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Lusitania Lost: A Novel

Narrated by: Edison McDaniels
Length: 10 hrs and 44 mins
Categories: Fiction, Historical
4 out of 5 stars (1 rating)

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Summary

If you loved Titanic, you’re going to like Lusitania Lost!

Lusitania Lost: The author of the Conan the Barbarian series turns his novelistic eye to real-life history of World War 1 in a “Titanic meets the Guns of August” spy thriller.

A Lusitania spy thriller: History, romance, action. This is the final voyage of the Lusitania, the world's fastest luxury liner torpedoed by a German U-boat in the first year of the Great War. The story is told above and below decks, in the capitals and battlefields of Europe. We meet world leaders, the swank Broadway party set on shipboard, and the relentless submarine crew who fired the torpedo that launched America into war.

Romance, intrigue and murder: Alma Brady is on the run from a New York mob boss. Desperate to escape Big Jim Hogan and his murderous gang, she joins a group of nurses bound for the Great War in Europe. Their ship is the Lusitania, the most celebrated luxury liner of 1915, with a passenger list of Broadway and continental celebrities headed for certain doom. Aboard the Lusitania she meets Matthew Vane, a war correspondent who wants to find out what secret weapons may be hidden in the Lusitania cargo hold. During the one-week voyage, the characters are drawn into romance, intrigue, and murder, culminating in a disaster whose full harrowing details have never been revealed in history or fiction.

Lusitania horror and hope: Even with the threat of German U-boats and the too-recent Titanic disaster, who can guess that the passengers aboard Lusitania face dangers more horrifying than any on the war-torn battlefields across the Atlantic? Nor does Alma realize how relentlessly her past will pursue her. And the lover she meets is a daredevil reporter intent on probing the Lusitania’s innermost secrets. His quest may lead them both into even greater peril, or give rise...just possibly...to hope.

©2017 mango (P)2018 mango

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Profile Image for Wayne Fannon
  • Wayne Fannon
  • 16-02-19

A fun historical novel

I wanted to listen to this book because I have read a lot about the Titanic over the years, but very little about the Lusitania, or the whole WWI period, for that matter. I'm glad I listened to it. Overall, it was a fun story, and I did learn a good amount about the Lusitania, WWI-era U-boats, how the passenger ship ended up in the middle of a naval war zone, etc.

The plot is a pretty decent one and I always enjoy historical fiction that takes known facts, adds in common theories and educated assumptions, then weaves in a fictional central plot. I'm not sure how plausible the fictional plot is, but that's fine with me. It's entertaining, and I had fun. One unusual thing I'll note is that the author intersperses the main plot with chapters focusing on disparate ground-level views of various real and fictional characters all around the Great War. At some points, this gives background to the naval situation the Lusitania was in, and some of them seem to be just for getting a feel for the war. I thought it was an interesting way to organize the book, and not in a bad way, once I figured out that's what was going on. It may help you ahead of time to know you won't need to remember characters from most of these seemingly-unrelated chapters later on. They just give you a flavor of what's going on in the world at the time.

My only negative about the story is that the author most often uses dialog sequences for exposition and historical background. Sometimes the dialog felt very unnatural or strained to me, and I think it would have been better in those cases to just tell the reader the information directly.

There is one explicit R-rated sex scene midway through the book, so be forewarned if you like to avoid that kind of thing.

The narration in this book was a mixed bag for me. On the plus side, the narrator has a very nice voice. He reads clearly, and I never had to decipher mumbled words or anything like that. I also very much liked his pace of reading. Most audiobooks are a little too slow for my taste, and I end up listening to them somewhere around 1.1x to 1.2x speed. But I listened to this book at normal speed and I seemed just right to me. As usual with narration speed, YMMV, but the Audible player makes it very easy to adjust the playback speed to be as fast or slow as you like it. On the negative side of things, I was very aware of a verbal tic the narrator has where he adds emphasis to the last word of each and every sentence, excluding dialog. It took me a while of listening to get past it. It didn't ruin the book for me or anything, but it was probably one of the more distracting idiosyncrasies I've heard when listening to an audiobook. It seems to give every sentence a sense of urgency which shouldn't really be there, or at least that was my perception. A lot of people probably won't have any problem with this, but some might. I would very strongly advise you to listen to the sample audio on Audible before purchasing. You'll very quickly hear what I'm talking about; the entire book is read this way, so if you are a picky listener (and you already know who you are!), you'll be able to determine whether this is a problem for you. The only other issue I had with the narration is that the accents (British, German, etc) didn't really work. I think he was going for the different accents, but didn't really pull them off. Again, this didn't ruin the story for me or anything; I just want to make a note of it in case that's anybody's pet peeve.

Altogether, this was a fun novel, and I enjoyed listening to it. The historical setting for the story was right up my alley.

Disclaimer: This audiobook was given to me for free at my request and I provided this voluntary review. I have done my best to keep this review completely unbiased.

2 of 2 people found this review helpful

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Profile Image for Myztikal
  • Myztikal
  • 11-05-19

Meek Characters for a Bleak Time in History

A disastrous book unfitting for this disaster in history


Egads. This was the most boring book and made worse by the narrator. Who knew this was possible?
I’ve been on a historical fiction streak. When I came across this, I thought it would gleam some insight or factual information about this time period, since the namesake was synonymous with the pivotal point when the US entered the War.
Instead, the characters and world building were weak, meek, and bleak.
I ‘listened’ to this as background noise. Several times. And not once did I perk up and think “I’m missing something here!”
Listening to the sample was not as grating as trying to really listen to the story narrated. It was impossible.
I don’t know if his ‘German’ accents were reading it or his own interpretation, but it was awful.
Any book he narrates should go back to production.
I regret asking to listen and review this book. And I’m sorry for the overall bad review. For a book of this length, I’m sure the writer spent time on it and the narrator must have, too. I didn’t notice any flaws or noises.

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Profile Image for bookgirl
  • bookgirl
  • 01-05-19

Compelling account of a historical event

We know from the very beginning what will happen to the Lusitania, but instead of spoiling the book, that foreknowledge hangs over all, giving a sense of dread and impending doom as we see various world leaders discuss the war and their strategies for winning it. Meanwhile, on the ship, the passengers are all too aware of the fate of the Titanic only three years earlier, and try a bit too hard to convince themselves that this voyage is completely different, and completely safe. When the torpedo strikes the ship late in the book, the chaos that follows is compellingly described. The author deserves kudos for bringing the maritime disaster vividly to life.

Unfortunately, I found the fictional aspects of the book lacking in comparison. The characters didn't seem to have much depth, and the dual romances were unconvincing, at least to me. I also had a hard time believing that the nurses' seemingly strict chaperone would remain totally oblivious to the fact that two of her charges were shacking up in a stateroom with two of the male passengers. But maybe it's a good thing if we don't grow too emotionally attached to them, as the ending is ambiguous as to their individual fates. We can surmise what happens to several of them, but it isn't spelled out. (On the other hand, readers who prefer to write their own endings may actually like it better this way.)

Of course, part of my problem with the characters may be due to the narrator. Another reviewer remarked on his tendency to emphasize the last word of every sentence. I noticed this, too--and once I heard it, I couldn't hear anything else--but where the other reviewer suggested that this gave each sentence a sense of urgency, for me it had the opposite effect, almost as if the narrator were a TV anchor reading the news from a teleprompter. This would be annoying even at the best of times, but when this technique was applied to the sex scene, the results were rather silly. ("He took off his shirt and threw it over the CHAIR...He palmed her breasts and kissed each rosy TIP...") I made up these sentences, but you get the idea; after a while, it sounded like an oddly erotic weather report.

On the plus side, the narrator was easy to understand; he didn't mumble, and he maintained a steady volume, so I didn't have to keep adjusting the sound to hear him. Also, I could easily tell when different characters were speaking. His German accent, while it probably wouldn't fool a German, didn't bother me; I could tell the characters were supposed to be German, and that, surely, was what counted. It's a pity I can't say the same for his British speakers, which were the worst attempts at British accents that I've ever heard. This would have been frustrating no matter who the characters were, but when we're expected to believe that this is Winston Churchill or Britain's King George VI speaking, it's truly cringe-worthy.

All in all, the nonfiction parts of the book (aside from the accents) worked better than the fictional parts, at least in my opinion, but if you prefer to get your history in easy-to-swallow doses through the eyes of fictional persons living through the events as they occur, (and provided that the history is well-researched, which this book certainly is, that is a perfectly valid way of learning history, especially for those who might be intimidated by a thick, nonfictional tome) "Lusitania Lost" might be just the ticket.

I received this audiobook for free in exchange for an honest review.

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Profile Image for Laura
  • Laura
  • 15-04-19

Interesting Historical Fiction

I received this book for free. I am voluntarily leaving this review and all opinions expressed herein are my own.

This is a fictionalized historical recounting of the last voyage of the Lusitania around the time of the World War. The book shifts perspectives between the passengers on the ship, the German U-boat - which sank the ship, the White House [the President], and England [the Prime Minister]. All of the perspectives were interesting as it gave you more insight into the events which ultimately sunk the Lusitania. Similarly to the Titanic story - there is a "lifeboat drill" where the passengers are assured that unlike the Titanic there are sufficient lifeboats for all passengers but no one is instructed on how to properly wear the lifevests or what to really do in the event of an emergency. Even with the volatile events occurring in the world there was tremendous complacency that a passenger ship would be able to sail unimpeded through hostile waters. I enjoyed the story and though I knew the outcome was interested in the characters. Another reviewer mentioned an epilogue which indicated which of the character were real/fictionalized, which would have been interesting, but I did not find this on my version of the audio book. I always enjoy historical fiction which takes real people, known facts and educated presumptions which are then deftly woven into a fictionalized plot with added fictionalized characters. And, I enjoyed this story, which allowed me to learn quite a bit of historical information from that time period.

The narrator of this book did a good job in pacing and distinguishing the various characters - although I will say that his use of accents/dialects may not have been his strong suit.

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Profile Image for Rayc
  • Rayc
  • 25-02-19

A 1st rate novel.

Lusitania Lost: A Novel - This is not an action novel nor a recounting of history, It is a beautifully written novel about people aboard a ship on what turns out to be it's last voyage.
Well crafted within the bounds of history, A truly 1st rate novel .
Narrated by Edison McDaniels who gives the book a sense of urgency and captures the opulence of the times.
I was given a free copy of this audiobook at my own request, and voluntarily leave this review.

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Profile Image for Kingsley
  • Kingsley
  • 25-01-19

Titanic: both less and more

3.5 / 5

The blurb for the book mentioned Titanic. which is good, because otherwise that would be the elephant in the room for any discussions about the books. There is much similar here: a doomed passenger liner in the 1910's, once the biggest ship of it's kind in the world. There is a romance aboard, and mixing of classes - steerage and first. And there is the scenes and descriptions of the sinking. It all feels very Titanic.

But the book is both more and less than Titanic. It is wider in scope, with scenes and events playing out not just on the ship but in The White house, and 10 Downing Street, and even on the German U-boat that sinks the Lusitania. You get to see much more of what is going on, giving a wider context for the story. It is less in that the actual sinking event is such a short event - while the Titanic took 3 hours or more to sink, the Lusitania took 18 minutes. This means there is a whole lot less that can be done in the book to ratchet up the tension once the event starts. It begins and ends so quickly. Most of the tension, much like a Greek tragedy, comes from the audience knowing the outcome that is being discussed by the cast. Or it comes form their side stories about mobsters, plans once they reach their destination, or the romance.

I found myself having to work harder at concentrating to pick up the events of the story, compared to many other audiobooks I have listened to. I'm not sure if this is because of the style of writing, the narration, or a combination of both.

Narration by Edison McDaniels is enjoyable, but not standout. He tells the story well, any provides very subtle changes to voices for individuals. There is differentiation in the voices, to keep conversations clear, but no strong character's and emotions placed into the voices. He is clear enough, with solid production. He narrates at a quicker pace than most, causing me to slow the playback speed a little bit but nothing problematic.

This book was given to me for free at my request and I provided this review voluntarily.

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Profile Image for Keith LaDue
  • Keith LaDue
  • 24-01-19

Very good "time stamp" of the period.

I recommend this book. Now for the obligatory: "I was given this free review copy audiobook at my request and have voluntarily left this review."

0 of 1 people found this review helpful