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JD

UK
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  • The Man from St Petersburg

  • By: Ken Follett
  • Narrated by: Richard Armitage
  • Length: 12 hrs and 40 mins
  • Unabridged
  • Overall
    4.5 out of 5 stars 311
  • Performance
    4.5 out of 5 stars 288
  • Story
    4.5 out of 5 stars 288

It is just before the outbreak of World War I, and Britain must enlist the aid of Russia. Czar Nicholas' nephew is to visit London for secret naval talks with Lord Walden, who has lived in Russia and has a Russian wife, Lydia. But there are other people who are interested in the arrival of Prince Alexei: the Waldens' only daughter, Charlotte - wilful, idealistic, and with an awakening social conscience; Basil Thompson, head of the Special Branch; and, above all, Feliks Kschessinky, the ruthless Russian anarchist. 

  • 5 out of 5 stars
  • Great Read! Great Reader!

  • By JD on 23-08-18

Great Read! Great Reader!

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

Reviewed: 23-08-18

This was an enjoyable read. A book set pre WWI is not usually my novel of choice but my lack of familiarity gave me some interesting insights into both historical characters and political situations. I found it a 'page-turner' and it bowled along at a cracking pace, culminating in a great set piece which I could easily envisage because Ken Follett writes well and in exciting detail. My great-great aunt was a suffragette and so I enjoyed meeting Mrs Pankhurst, listening in on her speeches and learning about the maltreatment of the marchers and protestors. KF has us sympathising with all his characters - even the villain - because we see the world through their eyes. A satisfying ending.

The reader, Richard Armitage, was so good that I found myself binge-listening in one weekend. He has a superb voice and does some lovely accents - various cultured upper-class ones, including a youngish Winston Churchill, Cockney, Russian, Irish, Northern. Even his teenage girls sound right. I have a feeling that his reading has made the book seem better than it actually is but I shall give it 5 stars nevertheless because of the enjoyability factor.

Recommended.

12 of 12 people found this review helpful

  • David Copperfield

  • By: Charles Dickens
  • Narrated by: Richard Armitage
  • Length: 36 hrs and 30 mins
  • Unabridged
  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars 625
  • Performance
    5 out of 5 stars 594
  • Story
    4.5 out of 5 stars 587

Between his work on the 2014 Audible Audiobook of the Year, Hamlet, Prince of Denmark: A Novel, and his performance of Classic Love Poems, narrator Richard Armitage ( The Hobbit, Hannibal) has quickly become a listener favorite. Now, in this defining performance of Charles Dickens' classic David Copperfield, Armitage lends his unique voice and interpretation, truly inhabiting each character and bringing real energy to the life of one of Dickens' most famous characters.

  • 5 out of 5 stars
  • Brought me back to Dickens

  • By JD on 21-02-16

Brought me back to Dickens

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

Reviewed: 21-02-16

Would you consider the audio edition of David Copperfield [Audible Studios] to be better than the print version?

Yes. Mr Armitage 'performs' rather than 'reads', so it is like watching the whole book in my mind's eye - he brings all the characters and scenes to startling life.

What other book might you compare David Copperfield [Audible Studios] to, and why?

The only proper comparison would be with another Dickens' book - and I've listened to none of these. However, I shall make a comparison with Mr Armitage's audiobook, 'Hamlet, Prince of Denmark: The Novel' because both have complex story-lines and vividly voiced characters. I would also make a comparison with his reading of Bernard Cornwell's 'Lords of the North' for similar reasons, but, oddly and unlike all his other audiobooks, Audible have not added this to their collection.

Which character – as performed by Richard Armitage – was your favourite?

So many are brilliant, it is difficult to choose: Uriah Heep, Mr Creakle, Rosa Dartle, Mr Micawber, Betsey Trotwood, Mr Peggotty, Steerforth etc. But, one character I had forgotten all about when I read the book years ago is the dwarf lady, Miss Mowcher. He has given her an unexpected Liverpudlian accent and it was an absolute delight to listen to her. On the written page, she made no impact, but, in this audiobook, she is totally memorable.

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

It is far, far too long for one sitting. It took me 10 days, listening to a chunk per day. I think there is so much going on and so many vivid moments to enjoy that, spreading it out like this is the best way to appreciate what both Dickens and Mr Armitage have achieved together.

Any additional comments?

This reading has brought me back to an appreciation of Dickens - his characterisation, his humour, his story-telling and his ability to relate tragic scenes. Chapter 56, which describes a violent storm and the loss of 3 ships at sea, including two of the book's characters, had me sitting there with tears streaming down my face. Charles Dickens and Richard Armitage are a perfect combination. Very well done, both you guys!

20 of 21 people found this review helpful

  • Hamlet, Prince of Denmark: A Novel

  • By: A. J. Hartley, David Hewson
  • Narrated by: Richard Armitage
  • Length: 9 hrs and 40 mins
  • Unabridged
  • Overall
    4.5 out of 5 stars 282
  • Performance
    5 out of 5 stars 266
  • Story
    4.5 out of 5 stars 266

It is a tale of ghosts, of madness, of revenge - of old alliances giving way to new intrigues. Denmark is changing, shaking off its medieval past. War with Norway is on the horizon. And Hamlet - son of the old king, nephew of the new - becomes increasingly entangled in a web of deception - and murder. Beautifully performed by actor Richard Armitage ("Thorin Oakenshield" in the Hobbit films), Hamlet, Prince of Denmark takes Shakespeare’s original into unexpected realms, reinventing a story we thought we knew.

  • 5 out of 5 stars
  • Ten hours well spent

  • By JD on 21-05-14

Ten hours well spent

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

Reviewed: 21-05-14

Where does Hamlet, Prince of Denmark: A Novel rank among all the audiobooks you’ve listened to so far?

It ties for first place with one other. See below.

Who was your favorite character and why?

Claudius: although Shakespeare does not portray him as a complete villain, this Claudius drew my sympathies. Both the authors and Armitage's interpretation reveal him as a decent man, one who has always loved Gertrude and Hamlet, but who has painted himself, through one violent act, into a corner and can only escape through more violence. Armitage gives him a deep, sensuous, authoritative voice - kindly even. The reader has to walk a fine line with his voicing because I felt that you had to understand Claudius and yet side with Hamlet in the end.

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

Richard Armitage is my favourite reader and seems to choose books by my favourite authors. The Georgette Heyer books are great fun and very entertainingly read and voiced. But Bernard Cornwell's Lords of the North is wonderful. This Hamlet book ties with Lords of the North, but sadly it is not available on Audible or anywhere now except ebay since AudioGo went bust. Come on, Audible! Wake up to this man's talent and buy the rights to this version!

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

Love and politics - a murderous combination.

Any additional comments?

I was very impressed by how close the authors kept to the original play, making many nods to Shakespeare's language and text, yet at the same time filled the gaps with imaginative and gripping scenarios....Like the pirates. Pirates! What pirates? Yes, an episode only lightly touched on by Shakespeare, but it's there, LOL! And the authors not only develop some exciting moments out of it but weave it into the following action of the book. Loved the pirate captain!But, without the reader and his wonderful interpretations where every single voice is a different one, this audiobook would be a lesser thing than it has turned out to be,

12 of 12 people found this review helpful