We are currently making improvements to the Audible site. In an effort to enhance the accessibility experience for our customers, we have created a page to more easily navigate the new experience, available at the web address www.audible.co.uk/access.
 >   > 
The Spire Audiobook

The Spire

Regular Price:£11.69
  • Membership Details:
    • First book free with 30-day trial
    • £7.99/month thereafter for your choice of 1 new book each month
    • Cancel easily anytime
    • Exchange books you don't like
    • All selected books are yours to keep, even if you cancel
  • - or -

Publisher's Summary

Dean Jocelin has a vision: that God has chosen him to erect a great spire on his cathedral. His mason anxiously advises against it, for the old cathedral was built without foundations. Nevertheless, the spire rises octagon upon octagon, pinnacle by pinnacle, until the stone pillars shriek and the ground beneath it swims. Its shadow falls ever darker on the world below, and on Dean Jocelin in particular.

From the author of Lord of the Flies, The Spire is a dark and powerful portrait of one man's will, and the folly that he creates.

©1964 William Golding (P)2014 Canongate Books in partnership with Faber & Faber Ltd

What Members Say

Average Customer Rating

3.8 (165 )
5 star
 (53)
4 star
 (54)
3 star
 (38)
2 star
 (14)
1 star
 (6)
Overall
3.7 (153 )
5 star
 (44)
4 star
 (46)
3 star
 (37)
2 star
 (18)
1 star
 (8)
Story
4.5 (150 )
5 star
 (105)
4 star
 (29)
3 star
 (10)
2 star
 (5)
1 star
 (1)
Performance
Sort by:
  •  
    Morganrandg Shrewsbury, Shropshire United Kingdom 11/03/2015
    Morganrandg Shrewsbury, Shropshire United Kingdom 11/03/2015
    HELPFUL VOTES
    7
    ratings
    REVIEWS
    16
    9
    FOLLOWERS
    FOLLOWING
    0
    0
    Overall
    Performance
    Story
    "Wonderful narration lifted the whole work."

    I found the story rather hard to read in book format but with Benedict Cumberbatch's narration it was a joy to listen. I have listened to the whole book several times already and each time my image of the building grows in detail and stature.
    I would listen to Mr Cumberbatch read anything.

    4 of 4 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Earnest 27/01/2015
    Earnest 27/01/2015
    HELPFUL VOTES
    39
    ratings
    REVIEWS
    57
    39
    FOLLOWERS
    FOLLOWING
    1
    0
    Overall
    Performance
    Story
    "Scintillating, metaphysical scream."

    Most surprising revelation to listen to this when many years ago "Lord of the Flies " had been a compulsory, unpleasant, school based read. Age and experience has made this new experience of Golding such an intellectual, visceral surprise.
    The whole gamut of human, very specifically competitive, male and religious life are fore grounded with such potent imagery that it literally takes your breath away.
    The narrator is outstanding.

    9 of 10 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Christine 02/12/2015
    Christine 02/12/2015 Member Since 2017
    HELPFUL VOTES
    87
    ratings
    REVIEWS
    384
    74
    FOLLOWERS
    FOLLOWING
    0
    0
    Overall
    Performance
    Story
    "A dissenting view"

    This is an amazing story, but I struggled with Benedict Cumberbatch's performance (controversial I know)! When he is narrating, it is outstanding, but during dialogues I struggled to know who was talking (especially between Jocelyn and Roger). I'm not sure why, but possibly because all the characters had the same voices, and the sudden mood changes of all the speakers (not just Jocelyn, in which it was understandable) kept tricking me into thinking the next person was speaking? I don't know, but I am sure the hordes of Cumberbatch fans will get very irate with me!

    3 of 3 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Brenda TROWBRIDGE, United Kingdom 30/10/2014
    Brenda TROWBRIDGE, United Kingdom 30/10/2014 Member Since 2013
    HELPFUL VOTES
    12
    ratings
    REVIEWS
    32
    13
    FOLLOWERS
    FOLLOWING
    0
    0
    Overall
    Performance
    Story
    "Fab story great narration"
    Would you consider the audio edition of The Spire to be better than the print version?

    I've never read the printed version but hearing Benedict Cumberbatch reading it makes the book come alive!


    What was one of the most memorable moments of The Spire?

    The very sad ending


    What does Benedict Cumberbatch bring to the story that you wouldn’t experience if you had only read the book?

    Only Benedict Cumberbatch could give you the amazing voices, excellent narration that enhances the already brilliant writing of William Golding.


    Did you have an emotional reaction to this book? Did it make you laugh or cry?

    A bit of both!


    7 of 9 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Anony Mouse 26/07/2015
    Anony Mouse 26/07/2015
    HELPFUL VOTES
    5
    ratings
    REVIEWS
    11
    3
    FOLLOWERS
    FOLLOWING
    0
    0
    Overall
    Performance
    Story
    "Fascinating insight, nicely read"

    A fascinating book - after reading this I'll never look at a medieval cathedral in the same way again! Gripping and with enough period detail to be very engaging.

    Cumberbatch reads clearly, with style and character.

    The story had a slightly frustrating end but apart from that I thought the book was great.

    5 of 7 people found this review helpful
  •  
    MS RUTH SHAW sheffield uk 26/03/2017
    MS RUTH SHAW sheffield uk 26/03/2017 Member Since 2013
    HELPFUL VOTES
    29
    ratings
    REVIEWS
    85
    20
    FOLLOWERS
    FOLLOWING
    2
    0
    Overall
    Performance
    Story
    "Better than I recollected"

    Read this when I was 16 and something about it stuck in my mind.At 54 as a nine years sober alcohic it has greater meaning...the obsession..the self will run riot...it is brilliant.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Alexandra Moran 02/01/2017
    HELPFUL VOTES
    1
    ratings
    REVIEWS
    9
    7
    FOLLOWERS
    FOLLOWING
    0
    0
    Overall
    Performance
    Story
    "Loved the narrator but sometimes difficult to follow"

    Really liked this audio book but did find it difficult to follow at times. Due to the style of the writing it was sometimes hard to know what was happening. Took me two goes to get into it.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Mintsauce UK 05/12/2016
    Mintsauce UK 05/12/2016 Member Since 2015
    ratings
    REVIEWS
    9
    5
    Overall
    Performance
    Story
    "Outstanding performance, beautiful book"

    A beautifully written book, that I suspect I may not have engaged quite so fully with, were it not for Benedict Cumberbatch's peerless performance.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Luke H. 17/11/2016
    Luke H. 17/11/2016 Member Since 2016
    HELPFUL VOTES
    1
    ratings
    REVIEWS
    3
    2
    FOLLOWERS
    FOLLOWING
    0
    0
    Overall
    Performance
    Story
    "Brilliantly read"

    The story was excellent.
    My only gripe was sometimes the audio levels dipped rather low when Benedict whispered. Too low to hear. Perhaps the master track could have used some audio compression to compensate.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Amanda 03/08/2016
    Amanda 03/08/2016
    HELPFUL VOTES
    1
    ratings
    REVIEWS
    7
    4
    FOLLOWERS
    FOLLOWING
    0
    0
    Overall
    Performance
    Story
    "a tale of religion, masonry and madness"
    What did you like most about The Spire?

    Benedict's narration. I admit, I got this book purely because he was narrating it (also, it was on sale), and he did not disappoint. He made each character different in voice and personality, and his portrayal of Jocelin's mania/religious fervour, was perfect.


    How would you have changed the story to make it more enjoyable?

    I would have edited some of the descriptive language, and character interactions, to make them less repetitive. I would have cut quite a bit from the end sections of the book too.


    What does Benedict Cumberbatch bring to the story that you wouldn’t experience if you had only read the book?

    Benedict is what made this book listenable / readable. I think that the language of the book would not be easy to concentrate on or absorb in print form. There's a lot of description of small details, and a *lot* of repitition (by the middle I was getting irritated with the very similar arguments between characters), but with Benedict's reading, I absorbed a lot more of the book that I would have paid attention to in print form. I still found myself drifting in concentration though, at some of the more descriptive passages.


    Did you have an emotional reaction to this book? Did it make you laugh or cry?

    I laughed at one point, at the sheer absurdity of Jocelin's insanity. Other than that, no. Other people have found the end moving; I thought it dragged, and was a bit of an anti-climax.


    Any additional comments?

    I haven't listened or read any of William Golding's books before, but I am interested in listening to more. I don't know if I'll listen to this one again, but I might do so as I think I might get more from it on a second listening.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
Sort by:
  • Leena
    15/11/14
    Overall
    Performance
    Story
    "Power through for a deep exam. of a man's psyche"
    Where does The Spire rank among all the audiobooks you’ve listened to so far?

    This is a complicated book. I'm not sure it lends itself all that well to an audio version. But I'm still new to audio books, and find I like them best when I can be a tad bit distracted when listening to them. This is a not a book to digest while being distracted. It requires full attention.


    What did you like best about this story?

    I enjoyed the many levels this story exists on. It is a story, told from one (increasingly crazy) man about his desires, actions, and motivations.


    What about Benedict Cumberbatch’s performance did you like?

    I read this book as I listened, so I noticed he occasionally took small liberties. Jocelyn spoke with more contractions! So if you are a purist, know that. But the voices he infused the characters with were fantastic.


    11 of 12 people found this review helpful
  • Kaui
    Bay Area, CA
    27/06/15
    Overall
    Performance
    Story
    "A relentless exploration of vanity"
    Would you recommend this audiobook to a friend? If so, why?

    I am unsure if I would recommend this audiobook. This book might be better consumed ocularly via Kindle or (gasp) old-fashioned book. The story is predictable and I found the characters somewhat unremarkable - surprising for Mr. Golding. However, the writing was superb as usual. I think reading it would allow more appreciation of the language without relying upon attention-grabbing characters. That being said, Mr. Cumberbatch does a FANTASTIC job of narrating. I loved his voices, and his voice in general.


    4 of 4 people found this review helpful
  • Marie Kemp
    30/01/16
    Overall
    Performance
    Story
    "Self torture"
    This book wasn’t for you, but who do you think might enjoy it more?

    Anyone who wants to punish themselves.


    Would you ever listen to anything by William Golding again?

    Yes...I would listen to Lore of the Flies as I have read that .


    What does Benedict Cumberbatch bring to the story that you wouldn’t experience if you just read the book?

    I would not have been able to endure this had he not performed...and this was a great performance.


    What character would you cut from The Spire?

    The main one.


    7 of 8 people found this review helpful
  • Kate Hoole
    29/03/15
    Overall
    Performance
    Story
    "Twisty and dark"

    Twisty and dark story with a building sense of doom. Wonderfully read by Benedict Cumberbatch, who employs a wide range of voices and creates the dean's character brilliantly.

    2 of 2 people found this review helpful
  • Barbara A Dignan
    Highlands Ranch, CO, US
    17/05/15
    Overall
    Performance
    Story
    "The Spire Inspires"

    Captivating story. The writing was exquisite-- practically poetry. Cumberbatch used his talents of creating accents to the fullest. Fabulous book!

    1 of 1 people found this review helpful
  • Jenna
    18/07/17
    Overall
    Performance
    Story
    "incredible performance, exceptional prose"

    not sure I would have enjoyed this quote so much if not for the enthusiastic, expressive, invested performance of the narrator.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  • cori
    west valley city, UT, United States
    15/07/17
    Overall
    Performance
    Story
    "Cumberbatch. Cumberbatch. Cumberbatch"

    May he take this up full time. I enjoyed this story on its own but the narration raised it quite a bit as well

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  • M.Lee Fox
    24/05/17
    Overall
    Performance
    Story
    "So so so so sooooo confusing."

    I'll be honest. I'm not a philosophical person. I don't enjoy super deep thinking or huge amounts of reading between the lines. This book felt like it was 80% reading between the lines with the constant psychological and philosophical interpretations of the actions and scenes around the main character. Which means, I was utterly lost on what was happening like 70% of the time.
    I love Mr Cumberbatch, with his grand scale of varying voices, but at times, the characters were so wildly voiced due to the interpretation of their emotions, that I had no idea who was speaking and who said what.
    I will only mention this book to others whom might enjoy the challenge of a severely confusing read.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  • Greg Johnson
    31/05/16
    Overall
    Performance
    Story
    "Great Reading!"

    Not my favorite story ever buy great reading by Sherlock Holmes! recommend based on narration.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  • Cigdem
    01/05/16
    Overall
    Performance
    Story
    "Powerful narrator meets powerful literature"

    Fantastic narrating from Cumberbatch, plus splendid literature from Golding. It is so immersive and such a music to my ears - it was truely striking

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful

Report Inappropriate Content

If you find this review inappropriate and think it should be removed from our site, let us know. This report will be reviewed by Audible and we will take appropriate action.

Cancel

Thank you.

Your report has been received. It will be reviewed by Audible and we will take appropriate action.