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The American Boy Audiobook

The American Boy

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Publisher's Summary

A Richard and Judy Book Club Selection.

England, 1819. Two enigmatic Americans arrive in London and soon after, a bank collapses. A man is found dead on a building site; another goes missing in the teeming stews of Seven Dials. A deathbed vigil ends in an act of theft and a beautiful heiress flirts with her inferiors. A strange destiny links each of these events to the American boy Edgar Allen Poe, brought to England by his foster father and sent to the leafy village of Stoke Newington to be educated. Soon the intrigue enmeshes a poor schoolmaster, Thomas Shield, who struggles to understand what is happening before it destroys him and those he loves.

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©2003 Andrew Taylor; (P)2014 Audible, Inc.

What the Critics Say

A Richard and Judy Book Club selection.

"Jennings reads with such enormous variety that we are consumed by his characterizations....The listener becomes completely absorbed with the persona of the novel." (AudioFile)

What Members Say

Average Customer Rating

4.1 (136 )
5 star
 (56)
4 star
 (51)
3 star
 (23)
2 star
 (4)
1 star
 (2)
Overall
4.2 (74 )
5 star
 (30)
4 star
 (31)
3 star
 (9)
2 star
 (3)
1 star
 (1)
Story
4.5 (75 )
5 star
 (44)
4 star
 (26)
3 star
 (4)
2 star
 (1)
1 star
 (0)
Performance
Sort by:
  •  
    The Fool Where in the world am I? 23/04/2006
    The Fool Where in the world am I? 23/04/2006 Member Since 2006

    Me

    HELPFUL VOTES
    28
    ratings
    REVIEWS
    8
    5
    FOLLOWERS
    FOLLOWING
    0
    0
    Overall
    "An absolute must"

    An exceptional book and recording. The reader is the best I have heard - and I'm a keen Audible fan! - and the plot very well constructed. What's the audio equivilent of 'un-put-downable'? This would be a great gift to someone not too sure if they wanted to go the audible route. It displays, so well, what a blast a well read audio book can be. So, I guess you can see I liked it!!

    21 of 22 people found this review helpful
  •  
    blueskythinker 07/08/2008
    blueskythinker 07/08/2008 Listener Since 2006
    HELPFUL VOTES
    59
    ratings
    REVIEWS
    77
    13
    FOLLOWERS
    FOLLOWING
    0
    1
    Overall
    "Excellent!!"

    This is a thoroughly enjoyable listen. The narrator does a great job and keeps the listener engrossed.
    The plot weaves its way with many twists and turns. Although Edgar Allen Poe is a relatively minor character in the story, I have been inspired to find out more about his life as a result of listening to this.
    This is a highly recommended book. It successfully combines a gripping crime story with a fascinating historical perspective.

    5 of 5 people found this review helpful
  •  
    CHRISTINA Ramsey, Isle of Man 15/05/2011
    CHRISTINA Ramsey, Isle of Man 15/05/2011 Member Since 2017
    HELPFUL VOTES
    31
    ratings
    REVIEWS
    381
    12
    FOLLOWERS
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    1
    0
    Overall
    "modern wilkie collins"

    This is a thoroughly enjoyable book,very well narrated,which immediately reminded me of Wilkie Collins.There are bank collapses,women constrained by the expectations of a rigid society,harsh schools,murder,speculative house building and much more. We even get to meet the young Edgar Alan Poe.Unlike with Wilkie Collins,the characters in this book are allowed 'normal' feelings and fantasies and the book has clearly got a modern author,but the breadth and colour of the plot owes a lot to the past but it is no pastiche.

    2 of 2 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Iain Ilkley, United Kingdom 11/02/2011
    Iain Ilkley, United Kingdom 11/02/2011 Member Since 2007
    HELPFUL VOTES
    28
    ratings
    REVIEWS
    50
    11
    FOLLOWERS
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    1
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    Overall
    "Wilkie Collins is not dead..."

    ... but back here in the modern form of Andrew Taylor. It was a compelling mystery that I'd recommend to any fans for Conan-Doyole or Collins - not to mention Poe of course!

    2 of 2 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Alison Burnham-on-Sea, United Kingdom 10/08/2012
    Alison Burnham-on-Sea, United Kingdom 10/08/2012 Member Since 2017
    HELPFUL VOTES
    223
    ratings
    REVIEWS
    126
    101
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    39
    0
    Overall
    "Such a compelling book"

    This is a perfect mix of 'Dickensian' narrative and rattling yarn. The story is woven through with real details and yet of course, it's highly florid fiction! Perfection is reached by combining this clever and complicated story with the narration, which is really excellent. I was very sorry to reach the end.

    1 of 1 people found this review helpful
  •  
    JANET CHESTER LE STREET, United Kingdom 09/10/2011
    JANET CHESTER LE STREET, United Kingdom 09/10/2011 Member Since 2017
    HELPFUL VOTES
    35
    ratings
    REVIEWS
    13
    13
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    1
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    Overall
    "Good sense of Victorian England"

    Good sense of the period. I liked the narrator and cared about his fate. It lacked tension at times and, to be frank, rather than finding the ending satisfying, I was glad when I got through it. It felt rather long.

    1 of 1 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Sydney London, United Kingdom 15/11/2009
    Sydney London, United Kingdom 15/11/2009 Member Since 2007
    HELPFUL VOTES
    88
    ratings
    REVIEWS
    49
    32
    FOLLOWERS
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    3
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    Overall
    "Good book, great reading"

    This is a decent Victorian thriller/mystery with an excellent sense of period and a nice twist, but what sets it apart is the really exceptional narrator. Taylor uses a spectacular range of voices and accents to milk the text for all its worth. Terrific listen.

    1 of 1 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Brian Richmond, Surrey, United Kingdom 06/09/2009
    Brian Richmond, Surrey, United Kingdom 06/09/2009
    HELPFUL VOTES
    20
    ratings
    REVIEWS
    112
    3
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    0
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    Overall
    "A Tour de force"

    what a wonderful experience this book is.
    The author combines an intriguing mystery with a sure footed attention to period detail that is simply exquisite.
    Although the setting is the early 19th century the subject matter
    (a banking scandal)is coincidentally remarkably contemporary.
    The characters are fully fleshed out and entirely believable.
    The writing style is reminiscent of Dickens - and I can think of no higher compliment for a book of this type.
    Alex Jennings, the reader, with his superb characterisation
    and delivery completes what is a a hugely pleasurable experience.


    1 of 1 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Amazon Customer 23/07/2017 Member Since 2016
    ratings
    REVIEWS
    5
    3
    Overall
    Performance
    Story
    "The American boy"

    This book has a great story-line and was beautifully read by Alex Jennings I have recommended it to friends

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  •  
    R. J. Gladden Liverpool, UK 13/01/2017
    R. J. Gladden Liverpool, UK 13/01/2017 Member Since 2012

    An avid Audible listener for the past two years, it fits in superbly with my busy lifestyle. Love crime and historical novels most.

    HELPFUL VOTES
    132
    ratings
    REVIEWS
    69
    66
    FOLLOWERS
    FOLLOWING
    10
    0
    Overall
    Performance
    Story
    "The jury's out...."

    This book took an age to listen to and I'm still not sure it was worth it in the end. The plot was confusing as was the huge range of characters. I kept having the overwhelming urge to grab the main character and shake him til his teeth rattled, he seemed so utterly spineless and accepting of his lot throughout so much of the novel. The performance by Alex Jenkins lifted the experience but I can't help but think that the whole book could have been condensed in half the time.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
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  • Jayne
    st charles, IL, USA
    06/09/08
    Overall
    "Engrossing,historical mystery"

    I thoroughly enjoyed this book. The writing is incredibly vivid and totally enthralling. It is a mystery, with many threads. It is not fast paced, but clues and details are gradually revealed until finally it all comes together at the end.
    Much of the pleasure of the listen comes from the historical backdrop for the story. I love the details of life in the early 19th century. The author draws a fabulous picture of society, the social conventions, the dress and acceptable etiquette observed by the affluent through to the extreme poverty, filth and violence endured by the poor. Life in a boys school and the acceptability of thrashing and the apparent inevitability of bullying are also fascinating to hear about.
    The narrator is quite wonderful too. He does a great job with portraying the various English, American and Irish accents of the characters and he really added to my enjoyment of the book.
    I have to admit that the involvement of the schoolmaster throughout the story is at at times a little contrived but this did not detract from my enjoyment. The child Edgar Allen Poe does appear throughout the story and although he is integral to the tale, any child would have served to play the part just as well. So don't read this just because you are a fan of Poe, that may result in disappointment.
    All in all a rich and vivid picture of early 19th century London, with a cleverly woven mystery to keep you guessing.

    4 of 4 people found this review helpful
  • Vivian
    Bastrop, TX, United States
    12/07/05
    Overall
    "Repeat of"

    Not word for word at first but the same plot and people. And finally the same words. So if you have bought "An Unpardonable Crime" dont get this.

    12 of 19 people found this review helpful

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