genuinely unabridged

  • By Mark Pack on 27-04-11

Great book, shame it's not genuinely unabridged

Overall
1 out of 5 stars

Reviewed: 27-04-11

The book is deservedly known as a science fiction classic, but watch out for this audio version as it is heavily abridged. Although it's title 'unabridged', in fact all the side bars in the text have been removed.

11 of 13 people found this review helpful