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Elephant Moon

Narrated by: Helen Johns
Length: 10 hrs and 18 mins
4 out of 5 stars (352 ratings)
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Summary

As the Second World War rages, the Japanese Imperial Army enters Burma, and the British rulers prepare to flee.

But the human legacy of the British Empire will be left behind in the shape of 62 Anglo-Burmese children, born to local women after affairs with foreign men.

Half castes, they are not acknowledged by either side, and they are to be abandoned with no one to protect them. Their teacher, Grace Collins, a young Englishwoman, refuses to join the European evacuation and instead sets out to deliver the orphans to the safety of India. She faces impossible odds because between her and India lie 1,000 miles of jungle, mountains, rivers, and the constant, unseen threat of the Japanese.

With Japanese soldiers chasing them down, the group's chances of survival shrink - until they come across a herd of 53 elephants who, with their awesome strength and kindness, quickly become the orphans' only hope of survival.

Based on a true story, Elephant Moon is an unforgettable epic tale of courage and compassion in the midst of brutality and destruction.

John Sweeney is a reporter for BBC Panorama. He has won many journalism awards and is the author of five previous books. Elephant Moon is his first novel.

©2012 John Sweeney (P)2015 Audible, Ltd

Critic reviews

"A deftly realised on-the-road novel alive with the horrors of war." (Yorkshire Evening Post)
"If you were to relocate Michael Morpurgo's War Horse to Burma in the Second World War, with elephants taking the sentimental role from the horses, you might end up with something like Elephant Moon by John Sweeney. It is a tender and loving tribute to 'Nature's great masterpiece.... The only harmless great thing', as John Donne described the elephant, as well as an insight into one of the forgotten battlegrounds of the war." (Literary Review)

What members say

Average customer ratings

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

Heartwarming

Where does Elephant Moon rank among all the audiobooks you’ve listened to so far?

This story was compelling, exciting and heartwarming all at the same time. A great read and one I will return to more than once.

What other book might you compare Elephant Moon to, and why?

The author gives credit to Elephant Bill (still sitting on our bookshelf from 40 odd years ago) which is the true life account of refugees and elephants and more.

Which character – as performed by Helen Johns – was your favourite?

Mother and little Oomi were my favourites - how could you not love the elephants?

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

When Oomi was caught in the flash flood I just had to read on to discover his fate.

Any additional comments?

Although this is fiction, it is based on fact. The elephants' skill and knowledge is well documented as is their close relationship with their handlers. The story put me through a whole range of emotions - much the same as Grace, the heroine, would have had.

10 of 10 people found this review helpful

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    5 out of 5 stars
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    4 out of 5 stars
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Gripping

This was a very gripping historical fictitious book mainly about a group of half cast Burmese child refuges led by Grace an English young teacher out through Burmer to India with the Japanese at their heals. The war situation and various multicultural cultured character are the sweetest to murderous characters including the importance of the amazing elephants that battle through along side humans through the war torn jungles . It is a must read. There are so many parallels.
Excellent!!

7 of 7 people found this review helpful

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    5 out of 5 stars
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  • Mrs.
  • London, United Kingdom
  • 27-01-16

well written, well read and gripping story

What made the experience of listening to Elephant Moon the most enjoyable?

excellent characterisation, well read, but a very good narrative to work from.

What did you like best about this story?

involving, imaginative. great sense of place and time

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

no

Any additional comments?

recommended by a friend, this was a terrific listen. very good story with scope for vivid sound 'pictures' so very easy to be present in one's imagination with all the characters and places. good pace and mostly well read.

7 of 7 people found this review helpful

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    5 out of 5 stars
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    5 out of 5 stars

Sweeney injects realism into an unbelievable story.

His first novel. I loved every minute. I feel his exposure to all walks of life has empowered him to write the human view so well.
For those interested in the bigger theatre of World War 2 it is a peach of a story.
Thank you

7 of 7 people found this review helpful

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    5 out of 5 stars
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    5 out of 5 stars
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    5 out of 5 stars

Great easy to listen story.

I had just finished John Sweeneys book about Scientology and decided to try this.
Very different type of book.
Easy to listen to story about an English lady escaping kids over the mountains out of Burmah.

12 of 13 people found this review helpful

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    5 out of 5 stars
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    4 out of 5 stars

Enjoyed this book

A good all-round audiobook. The characters are really good, and the whole story flows nicely! Definitely recommend!

5 of 5 people found this review helpful

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    3 out of 5 stars
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    4 out of 5 stars
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    2 out of 5 stars

Averaging average

OK. Just not thrilling. Won't be re-listening. Lost empathy with the school teacher when she fell in love with every bloke she met. I think that really weakened the story and plausibility.

10 of 12 people found this review helpful

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    2 out of 5 stars
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    2 out of 5 stars
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Not for me

Thought this looked an interesting book but afraid that I got no further than the first hour. Sad because the tale seemed to have so much offer.
Hated the narration and just wanted to give the 'heroine' a smack . Too many contradictions , one moment complaining about the school curriculum and in the next paragraph saying home much she loved teaching it. A headmistress devastated by the start of Japanese hostilities who seem to have forgotten the war in Europe.
I may have missed a good book but life is just too short

1 of 1 people found this review helpful

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    4 out of 5 stars
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    3 out of 5 stars
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Elephant Moon

For me this book would have been more enjoyable if I had read it myself, as I found the different voices the narrator used very annoying.

5 of 9 people found this review helpful

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    5 out of 5 stars
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    4 out of 5 stars
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    5 out of 5 stars

Engaging story.

I really enjoyed this story, and can recommend it. It could have gone on for a bit longer, but perhaps that is being saved for another book?