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Summary

The year is 2021. No child has been born for 25 years. The human race faces extinction.

Under the despotic rule of Xan Lyppiat, the warden of England, the old are despairing and the young cruel. Theo Faren, a cousin of the warden, lives a solitary life in this ominous atmosphere. That is until a chance encounter with a young woman leads him into contact with a group of dissenters. Suddenly his life is changed irrevocably as he faces agonising choices which could affect the future of mankind.

P. D. James is the world's preeminent crime writer, most famous for her Adam Dalgliesh mysteries and for her best-selling titles Death Comes to Pemberley and The Murder Room. The Children of Men was adapted into a hit film in 2006; directed by Alfonso Cuarón, the film starred Clive Owen, Michael Caine and Julianne Moore.

P. D. James (1920-2014) was a best-selling and internationally acclaimed crime writer. She was the creator of Adam Dalgliesh and Cordelia Gray and their long and successful series of mysteries. Her works include Cover Her Face (1962), An Unsuitable Job for a Woman (1972), Innocent Blood (1980), The Children of Men (1992), and the Jane Austen-inspired Death Comes to Pemberley (2011).

James was born in Oxford in 1920. She won awards for crime writing in Britain, America, Italy and Scandinavia, including the Mystery Writers of America Grandmaster Award. She received honorary degrees from seven British universities, was awarded an OBE in 1983 and created a life peer in 1991. In 1997 she was elected president of the Society of Authors and stood down from this role in 2013.

©1992 P.D. James (P)2015 Faber Audio

Critic reviews

"Extraordinary.... P. D. James stretches her considerable talents in this daring novel." ( New York Times)
"Spare and disturbing...more moving than any of her more famous crime novels." ( Independent)
"As taut, terrifying and ultimately convincing as anything in the dystopian genre. It is at once a piercing satire on our cosseted, faithless and trivially self-indulgent society and a most tender love story." ( Daily Mail)
"The central images haunt the mind terrifyingly.... It has extraordinary power and visionary passion." ( Observer)
"She writes like and angel. Every character is closely drawn. Her atmosphere is unerringly, chillingly convincing. And she manages all this without for a moment slowing down the drive and tension of an exciting mystery." ( The Times)

What listeners say about The Children of Men

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  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars

clear and atmospheric narration

Weyman delivers a superb narration, not only bringing the character's to life, but adding a touch of class to storytelling.

7 people found this helpful

  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars
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    5 out of 5 stars
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    5 out of 5 stars

This book explores a very interesting idea

The idea behind the book is really interesting: how would people behave if they knew there was no future for the human race? The prose is good also. I found the main female character’s stupid idealism extremely irritating but I know people like her and, after all, that is just my personal opinion. There is however the nagging feeling that author speaks through her. Even if he does, his original idea is so good that the book is worth reading.

4 people found this helpful

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

A good idea that the author got bored with?

This book was recommended to me. Some very good points and some not so good points.
Good:
*A good idea for a storyline.
*Very nicely described.
*Beautifully read by Daniel Weyman.
*Thought provoking.
*The middle third is quite exciting.
Not so good:
*Calling a main, female character Julian is massively annoying and causes irritation every time it's heard. It almost seems like attention seeking on the part of P. D. James.
*Miriam's voice is rather irritating. Daniel does his best.
*The story seems to trickle to a close. I was expecting another few hours, then suddenly it was over.
*The story is very slow to get going.
Over all, not one I'll listen to again, but I don't regret listening to it once.

2 people found this helpful

  • Overall
    2 out of 5 stars
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    4 out of 5 stars
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    2 out of 5 stars

Unenjoyable

This book is one of the rare exceptions where the film is better than the book. It is quite unrewarding and a drudge; not just because the topic is bleak. I didn't feel attached to any of the characters. I love dystopian novels and this plot had real potential but it somehow missed the mark. The main mid-book action scene I found odd - it seemed to come out of nowhere. I rewound several times to see if I had missed something but no, it was just bizarre. Same with the love affair, 'hey we've said about 4 words to each other but we are now inexplicably and mutually in love' with no build up whatsoever. Without giving spoilers, the ending is unbelievable and nonsensical. I found the references to women losing their minds and dressing up kittens as babies etc. because of their inability to have children (when men didn't exhibit this behaviour) very eye roll worthy.

1 person found this helpful

  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars
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    5 out of 5 stars
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    5 out of 5 stars

Incredible

Absolutely incredible! A true classic and it seems like the author has an in depth understanding of the human condition. I can easily see this future coming to pass should the world go infertile. Truly an amazing book and the narrator does it justice.

1 person found this helpful

  • Overall
    2 out of 5 stars
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    2 out of 5 stars
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    2 out of 5 stars

Average

found the story boring and the narration irritating
. struggle to get through it tbh

1 person found this helpful

  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars

amazing

listened in 2 sittings. great story had no idea which way it was twisting and turning. emotional rollercoaster and so well read.

1 person found this helpful

  • Overall
    4 out of 5 stars
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    5 out of 5 stars
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    3 out of 5 stars

Good job to the film adaptation

was fine, quite pretentious and eye rolling snobby at times. Thought the film was better

1 person found this helpful

  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars
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    5 out of 5 stars
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    4 out of 5 stars

Enthralling!

Loved it, so much attention to detail.
Good descriptive passages. Kept one s attention until the end.