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H. Tollyfield

  • 33
  • reviews
  • 96
  • helpful votes
  • 342
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  • The Crystal Cave

  • Arthurian Saga, Book 1
  • By: Mary Stewart
  • Narrated by: Derek Perkins
  • Length: 16 hrs and 51 mins
  • Unabridged
  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars 11
  • Performance
    4.5 out of 5 stars 11
  • Story
    5 out of 5 stars 11

This is what happened. I saw it, and it is a true tale. So begins the story of Merlin, born the illegitimate son of a Welsh princess in fifth-century Britain, a world ravaged by war. Small and neglected, with his mother unwilling to reveal his father's identity, Merlin must disguise his intelligence - and hide his occasional ability to know things before they happen - in order to keep himself safe.   

  • 5 out of 5 stars
  • Still the best telling of the Arthurian legend

  • By H. Tollyfield on 20-02-19

Still the best telling of the Arthurian legend

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

Reviewed: 20-02-19

I downloaded this book with some apprehension. I last read this book, and the others in the series, 40 years ago and was completely drawn into the world that they created. I read them all in one go and absolutely loved them, even though I wished for an ending which was not inevitably tragic. So I downloaded this new audiobook recording wondering if I was going to be disappointed and whether the story would live up to my memory of 40 years ago. I needn't have worried; the story is still as engaging as it ever was and I was completely bound up again in this telling of the legend from the perspective of Merlin, who stands out as a fully rounded central character. Derek Perkins' narration is superb and really brings the story to life. I shall now listen to the whole series, even though I shall still wish that Arthur would resist the temptation of Morgan/Morgause and so not be brought low by Mordred. In these troubled times we could do with the Once and Future King returning from Avalon to save Britain once again.

6 of 7 people found this review helpful

  • Brass in Pocket: Inspector Drake Mystery (Volume 1)

  • By: Stephen Puleston
  • Narrated by: Richard Elfyn
  • Length: 10 hrs and 10 mins
  • Unabridged
  • Overall
    4.5 out of 5 stars 26
  • Performance
    4.5 out of 5 stars 26
  • Story
    4 out of 5 stars 26

Two traffic officers are killed on an isolated mountain pass in North Wales. Inspector Drake is called to the scene and quickly discovers a message left by the killer - traffic cones in the shape of a number four. The killer starts sending the Wales Police Service lyrics from famous rock songs. Are they messages, or is there some hidden meaning in them? Does it all mean more killings are likely?  

  • 5 out of 5 stars
  • Entertaining story and great narration

  • By Anonymous User on 14-11-18

Excellent narration

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

Reviewed: 14-01-19

This is a good well-written story - a promising first novel in the series. The atmosphere of the novel is brought to life by the excellent narration of Richard Elfyn who does justice to the Welsh accents of the local characters and is also able to voice convincing accents for other characters. My only criticism is that the main character, Ian Drake, is a bit all over the place in this story. Hopefully he will settle down into a more rounded character in future novels in the series.

  • Trouble on the Thames

  • By: Victor Bridges
  • Narrated by: David Thorpe
  • Length: 7 hrs and 10 mins
  • Unabridged
  • Overall
    4 out of 5 stars 2
  • Performance
    4.5 out of 5 stars 2
  • Story
    4 out of 5 stars 2

Owen Bradwell is a courageous naval officer who returns to England in the 1930s. He believes that his career is over because he has become colour-blind – but with Nazi Germany an increasing menace, the authorities cannot do without Bradwell, and he is assigned a special mission. 

A former acquaintance of Bradwell's has been trapped into betraying his country's secrets by a Nazi agent. Bradwell is sent to spy on the spy, and travels down the Thames on a surveillance trip. Things soon take an unexpected turn, and Bradwell finds himself in the company of a dead man, and a pretty young interior decorator called Sally. Will Bradwell triumph over the villains, and will he and Sally fall in love?

  • 3 out of 5 stars
  • Hasn't aged so well

  • By H. Tollyfield on 17-11-18

Hasn't aged so well

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

Reviewed: 17-11-18

It was interesting to listen to this story, written by an author who was very popular in his day. It's OK and I was quite happy to listen through to the end, but the plot is a bit thin. The hero - taken suddenly from the service in which he had become immersed, to be launched into the role of secret agent/investigator for which he is ill-equipped - bumbles along and has remarkably little impact on the events described in the story, even in what was intended to be the thrilling denouement of the capture of the German agents. David Thorpe makes a good job of bringing the story to life and kept me listening to the end. All in all, though, it hasn't aged well.

0 of 1 people found this review helpful

  • The Great Impersonation

  • By: E. Phillips Oppenheim
  • Narrated by: Peter Noble
  • Length: 8 hrs and 54 mins
  • Unabridged
  • Overall
    4.5 out of 5 stars 11
  • Performance
    5 out of 5 stars 11
  • Story
    4 out of 5 stars 11

East Africa, 1913. The disgraced English aristocrat Everard Dominey stumbles out of the bush and comes face to face with his lookalike, the German Baron von Ragastein. Months later, Dominey returns to London and resumes his glittering social life. But is it really Dominey who has come back - or a German secret agent seeking to infiltrate English high society?

  • 5 out of 5 stars
  • Evokes the pre WW1 era very well

  • By H. Tollyfield on 17-11-18

Evokes the pre WW1 era very well

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

Reviewed: 17-11-18

This is a very well written story of its time and it is excellently narrated by Peter Noble. We might look back on the piece through the lens of our own times and find things to criticise, but as a story written almost contemporaneously with the end of the Edwardian era and the early days of WW1, it evokes the society, its mores and concerns very well - and all as part of a thunderingly good yarn. It picks up the theme of one person taking on the life of another as a means of furthering and confounding the aims of governments in their preparations for war - a theme used by other authors of the time, such as Anthony Hope and John Buchan - and carries it through very successfully, with a very satisfying, if well-signalled twist. All in all a very enjoyable listen.

2 of 2 people found this review helpful

  • The Murder at Redmire Hall

  • A Yorkshire Murder Mystery, Book 3
  • By: J. R. Ellis
  • Narrated by: Michael Page
  • Length: 9 hrs and 15 mins
  • Unabridged
  • Overall
    4.5 out of 5 stars 62
  • Performance
    4 out of 5 stars 48
  • Story
    4.5 out of 5 stars 48

Lord Redmire’s gambling habit has placed him in serious debt. Determined to salvage his fortune by putting Redmire Hall on the map, the aristocrat performs an impossible locked-door illusion on live TV. But as the cameras roll, his spectacular trick goes fatally wrong. Special guest DCI Jim Oldroyd has a front-row seat, but in all his years with the West Riding Police he’s never witnessed anything like this. He sees Redmire disappear - and then reappear, dead, with a knife in his back.

  • 5 out of 5 stars
  • Good Yorkshire Mystery

  • By K. Tye on 02-03-19

Apallingly awful narration

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

Reviewed: 21-09-18

I have read the Yorkshire murder mysteries written by J.R.Ellis and they are generally very good. But the narrator of this audio version is truly terrible. He puts on the most dreadful fake Yorkshire accents which completely destroy the characterisations in the story. I couldn't carry on listening after the first couple of chapters.

  • The Distant Echo

  • By: Val McDermid
  • Narrated by: Tom Cotcher
  • Length: 14 hrs and 11 mins
  • Unabridged
  • Overall
    4.5 out of 5 stars 2,111
  • Performance
    4.5 out of 5 stars 1,943
  • Story
    4.5 out of 5 stars 1,939

On a freezing morning four drunken students stumble upon the body of a woman in the snow. Rosie has been raped, stabbed and left for dead in a cemetery. The only suspects are the four young men now stained with her blood. Twenty-five years later the police mount a cold-case review of Rosie’s unsolved murder, and the four are still suspects. But when two of them die in suspicious circumstances, it seems that someone is pursuing their own brand of justice....

  • 5 out of 5 stars
  • Absorbing story with good characters

  • By Janet on 07-03-17

Not much of a mystery

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

Reviewed: 18-09-18

It's pretty obvious from about half way through the book who the murderer is. The only mystery is then about what the main protagonists will be put through before the murderer is unmasked and it is a very long-winded process. The book would have benefitted from being about 25% shorter and a faster paced narrative. The main story - about the young men who have the misfortune to discover the body of a dying woman, their experiences of becoming the suspects and the final resolution of the case 25 years later - is a good one and it is set well in the atmosphere of St Andrew's and Kirkaldy in the late 1970s and then 2003. The narrator gives a good voice to the story which helps to keep you engaged through the long descriptive pieces. This was my first experience of the author and I'll not be rushing to buy another of her titles.

  • Horus Rising

  • The Horus Heresy, Book 1
  • By: Dan Abnett
  • Narrated by: Toby Longworth
  • Length: 12 hrs and 14 mins
  • Unabridged
  • Overall
    4.5 out of 5 stars 1,841
  • Performance
    5 out of 5 stars 1,710
  • Story
    4.5 out of 5 stars 1,714

It is the 31st millennium. Under the benevolent leadership of the Immortal Emperor, the Imperium of Man hasstretched out across the galaxy. It is a golden age of discovery and conquest. But now, on the eve of victory, the Emperor leaves the front lines, entrusting the great crusade to his favourite son, Horus. Promoted to Warmaster, can the idealistic Horus carry out the Emperor's grand plan, or will this promotion sow the seeds of heresy amongst his brothers?

  • 5 out of 5 stars
  • Truly Amazing!

  • By David C. on 13-01-18

Surprisingly good

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

Reviewed: 04-06-18

The book was on offer in the daily deal so I thought I'd give it a go. I found it surprisingly good and thoroughly enjoyed this fantasy about mankind's future in spreading a galaxy-wide empire by means of a highly militaristic warrior caste which systematically "civilises" worlds by destroying them. Although the empire and its reach across the galaxy are massive, the story focuses on just one group of characters and their experiences in driving forward "The Crusade". Whilst blood and guts do feature quite a lot, the book is not simply about battles and fighting. It is also about how the main characters are affected by their violent trade and about how some come to doubt what they are doing and why they are doing it. It is also about the politics of leadership and how that can twist in the hands of those who attempt to manipulate it. It is very well written and Toby Longworth does well in bringing the story to life. This is the first of a very long series of books, each written by a different author. I shall try the second one and see how it goes, but I'm not sure if I have the stamina to last until book 40+.

  • The Battle of the Atlantic

  • How the Allies Won the War
  • By: Jonathan Dimbleby
  • Narrated by: Jonathan Dimbleby
  • Length: 20 hrs and 43 mins
  • Unabridged
  • Overall
    4.5 out of 5 stars 231
  • Performance
    4 out of 5 stars 208
  • Story
    4.5 out of 5 stars 208

Penguin presents the unabridged, downloadable audiobook edition of The Battle of the Atlantic, written and read by Jonathan Dimbleby. The Battle of the Atlantic was - though often overlooked - crucial to victory in the Second World War. If the German U-boats had prevailed, the maritime artery across the Atlantic would have been severed. Mass hunger would have consumed Britain, and the Allied armies would have been prevented from joining in the invasion of Europe.

  • 4 out of 5 stars
  • Brilliant but faulty editing

  • By Paul J Day on 29-01-16

Dimbleby, execllent writer, not such a good reader

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

Reviewed: 02-05-18

This is an excellent account of this war of attrition, often overlooked, but the key to determining the outcome of the Second World War. Jonathan Dimbleby successfully combines the factual account, based upon the vast archive of documentary evidence, with the human stories of individuals caught up in the conflict - servicemen, merchant sailors and members of the public. What is staggering is the scale of the destructive waste of ships, of cargoes and of people killed, and the failures of the wartime leaders on all sides. I had never before appreciated the sheer blindness of Churchill and Roosevelt to the extent to which the German U-boats had the opportunity to bring about the defeat of the UK right up to the early months of 1943. Thank heavens that the German leaders also made catastrophically bad decisions. It was also staggering to learn that the Germans were successfully breaking British Admiralty codes more successfully than Bletchley Park was breaking Enigma. So this book is a great modern retelling of this crucial period in our history, but it is let down somewhat by Dimbleby's narration and inconsistent pronunciation of German words and military ranks, together with a poor technical recording which result in audible paper rustling and chair creaking. Another reader could have brought this excellent book more vividly to life.

  • The Thirty-One Kings

  • Richard Hannay Returns
  • By: Robert J. Harris
  • Narrated by: David Rintoul
  • Length: 5 hrs and 6 mins
  • Unabridged
  • Overall
    4 out of 5 stars 17
  • Performance
    4.5 out of 5 stars 14
  • Story
    3.5 out of 5 stars 15

In his final novel, Sick Heart River, John Buchan predicted that with the outbreak of a second world war Richard Hannay and all his companions of old would be going back into action. In The Thirty-One Kings, the tale of their adventures is finally told. June 1940. As German troops pour across France, the veteran soldier and adventurer Richard Hannay is called back into service. In Paris an agent, codenamed 'Roland', has disappeared and is assumed to be in the hands of the Nazis.

  • 3 out of 5 stars
  • Too many “jolly hockey sticks” for me ‘

  • By Neels on 14-02-18

Sketchily developed plot

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

Reviewed: 02-05-18

There is a bit of the original John Buchan style in this new Richard Hannay story from Robert J. Harris, but only a bit. The plot is very sketchy and the nature of the 31 Kings puzzle is not really any puzzle at all, so Richard Hannay doesn't get the opportunity to figure it out in his own dogged way. Also he seems to have lost his ability to get himself out of the scrapes that he gets himself into and has become totally dependent on others rescuing him. There is a pleasing gathering of many of the favourite characters from the John Buchan stories, including the Gorbals Diehards. So overall, it was OK, but not of the standard of Buchan himself.

0 of 1 people found this review helpful

  • The Ark Before Noah

  • Decoding the Story of the Flood
  • By: Dr Irving Finkel
  • Narrated by: Dr Irving Finkel
  • Length: 9 hrs and 2 mins
  • Unabridged
  • Overall
    4 out of 5 stars 107
  • Performance
    4.5 out of 5 stars 98
  • Story
    4 out of 5 stars 99

In The Ark Before Noah, British Museum expert Dr Irving Finkel reveals how decoding the symbols on a 4,000 year old piece of clay enable a radical new interpretation of the Noah's Ark myth. A world authority on the period, Dr Finkel's enthralling real-life detective story began with a most remarkable event at the British Museum - the arrival one day in 2008 of a single, modest-sized Babylonian cuneiform tablet - the palm-sized clay rectangles on which our ancestors created the first documents.

  • 5 out of 5 stars
  • What a delightful book!

  • By Sydney on 04-06-14

A rare gem and a real delight

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

Reviewed: 23-04-17

I have been listening to Irving Finkel's reading and following the text at the same time and I have been enthralled and delighted by it. It covers a subject and an era of which I knew almost nothing other than the story of Noah, as told in Genesis. What started me listening and then reading was the desire for “something different”, what kept me listening and reading in the early chapters was the author/narrator's enthusiasm for his subject and his love of scholarship, but then I became hooked and I found myself fascinated by the subject itself. It was very satisfying to follow through all the tracks and traces of the way in which the flood myth developed, was passed on between the generations in different civilisations, and became assimilated into the Judaean tradition and the compilation of the Old Testament as we know it. I particularly appreciated the author's approach, which is to think of these peoples in times past as being ordinary people very much like ourselves and the elements which he brought into his narrative to support this view (such as the scratching of a game board into the pedestals of the great statues which stood at the gates of Babylon and what this told us about bored guards looking for ways to pass the time).

I loved the detail uncovered in the Ark Tablet which provided the instructions on how to build the ark, the materials to be used and their quantities. The sheer size and weight of the thing, were it ever to be built would have been staggering.

I am very grateful yo Irving Finkel for making this subject so interesting, entertaining and accessible. I hope that it will inspire a new generation to follow in his footsteps and develop a similar passion for scholarship.

1 of 1 people found this review helpful