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  • 22
  • helpful votes
  • 11
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  • Dictator

  • By: Robert Harris
  • Narrated by: David Rintoul
  • Length: 13 hrs and 46 mins
  • Unabridged
  • Overall
    4.5 out of 5 stars 1,029
  • Performance
    4.5 out of 5 stars 955
  • Story
    4.5 out of 5 stars 952

There was a time when Cicero held Caesar’s life in the palm of his hand. But now Caesar is the dominant figure, and Cicero’s life is in ruins. Exiled, separated from his wife and children, his possessions confiscated, his life constantly in danger, Cicero is tormented by the knowledge that he has sacrificed power for the sake of his principles. His comeback requires wit, skill and courage - and, for a brief and glorious period, the legendary orator is once more the supreme senator in Rome.

  • 5 out of 5 stars
  • At last!

  • By Mary Carnegie on 27-11-15

Rather disappointing

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

Reviewed: 08-08-16

Would you try another book written by Robert Harris or narrated by David Rintoul?

I was really looking forward to this, having enjoyed and admired the earlier ones in the series about the life of Cicero, which I read in print. But this account seemed rather pedestrian and plodding, with no real insights into the character of the people playing out this important episode in Roman history. Robert Harris's writing style is fine, and the narrator did a good job, reading with clarity and good phrasing, so I can't quite put my finger on why I was not absorbed. I finished the book because I felt I should but with no great enthusiasm.

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

As this is (mostly) historical fact there is little that could be changed.

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

I don't think I have heard David Rintoul before, but I quite liked his narrative voice.

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

Probably not, now I have read the book.

Any additional comments?

I probably sound as if I am carping and being picky. Others may enjoy it more than I did. But in spite of a good narrator I think this book would be better to read than to listen to. it would be helpful to have lists of the main characters and maps to refer to, impossible in an audiobook of course.

3 of 3 people found this review helpful

  • House of Orphans

  • By: Helen Dunmore
  • Narrated by: Jilly Bond
  • Length: 12 hrs and 27 mins
  • Unabridged
  • Overall
    4 out of 5 stars 29
  • Performance
    4 out of 5 stars 12
  • Story
    4 out of 5 stars 11

Finland, 1901. Eeva, the young orphaned daughter of a revolutionary, is sent from the orphanage to work as housekeeper for Thomas, a widowed country doctor. Her enigmatic presence disturbs Thomas as much as it fascinates him, shattering all the certainties of his life. Eeva longs to be back in Helsinki with the comrades of her childhood, particularly Lauri. But life there is full of danger.

  • 5 out of 5 stars
  • My book of the year. Outstanding in every way.

  • By EGS on 18-04-15

My book of the year. Outstanding in every way.

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

Reviewed: 18-04-15

If you could sum up House of Orphans in three words, what would they be?

Riveting, atmospheric, haunting.

What did you like best about this story?

Helen Dunmore perfectly captures the historical circumstances but without losing any of the drama of the narrative. I really felt I was living through the period with the characters.

What about Jilly Bond’s performance did you like?

Much of the book consists of the thoughts and inner dialogues of the characters. Jilly Bond captures all the nuances of their inner turmoil. It is always clear whose head we are inside, and their changing thoughts and emotions are perfectly portrayed.

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

Very little laughter, many tears.

Any additional comments?

Helen Dunmore is a poet, and this shines through in this novel. Her descriptions of the Finnish countryside are superb. I would give ten stars if I could. I almost never listen to a book more than once, but I will definitely return to this one.

4 of 4 people found this review helpful

  • The Late Scholar

  • By: Jill Paton Walsh
  • Narrated by: Gordon Griffin
  • Length: 9 hrs and 49 mins
  • Unabridged
  • Overall
    4 out of 5 stars 274
  • Performance
    4 out of 5 stars 252
  • Story
    4 out of 5 stars 254

When the fellows at an Oxford college appeal to Peter Wimsey to resolve a dispute, he and Harriet are happy to oblige. The dispute between the two passionate parties is evenly balanced, that is, until several of the fellows unexpectedly die. And the causes of death bear an uncanny resemblance to the murder methods in Peter's past cases - methods that Harriet has used in her novels.…

  • 4 out of 5 stars
  • Not as good as a DL Sayers but better than nothing

  • By Claire on 15-05-14

A marvellous tribute to Dorothy L Sayers.

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

Reviewed: 02-03-15

Would you consider the audio edition of The Late Scholar to be better than the print version?

I cannot judge as I have not read the print version. However I think it might have been easier in print to check back on earlier chapters as the story was very complicated. I decided to listen to each chapter twice before going on to the next, to make sure I understood. No hardship, just double the enjoyment.

What did you like best about this story?

The author has really caught both the English style and the type of story of Dorothy Sayers, no mean feat. I have read all DLS's books, and enjoyed this book just as much.

What about Gordon Griffin’s performance did you like?

He caught the mid-twentieth century style of speech perfectly. It was always immediately obvious who was speaking, even when it wasn't stated beforehand. He also has a very pleasant voice.

Was there a moment in the book that particularly moved you?

Not really, though I often laughed out loud.

Any additional comments?

I do hope Jill Paton Walsh plans to write more Peter Wimsey stories.

1 of 1 people found this review helpful

  • The Red House

  • By: Mark Haddon
  • Narrated by: Maxwell Caulfield
  • Length: 9 hrs and 40 mins
  • Unabridged
  • Overall
    3 out of 5 stars 32
  • Performance
    3.5 out of 5 stars 27
  • Story
    3 out of 5 stars 28

From the best-selling author of The Curious Incident of the Dog in the Night-Time and A Spot of Bother comes a superb book about family and secrets. Angela and her brother, Richard, have spent 20 years avoiding each other. Now, after the death of their mother, they bring their families together for a holiday in a rented house on the Welsh border. Four adults and four children. Seven days of shared meals, log fires, card games, and wet walks. But in the quiet and stillness of the valley, ghosts begin to rise up. The parents Richard thought he had. The parents Angela thought she had. Past and present lovers. Friends, enemies, victims, saviours.

  • 2 out of 5 stars
  • Badly narrated

  • By Claire on 31-01-14

Not what I hoped for.

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

Reviewed: 02-03-15

What could have made this a 4 or 5-star listening experience for you?

It would have been better told as a straightforward narrative. The somewhat experimental format did not work for me, though I think it might have been easier to read than to listen to.

What was most disappointing about Mark Haddon’s story?

I found it very disjointed, just a series of short scenes, seemingly unconnected. There was often little indication of which characters were involved. It needed a proper narrative thread.

What didn’t you like about Maxwell Caulfield’s performance?

He didn't do anything to differentiate between the different characters. There were also some very odd pronunciations, and oddly phrased sentences. (Though I am aware it is easy to criticise and not so easy to do!)

If you could play editor, what scene or scenes would you have cut from The Red House?

I wouldn't cut, I would add a narrative voice to give continuity.

Any additional comments?

I really liked Mark Haddon's previous books, so this was a disappointment.

  • The Woman Who Stole My Life

  • By: Marian Keyes
  • Narrated by: Aoife McMahon
  • Length: 15 hrs and 2 mins
  • Unabridged
  • Overall
    4 out of 5 stars 1,073
  • Performance
    4.5 out of 5 stars 976
  • Story
    4 out of 5 stars 971

One day, sitting in traffic, Stella Sweeney attempts a good deed. The resulting car crash changes her life. But in this event is born the seed of something which will take Stella thousands of miles from her old life, turning an ordinary woman into a superstar, wrenching her whole family apart. For the first time real, honest-to-goodness happiness is just within her reach. But is Stella Sweeney, Dublin housewife, ready to grasp it?

  • 4 out of 5 stars
  • A good lark of a story

  • By christine on 11-12-14

Overlong and underedited.

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

Reviewed: 22-12-14

Would you recommend this book to a friend? Why or why not?

No, I'm afraid not. My other comments will explain why,

What was the most interesting aspect of this story? The least interesting?

The basic story was intriguing. The structure was clever, leading me to persevere because I wanted to know how the story had arrived at the scenario at the beginning. But it was twice as long as it needed to be. There was far too much detailed narrative, so that it became tedious. The worst parts were the repeated and utterly superfluous detailed sex scenes. Sometimes less is more.

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

She is a good narrator, with nice pace and an ability to distinguish between different characters without resorting to silly voices. I think I would have give up if she hadn't been so pleasant to listen to.

Did The Woman Who Stole My Life inspire you to do anything?

Not to read anything else by this author!

Any additional comments?

Sorry if this sounds very negative; for the first few hours I quite enjoyed the book, and I am sure lots of people will not share my opinion. I could not give it fewer than three stars, but that is largely because of an interesting idea and good narration.

4 of 4 people found this review helpful

The Girl You Left Behind cover art
  • The Girl You Left Behind

  • By: Jojo Moyes
  • Narrated by: Clare Corbett, Penelope Rawlins
  • Length: 14 hrs and 37 mins
  • Unabridged
  • Overall
    4.5 out of 5 stars 1,725
  • Performance
    4.5 out of 5 stars 1,494
  • Story
    4.5 out of 5 stars 1,498

France, 1916. Sophie Lefevre is ordered to serve the German officers who socialise in her hotel. When the new Kommandant sets eyes on Sophie's portrait - painted by her husband Edouard - a dangerous obsession is born. Almost a century later, Sophie's portrait hangs in the home of Liv Halston. A chance encounter reveals the painting's true worth - and its troubled history that is about to resurface and turn Liv's life upside down…

  • 5 out of 5 stars
  • Spellbinding - I loved it

  • By Happy and Smiling on 16-02-13

Good story marred by poor narration

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

Reviewed: 13-11-14

Would you listen to The Girl You Left Behind again? Why?

No. I never listen more than once.

What was one of the most memorable moments of The Girl You Left Behind?

No particular moments stand out, but the description of life in the occupied town was very vivid.

Did the narration match the pace of the story?

The narration was a real problem for me, especially the narrator reading the part of Sophie. The fake French accent was totally unnecessary; we know it is set in France, so we don't need reminding constantly. The silly voices used to depict different people were also irritating. To add insult to injury many French words were mispronounced! This also applied to many German words, and both narrators were guilty of this. These professionals should surely go to the trouble of checking how to pronounce words. So both my stars are for the narrator of Liv. I'm afraid the poor narration really spoiled my enjoyment of what is clearly a good book.

Any additional comments?

I've said it all already

7 of 10 people found this review helpful

  • Apple Tree Yard

  • By: Louise Doughty
  • Narrated by: Juliet Stevenson
  • Length: 14 hrs
  • Unabridged
  • Overall
    4.5 out of 5 stars 2,480
  • Performance
    4.5 out of 5 stars 2,285
  • Story
    4 out of 5 stars 2,278

Yvonne Carmichael has a high-flying career, a beautiful home and a good marriage. But when she meets a stranger she is drawn into a passionate affair. Keeping the two halves of her life separate seems easy at first. But she can’t control what happens next.

  • 5 out of 5 stars
  • Bit of an ordeal in places but a great story

  • By David on 23-01-14

Simply mesmerising

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

Reviewed: 07-04-14

What made the experience of listening to Apple Tree Yard the most enjoyable?

This book had me drawn in from the first moment. I quickly realised that I didn't particularly like the narrator and chief protagonist, but her story gripped me nevertheless. I really loved the unhurried way the narrative moved forward, interspersed with passages of introspection about how she saw herself, her family and her world. This sounds as if it could be boring and hold up the story, but in fact it informed my understanding of why the characters behaved as they did. All the characters, including the minor ones, are fully rounded.

What was one of the most memorable moments of Apple Tree Yard?

The opening was breathtaking. The scene was set so vividly, and I almost felt the ending was given away, but in such a way that I deparately wanted to learn how it was arrived at.

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

Juliet Stevenson is the ultimate narrator. Her voice is calm and even, she does not need to resort to different voices or accents to show who is speaking; it is always clear. Her measured delivery suits the unhurried bace of the book to perfection.

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

I never laughed, but did feel on the verge of tears quite a few times.

Any additional comments?

I had never read any of Louise Doughty's books before, but will definitely read her others. She writes beautifully. IThis book will stay with me for a long time.

1 of 1 people found this review helpful

  • A Possible Life

  • By: Sebastian Faulks
  • Narrated by: Rupert Degas, Samuel West, Christian Rodska, and others
  • Length: 10 hrs and 2 mins
  • Unabridged
  • Overall
    3.5 out of 5 stars 116
  • Performance
    4 out of 5 stars 63
  • Story
    3.5 out of 5 stars 62

Terrified, a young prisoner in the Second World War closes his eyes and pictures himself going out to bat on a sunlit cricket ground in Hampshire. Across the courtyard in a Victorian workhouse, a father too ashamed to acknowledge his son. A skinny girl steps out of a Chevy with a guitar; her voice sends shivers through the skull. Soldiers and lovers, parents and children, scientists and musicians risk their bodies and hearts in search of connection.

  • 4 out of 5 stars
  • A Little Depressing

  • By Pauline on 18-09-12

Something of a curate's egg.

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

Reviewed: 20-03-14

What could have made this a 4 or 5-star listening experience for you?

This is not a novel but a set of 5 long short stories, with a tenuous and barely discernible link between them. The first 2 stories were riveting & I could really identify with the characters. The 3rd was interesting, the 4th baffling and the last just plain boring and pretentious. Quite disappointing, as I have loved all Sebastian Faulks's previous books.

What will your next listen be?

Doors Open by Ian Rankin.

What about the narrators’s performance did you like?

All five narrators were good, very clear. I particularly liked the Cockney narration of the second story, which was appropriate and well done.

You didn’t love this book--but did it have any redeeming qualities?

Yes, two really good and stories, which reflected well the period in which they were set. Believable characters, beautiful prose.

Any additional comments?

Not about the book itself, but the description on the Audible website could have made the nature of the book clearer.

  • Into the Silence

  • By: Wade Davis
  • Narrated by: Enn Reitel
  • Length: 28 hrs and 53 mins
  • Unabridged
  • Overall
    4.5 out of 5 stars 161
  • Performance
    4.5 out of 5 stars 152
  • Story
    4.5 out of 5 stars 154

A monumental work of history, biography and adventure – the First World War, Mallory and Mount Everest – ten years in the writing.If the quest for Mount Everest began as a grand imperial gesture, as redemption for an empire of explorers that had lost the race to the Poles, it ended as a mission of regeneration for a country and a people bled white by war.

  • 4 out of 5 stars
  • Epic prize winner

  • By M. Griffiths on 22-11-14

Amazing historical tour de force

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

Reviewed: 28-10-13

What did you like most about Into the Silence?

It gave a detailed historical background to the Everest expeditions of the 1920s, including the wartime experience of the main participants. This brought the famous names to life, allowing the listener to identify with their struggles.
.

What was one of the most memorable moments of Into the Silence?

It is hard to choose just one, but some of the descriptions of the first world war left me shocked and stunned; the writing was so vivid that I felt I was there.

What do you think the narrator could have done better?

I was irritated at the mispronounciation of most of the French place names, and also at the American style of saying dates (eg October one, rather than the first of October). But the pace was good and the speech clear..

If you made a film of this book, what would be the tag line be?

The film has already been made! John Noel's Epic of Everest, made by one of the participants in the 1924 expedition, has just been remastered and released.

Any additional comments?

The only reason I am givng four stars and not five is that sometimes the details of the mountain geography were rather repetitive and confusing; this might have been easier to cope with in print, where you can go back a page or two to check things. But this is a minor criticism.
I would urge anyone nervous of the length of the book to go ahead; it is full of detail, sometimes quite difficult to retain, but at the end I felt I had lived through the whole experience. I think this book will stay with me long after most works of fiction have gone out of my mind.

2 of 2 people found this review helpful