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Sollenbum

  • 15
  • reviews
  • 30
  • helpful votes
  • 34
  • ratings
  • Forever and a Day

  • By: Anthony Horowitz
  • Narrated by: Matthew Goode
  • Length: 7 hrs and 36 mins
  • Unabridged
  • Overall
    4.5 out of 5 stars 662
  • Performance
    4.5 out of 5 stars 614
  • Story
    4.5 out of 5 stars 612

M laid down his pipe and stared at it tetchily. 'We have no choice. We're just going to bring forward this other chap you've been preparing. But you didn't tell me his name.' 'It's Bond, sir,' the Chief of Staff replied. 'James Bond.' One body. Three bullets. 007 floats in the waters of Marseille, killed by an unknown hand. It's time for a new agent to step up. Time for a new weapon in the war against organised crime. It's time for James Bond to earn his licence to kill.

  • 5 out of 5 stars
  • An Iconic Legend is Born

  • By Simon on 02-06-18

Interesting backstory

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

Reviewed: 27-07-18

This is a cosy kind of spy novel. There a few interesting twists and turns in the plot, but wasn’t an entirely gripping experience. The characters were fairly flat which more or less is dictated by the genre. There was, however, a little psychological backstory to the protagonist, which was nice. All in all, an entertaining listening experience.

  • The Dragon Queen

  • By: William Andrews
  • Narrated by: Janet Song, Todd McLaren
  • Length: 10 hrs and 54 mins
  • Unabridged
  • Overall
    4.5 out of 5 stars 8
  • Performance
    4.5 out of 5 stars 5
  • Story
    4.5 out of 5 stars 5

As tensions rise on the Korean peninsula, US diplomat Nate Simon is sent to Seoul to gauge the political situation and advise the president. He also needs to find out why someone sent the president an ancient, intricately carved comb with an ivory inlay of a two-headed dragon. Though familiar with Korea’s language and culture, Nate knows little of its troubled history. Beautiful and mysterious embassy aide Anna Carlson believes it’s time he learns, starting with the extraordinary story of Korea’s last queen.

  • 4 out of 5 stars
  • Korean historical fiction

  • By Sollenbum on 08-07-18

Korean historical fiction

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

Reviewed: 08-07-18

This novel provides an interesting insight into the life of the last Korean Queen. The frame narration doesn't really need to be there, but is perhaps a good way to draw the reader into an otherwise very unfamiliar story. The historical events depicted are interesting, as is the the life of the Queen. However, the characters are fairly flat and depend on the development of the plot to make them interesting. It was a mildly entertaining listen, but no more than that.

1 of 1 people found this review helpful

  • A Season of Secrets

  • By: Margaret Pemberton
  • Narrated by: Kristin Atherton
  • Length: 18 hrs and 23 mins
  • Unabridged
  • Overall
    4.5 out of 5 stars 240
  • Performance
    4.5 out of 5 stars 219
  • Story
    4.5 out of 5 stars 218

Sweeping from the Great War, through the Jazz Age to the 1940s, this unforgettable tale follows the entwined lives of the Fentons, an aristocratic family from Yorkshire. Set against the rich canvas of the first half of the twentieth century, A Season of Secrets is an unforgettable tale of passion and betrayal, love and war from the ever popular Margaret Pemberton.

  • 5 out of 5 stars
  • Exceeds expectations

  • By Ellen on 05-09-17

Interconnected Lives

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

Reviewed: 25-07-17

Where does A Season of Secrets rank among all the audiobooks you’ve listened to so far?

Very pleasant listening experience. It is in the better end of the scale.

What was one of the most memorable moments of A Season of Secrets?

It was nice that the various relationships developed organically. The foreshadowing was deliberate so pairings evolved fairly naturally.

What about Kristin Atherton’s performance did you like?

Atherton's performance was great. The different voices, accents, dialects and languages made listening very enjoyable. Fairly good German pronunciation.

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

The epiphany between Carrie and the love of her life was handled beautifully. Pity their relationship wasn't developed even further. Might have been nice to follow their lives together.

Any additional comments?

Very enjoyable summer listening experience.

  • Sleeper's Castle

  • By: Barbara Erskine
  • Narrated by: Charlotte Strevens
  • Length: 19 hrs and 57 mins
  • Unabridged
  • Overall
    4.5 out of 5 stars 215
  • Performance
    4.5 out of 5 stars 192
  • Story
    4.5 out of 5 stars 191

Hay-on-Wye, 1400. War is brewing in the Welsh borders. Catrin is on the brink of womanhood and falling in love for the first time. Her father is a soothsayer playing a dangerous game, playing on the mixed loyalties and furious rivalries between Welsh princes and English lords. For 200 years the Welsh people have lain under the English yoke, dreaming of independence. And finally it looks as though the charismatic Owain Glyndwr may be the man legend talks of.

  • 5 out of 5 stars
  • Storytelling at its very best.

  • By TR on 23-09-16

Gentle supernatural romance

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

Reviewed: 11-07-17

What did you like most about Sleeper's Castle?

Most of the central characters were round so their behaviour was grounded in reality even though the plot was not. Pepper the cat was particularly well described.

What was one of the most memorable moments of Sleeper's Castle?

The description of the landscape almost became a character in the novel. The cottage and the Pepper the cat were very vivid.

Which character – as performed by Charlotte Strevens – was your favourite?

Culpepper the cat - very feline and yet almost anthropomorphic.

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

Welsh romantic ghost story

Any additional comments?

The plot had a nice denouement and the relationships ended in a satisfying way. However, some of the minor characters had behaviour patterns that were fairly one dimensional.

2 of 2 people found this review helpful

  • Owen

  • Tudor Trilogy, Book 1
  • By: Tony Riches
  • Narrated by: Ian Fisher
  • Length: 10 hrs and 3 mins
  • Unabridged
  • Overall
    4.5 out of 5 stars 32
  • Performance
    4 out of 5 stars 30
  • Story
    4 out of 5 stars 30

England, 1422: Owen Tudor, a Welsh servant, waits in Windsor Castle to meet his new mistress, the beautiful and lonely Queen Catherine of Valois, widow of the warrior king, Henry V. Her infant son is crowned king of England and France, and while the country simmers on the brink of civil war, Owen becomes her protector. They fall in love, risking Owen's life and Queen Catherine's reputation, but how do they found the dynasty that changes British history - the Tudors?

  • 3 out of 5 stars
  • Great story, poor narrator

  • By jade on 22-03-17

Interesting Premise

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

Reviewed: 04-07-17

Would you try another book written by Tony Riches or narrated by Ian Fisher?

Probably not ... the bare bones of the plot are historical and interesting, but the characterization wasn't entirely psychologically convincing. The characters were rather flat and therefore did not quite engage my emotions.

What could Tony Riches have done to make this a more enjoyable book for you?

The characters needed to be rounder for my taste.

What about Ian Fisher’s performance did you like?

Pleasant to listen to his voice and there was also variety so that it was possible to distinguish the characters.

Did Owen inspire you to do anything?

Might be nice to do some historical reading to get a sense of which plot points are historical and which are conjecture,

Any additional comments?

If you are interested in learning about the beginnings of the Tudor dynasty, this novel gives a sense of what might have happened.

  • Sword Song

  • The Last Kingdom Series, Book 4
  • By: Bernard Cornwell
  • Narrated by: Jonathan Keeble
  • Length: 12 hrs and 12 mins
  • Unabridged
  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars 725
  • Performance
    5 out of 5 stars 659
  • Story
    5 out of 5 stars 660

The fourth in the best-selling Alfred series from number-one historical novelist, Bernard Cornwell. The year is 885, and England is at peace, divided between the Danish kingdom to the north and Alfred's kingdom of Wessex in the south. But trouble stirs, a dead man has risen and new Vikings have arrived to occupy London. It is a dangerous time, and it falls to Uhtred, half Saxon, half Dane, a man feared and respected the length and breadth of Britain, to expel the Viking raiders and take control of London for Alfred.

  • 5 out of 5 stars
  • Another excellent story in the series

  • By Jane on 26-09-18

Entertaining fictional history

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

Reviewed: 29-06-17

Would you recommend this audiobook to a friend? If so, why?

Yes, I would recommend this book to readers who are interested in listening to a fictional tale in a historical context.

What did you like best about this story?

I like that this period of English history has been under-represented in fictional accounts. Nice to hear something a little different.

What about Jonathan Keeble’s performance did you like?

Nice that the various dialects are reflected in the reading. Better than if the whole book had been read in RP.

Was this a book you wanted to listen to all in one sitting?

One sitting is a bit extreme, but it was nice to listen to it in big chunks so that the details of the plot didn't disappear because I forgot what happened.

Any additional comments?

Historical fictional is often targeted at men or women. This series is probably targeted a little more towards men, because it dwells on battles and strategy more than on romantic relationships. There is romance, though, but it seems like a deliberate choice that it doesn't wallow in it. So the effect is that it is a nice shift from the female point of view, which is common in many books of historical fiction.

  • The Last Summer

  • By: Judith Kinghorn
  • Narrated by: Jane Wymark
  • Length: 13 hrs and 28 mins
  • Unabridged
  • Overall
    4 out of 5 stars 244
  • Performance
    4 out of 5 stars 136
  • Story
    4 out of 5 stars 132

A sweeping debut, perfect for reading groups and fans of Kate Morton and Downton Abbey - a beautiful and haunting story of lost innocence and a powerful, enduring love.Clarissa is almost seventeen when the spell of her childhood is broken. It is 1914, the beginning of a blissful, golden summer - and the end of an era. Deyning Park is in its heyday, the large country house filled with the laughter and excitement of privileged youth preparing for a weekend party.

  • 5 out of 5 stars
  • The Last Summer, by Judith Kinghorn

  • By Mrs on 10-06-12

Romantic & idyllic

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

Reviewed: 02-08-16

Lovely novel about the time before, during and after Wotld War I. Reads like a fictional version of Vera Brittain's "Testament of Youth". The plot twists and turns in psychologically plausible ways, allowing characters to unfold realistically but with a romantically satisfactory result.

The echoing voice used for letters is however a little annoying but perhaps necessary to signal shift in genre and narrator in an audiobook. Still, it seems like unnecessary use of technology.

The Last Kingdom cover art
  • The Last Kingdom

  • By: Bernard Cornwell
  • Narrated by: Tom Sellwood
  • Length: 12 hrs and 54 mins
  • Unabridged
  • Overall
    4.5 out of 5 stars 58
  • Performance
    5 out of 5 stars 11
  • Story
    5 out of 5 stars 11

Uhtred is an English boy, born into the aristocracy of ninth-century Northumbria. Orphaned at 10, he is captured and adopted by a Dane and taught Viking ways. Yet Uhtred's fate is indissolubly bound up with Alfred, King of Wessex, who rules over the only English Kingdom to survive the Danish assault.

  • 5 out of 5 stars
  • The Last Kingdom (Unabridged)

  • By r40tey on 22-01-06

Humanizes English history

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

Reviewed: 03-04-16

Would recommend this book to anyone interested in English history, but who is not a stickler for absolute historical accuracy. What is nice about historical fiction like this is that fictional, human storylines are woven into real historical events.

This is my second time listening to the book and must say that the experience has been enhanced by having watched the BBC series. The book is perhaps aimed more at male readers with its focus on the fighting men, so it was nice that the BBC series filled out the female characters a little more.

Looking forward to listening to the rest of the series.

  • The Expected One

  • By: Kathleen McGowan
  • Narrated by: Linda Stephens
  • Length: 17 hrs and 54 mins
  • Unabridged
  • Overall
    4 out of 5 stars 37
  • Performance
    4 out of 5 stars 20
  • Story
    4.5 out of 5 stars 20

Two thousand years ago, Mary Magdalene hid a set of scrolls in the French Pyrenees: the Gospel of Mary Magdalene, her version of the life of Jesus and the events of the New Testament. Protected by supernatural forces, these sacred scrolls could be uncovered only by a special seeker, one who fulfills the ancient prophecy of L'Attendu, the Expected One.

  • 4 out of 5 stars
  • Religious conspiracy theory novel

  • By Sollenbum on 18-02-16

Religious conspiracy theory novel

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

Reviewed: 18-02-16

Always interesting to listen to new interpretations of Bible stories. This particular version seems to draw together many ideas that have been floating around for some time and ties them together neatly in a fictionalized world. The long flashbacks to Biblical times stagnated the flow of the modern plot a little but they did present a look into what might have been...

The author's note at the end was an added bonus although it did suggest a level of realism in the novel that is perhaps controversial.

All in all, very entertaining.

2 of 2 people found this review helpful

  • Hothouse Flower

  • By: Lucinda Riley
  • Narrated by: Beth Chalmers
  • Length: 17 hrs and 43 mins
  • Unabridged
  • Overall
    4.5 out of 5 stars 370
  • Performance
    4.5 out of 5 stars 259
  • Story
    4.5 out of 5 stars 260

As a child, Julia Forrester spent many idyllic hours in the hothouse of Wharton Park estate, where her grandfather tended the exotic flowers. So when a family tragedy strikes, Julia returns to the tranquility of Wharton Park and its hothouse. Recently inherited by charismatic Kit Crawford, the estate is undergoing renovation. This leads to the discovery of an old diary, prompting the pair to seek out Julia's grandmother to learn the truth behind a love affair that almost destroyed Wharton Park.

  • 5 out of 5 stars
  • Such variety - real escapism

  • By Karen on 26-02-12

Standard romance novel

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

Reviewed: 03-08-15

It was an OK listen, so I finished it but the plot seemed a little contrived while also being fairly predictable. It tugs at the heart strings but is not poignant,

1 of 1 people found this review helpful