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  • Lethal White

  • Cormoran Strike, Book 4
  • By: Robert Galbraith
  • Narrated by: Robert Glenister
  • Length: 22 hrs and 30 mins
  • Unabridged
  • Overall
    4.5 out of 5 stars 4,427
  • Performance
    5 out of 5 stars 4,134
  • Story
    4.5 out of 5 stars 4,110

When Billy, a troubled young man, comes to private eye Cormoran Strike's office to ask for his help investigating a crime he thinks he witnessed as a child, Strike is left deeply unsettled. While Billy is obviously mentally distressed and cannot remember many concrete details, there is something sincere about him and his story. But before Strike can question him further, Billy bolts from his office in a panic. 

  • 5 out of 5 stars
  • The most epic Galbraith/Rowling novel yet

  • By Mikey on 19-09-18

Cormoran and Robin do the dance again.

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

Reviewed: 15-10-18

I liked the story and the characters we meet, and I like the two detectives, but how long can this 'meant to be together' thing go on? It works, of course, but in my opinion it is starting to feel just a bit tired. Time to move things on?

Still, a good listen on a long job.

  • Blood Meridian

  • Or the Evening Redness in the West
  • By: Cormac McCarthy
  • Narrated by: Richard Poe
  • Length: 13 hrs and 6 mins
  • Unabridged
  • Overall
    4 out of 5 stars 477
  • Performance
    4.5 out of 5 stars 369
  • Story
    4 out of 5 stars 367

Author of the National Book Award-winning All the Pretty Horses, Cormac McCarthy is one of the most provocative American stylists to emerge in the last century. The striking novel Blood Meridian offers an unflinching narrative of the brutality that accompanied the push west on the 1850s Texas frontier.

  • 5 out of 5 stars
  • Visionary, violent, yet redemptive. A masterpiece.

  • By Peter Kettle on 07-04-13

Savage, brutal and beautiful

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

Reviewed: 15-08-18

This is a hard book to understand and it will no doubt mean different things to everyone who reads it. But it seems to me that it is like showing America the violent underbelly of its own history in a mirror. It is certainly not for the squeamish but the book has untold beauty nonetheless.

There is no internal world to explain how people feel, no mourning for the dead nor any moral outrage in the characters or the narrative, just the brutal, almost unimaginably bloody truth of the Glanton gang's scalp-hunting trip in Mexico in the 1840's.(1846/7)?

Overlaid on this deadly history is the Judge, surely the best devil I've ever read, and possibly one the greatest fictional characters I've ever read too. He towers over the book, pronouncing on the art of the ultimate game, war. He says, 'War was here before man came and will be here long after he is gone.' (paraphrased) And when I think of the slaughter of the natives, the Texan war of independence, the American Civil War, the mass graves still being dug for the victims of the drug wars, I can't say I feel able to disagree.

I have listened twice and read this in print and I don't understand it all by any means. It is a book that asks questions rather than answers them but it is a favorite precisely because of its enduring enigma. I will never forget the Judge, the kid, Glanton and the rest. And I will never forget the savage electric beauty of McCarthy's desert. The Attack on Captain White's mercenaries takes my breath for its imaginative power and fine writing. For me this is a work of genius.

  • Viriconium

  • By: M. John Harrison
  • Narrated by: Simon Vance
  • Length: 19 hrs and 48 mins
  • Unabridged
  • Overall
    4 out of 5 stars 44
  • Performance
    4.5 out of 5 stars 34
  • Story
    4 out of 5 stars 34

Available to American readers for the first time, this landmark collection gathers four groundbreaking fantasy classics from the acclaimed author of Light. Set in the imagined city of Viriconium, here are the masterworks that revolutionized a genre and enthralled a generation of readers: The Pastel City, A Storm of Wings, In Viriconium, and Viriconium Nights. Back in print after a long absence, these singular tales of a timeless realm and its enigmatic inhabitants are now reborn and compiled to captivate a whole new generation.

  • 5 out of 5 stars
  • Great writing. Strange and affecting stories.

  • By John on 05-02-18

Great writing. Strange and affecting stories.

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

Reviewed: 05-02-18

I came here after reading 'Climbers'. I loved that book so much. Not because I climb a bit, but because the gritty landscape writing and wonderful character portraits and the sense of loss and confusion stark honesty and humanity had me re-reading it quite soon after I finished. 'Climbers' is a wonderful book that gives more, the more you dig.

A pity, I then thought, that this guy, Harrison, turns out to be mostly a science fiction writer. Not usually my thing. But such was my appetite for more that I took this collection of three novels to a month-long job down south.

There are three quite different novels here and yet the same sense of thoughtful confusion suffuses the unlikely heroes and strange enemies of the 'afternoon cultures'. Nothing is certain. The flawed heroes, the dwarf, the last space pilot, the insect aliens and everything else that is in here comes from a kind of polluted fog of deep time. The writing is great and from the confusion comes a rather touching and yet indefinable coherence.

Its not 'Climbers', but it is really good.

2 of 2 people found this review helpful

  • The Good People

  • By: Hannah Kent
  • Narrated by: Caroline Lennon
  • Length: 13 hrs and 36 mins
  • Unabridged
  • Overall
    4.5 out of 5 stars 147
  • Performance
    4.5 out of 5 stars 138
  • Story
    4 out of 5 stars 137

County Kerry, Ireland, 1825. Nóra, bereft after the sudden death of her beloved husband, finds herself alone and caring for her young grandson Micheál. Micheál cannot speak and cannot walk, and Nóra is desperate to know what is wrong with him. What happened to the healthy, happy grandson she met when her daughter was still alive? Mary arrives in the valley to help Nóra just as the whispers are spreading: the stories of unexplained misfortunes, of illnesses, and the rumours that Micheál is a changeling child who is bringing bad luck to the valley.

  • 5 out of 5 stars
  • Fabulous writing. Fairies, fokelore & superstition

  • By bookylady on 04-05-17

A fascinating glimpse back in time.

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

Reviewed: 21-04-17

I stayed for a few months in the west of Ireland in the 1980's and even then heard echoes of these kind of beliefs. Particularly I remember a standing stone left in place fifty foot in the air on its cone of untouched earth as the quarry men who had taken everything around it away, 'would not want to disturb the 'good people.'' Whatever they actually believed it was strong enough not to move the stone.

One hundred and fifty or so years earlier some people in the west of Ireland must have believed all manner of superstitions, and in this story superstition looms very large indeed and pretty soon things get out of hand. Hannah Kent has beautifully drawn the women here in an engaging but increasingly tragic affair.

After reading Burial Rites I was dreading her second novel in case it was not so good but I think she has cleverly brought this claustrophobic story alive with subtlety, sympathy and deep understanding.

In my view it is almost as excellent as Burial Rites.


4 of 4 people found this review helpful

  • Under a Pole Star

  • By: Stef Penney
  • Narrated by: Cathleen McCarron, Thomas Judd
  • Length: 20 hrs and 8 mins
  • Unabridged
  • Overall
    4 out of 5 stars 77
  • Performance
    4.5 out of 5 stars 72
  • Story
    4 out of 5 stars 74

Follow the path to the freezing north. Follow your ambition. Follow your heart. Flora Mackie first crossed the Arctic Circle at the age of 12. Years later, in 1892, determination and chance lead her back to northern Greenland as a scientist at the head of a British expedition, defying the expectations of those who believe a woman has no place in that harsh world. Geologist Jakob de Beyn was raised in Manhattan. Yearning for wider horizons, he joins a rival expedition.

  • 3 out of 5 stars
  • Too long winded

  • By fieldfare on 15-10-17

Another memorable story.

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

Reviewed: 25-11-16

After 'The Tenderness of Wolves' and 'The Invisible Ones' Steff Penny has won my trust as a storyteller. I would read anything she writes and there is lots to admire about exploration and hardship and the native Greenlanders but I was not gripped at the start.The story develops into a love story stretching from London and New York to the Arctic. It is written with a subtle intensity and completeness that includes some very graphic descriptions of intimacy. The power of these scenes and how they contrast with the society of the time is undeniable and is realised in the very satisfying final chapters when some of the tension is built on our knowledge of them. My favorite of Ms Penny's novels remains 'The Invisible Ones' but here is another excellent book full of interesting and well drawn people. It is almost a week since i finished it and I still think of the final scenes.

2 of 3 people found this review helpful

  • Divided Souls

  • Kingmaker, Book 3
  • By: Toby Clements
  • Narrated by: Jack Hawkins
  • Length: 12 hrs and 28 mins
  • Unabridged
  • Overall
    4.5 out of 5 stars 482
  • Performance
    5 out of 5 stars 452
  • Story
    4.5 out of 5 stars 449

Lent, 1469. The recent wars between the House of York and the House of Lancaster seem over. The Yorkist King Edward sits on his throne in Westminster while the Lancastrian claimants are in exile or under lock and key in the Tower. But within the family of York, there is discord. The Earl of Warwick conspires against his king, and while to one another's faces they are all smiles, their household men speak in lies and whispers. No man comes to court unarmed.

  • 5 out of 5 stars
  • FANTASTIC STORY LINE HOPE TO READ MORE IN THE NEAR

  • By thanks on 04-11-16

Something less than the first two.

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

Reviewed: 15-10-16

The first two were entertaining, but this time I could not quite suspend my critical faculties. Firstly, I'm afraid to say, I did not believe in the 'the Ledger's' significance, which rather pulled the rug for me. And i got the impression that too many transparent devices were used to get Thomas to the action of the moment and to a showdown with the too vile and disgustingly ugly sadistic villan.

It also seemed too unlikely that our poor folk were hobnobbing around with major figures of the time. Throughout I wasn't convinced with King Edward's character, especially when he is taken into Warwick's power and is to be found in high spirits... instead of being indignant he is trolling happily off hunting with our working class hero as his mascot. In my eyes this made him seem a bit childish. Sorry Toby, good luck, but i'll leave it here.

2 of 4 people found this review helpful

  • Middlemarch

  • By: George Eliot
  • Narrated by: Juliet Stevenson
  • Length: 35 hrs and 38 mins
  • Unabridged
  • Overall
    4.5 out of 5 stars 1,189
  • Performance
    5 out of 5 stars 948
  • Story
    4.5 out of 5 stars 943

Dorothea Brooke is an ardent idealist who represses her vivacity and intelligence for the cold, theological pedant Casaubon. One man understands her true nature: the artist Will Ladislaw. But how can love triumph against her sense of duty and Casaubon’s mean spirit? Meanwhile, in the little world of Middlemarch, the broader world is mirrored: the world of politics, social change, and reforms, as well as betrayal, greed, blackmail, ambition, and disappointment.

  • 5 out of 5 stars
  • All consuming

  • By Caro on 27-04-11

Resistance is, eventually, futile.

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

Reviewed: 15-10-16

Posh society in nineteenth century rural England is not really my thing. Classic stories of reputation, honour and doomed love... Nah. not for me, I thought. But Middlemarch is supposed to be one the greatest novels.

Quite a claim. So when i had some work to do that meant I had some serious listening time ahead of me I begrudgingly thought i would do my duty. At first all was as I expected; an archaic story about stuffy and privileged people who need a kick up the backside... Where are the working people? Where are the servants and tenants?

But in time I put away my modern self and began to understand that the attraction is in characters that are so well drawn you understand them perfectly, and so believable are their actions and yearnings that listening to Middlemarch got steadily less and less tiresome. It became a quiet pleasure, and eventually a whole-hearted and peculiarly innocent JOY.

I may even have cried a little, though this seldom occurs to me and I would not tell anyone i know... ;-)

An absolutely superb reading by Juliet Stevenson too. Top of the class.

9 of 9 people found this review helpful

  • Ravenspur

  • Rise of the Tudors
  • By: Conn Iggulden
  • Narrated by: Roy McMillan
  • Length: 13 hrs and 28 mins
  • Unabridged
  • Overall
    4.5 out of 5 stars 606
  • Performance
    5 out of 5 stars 552
  • Story
    4.5 out of 5 stars 549

Penguin presents the unabridged downloadable audiobook edition of Ravenspur by Conn Iggulden, read by Roy McMillan. The fourth and final novel in Conn Iggulden's epic Wars of the Roses series. The season of vengeance has begun.

  • 5 out of 5 stars
  • Engrossing - the Finale at Bosworth is Superb

  • By Andy on 08-06-16

A fine conclusion to a great series.

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

Reviewed: 14-07-16

Maybe not knowing all that much about the wars of the roses helped, because I was particularly impressed, in 'Ravenspur', with the rising stakes and tension. The battles were excellent, of course, but I would recommend the entire series for a credible and imaginative insight into the motivations of the key players. All of it was handled with the deceptive ease of a really good writer.

I loved this series, which I imagine to be among the genre's very finest. And it was very well read too, so it has been great fun listening.

Cheers.

6 of 7 people found this review helpful

  • The Gustav Sonata

  • By: Rose Tremain
  • Narrated by: Mark Meadows
  • Length: 9 hrs and 3 mins
  • Unabridged
  • Overall
    4 out of 5 stars 505
  • Performance
    4.5 out of 5 stars 461
  • Story
    4 out of 5 stars 464

Gustav Perle grows up in a small town in Switzerland where the horrors of the Second World War seem distant. He adores his mother, but she treats him with bitter severity, disapproving especially of his intense friendship with Anton, the Jewish boy at school. A gifted pianist, Anton is tortured by stage fright; only in secret games with Gustav does his imagination thrive. But Gustav is taught that he must develop a hard shell, 'like a coconut', to protect the softness inside - just like the hard shell perfected by his country to protect its neutrality.

  • 5 out of 5 stars
  • An outstanding tale of love,friendship & betrayal.

  • By bookylady on 30-12-16

This is what fiction is for.

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

Reviewed: 17-06-16

Rose Tremain was never a fast starter and I admit I struggled a little at the start, but as a writer she has earned my trust many times over and of course I stuck with it.

And her slow moving story stealthily grows in scope and reach and in depth. It seems to me that she brings now the skill of a short story writer to her characters, painting the essence of whole lives with deft and spare strokes. It centers around Gustav, but all the folk around him live and breath are with me now long after I have finished the story. This is what fiction is for.

10 of 10 people found this review helpful

  • Wars of the Roses: Bloodline

  • The Wars of the Roses, Book 3
  • By: Conn Iggulden
  • Narrated by: Roy McMillan
  • Length: 12 hrs and 5 mins
  • Unabridged
  • Overall
    4.5 out of 5 stars 610
  • Performance
    4.5 out of 5 stars 570
  • Story
    4.5 out of 5 stars 570

Penguin presents the unabridged, downloadable audiobook edition of Wars of the Roses: Bloodline, the third instalment in Conn Iggulden's thrilling Wars of the Roses trilogy. Winter 1461 - Richard Duke of York is dead, his ambitions in ruins, his head spiked on the walls of York city. King Henry VI is still held prisoner. His Lancastrian queen rides south with an army of northerners, accompanied by warriors from the Scottish Highlands. Margaret and her army seem unstoppable.

  • 4 out of 5 stars
  • Reliably brilliant

  • By Pilgrim on 24-03-16

Great installment.

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

Reviewed: 14-03-16

Thoroughly enjoyable continuation of this fictional history. All that I said about the first two books still applies here. Keep at it Conn.

1 of 1 people found this review helpful