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The Gallows Pole

Narrated by: Malk Williams
Length: 10 hrs and 59 mins
4.5 out of 5 stars (41 ratings)

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Summary

From his remote moorland home, David Hartley assembles a gang of weavers and land workers to embark upon a criminal enterprise that will capsize the economy and become the biggest fraud in British history. They are the Cragg Vale Coiners, and their business is clipping - the forging of coins, a treasonous offence punishable by death.

©2019 Ben Myers (P)2019 Audible, Ltd

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

Rare 5 Star review

I think only a couple of other books have moved me to 5 stars before. This is terrific stuff - a rollicking story, beautiful, coarse, earthy poetry and fantastic pacy narration. It’s essentially a Western with the back drop of the Yorkshire moors but also a book about a world on the cusp of fundamental change and the impact that will bring. It’s also a true story. One of those books I was genuinely trying to find time to listen to and I raced through it in a week.

1 person found this helpful

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    5 out of 5 stars
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Loved every moment.

An amazing story which will inform and enlighten its readers about the character of the Calder Valley then and now! Not sure about the narrator's grasp on all the place names but it's a minor point and will only grate on those from the area.

1 person found this helpful

  • Overall
    4 out of 5 stars

Interesting, informative and entertaining.

I very much enjoyed this audiobook. I knew nothing about the coining trade in the 18th century and was fascinated by the gumption of the coiners. Although I didn't find any of the characters particularly likeable, I was moved by the descriptions of poverty and found some of the violent scenes really shocking. All credit to the author, this book is incredibly well written.

1 person found this helpful

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    5 out of 5 stars
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The gruesome tale of the Crag Vale Coiners

Being from West Yorkshire and interested in local history I read the Gallows Pole when it was first published and loved the gruesome tale of "King" David Hartley and his merry band of counterfeiters in 18th Century Calderdale. I liked it so much that went over to Mytholmroyd to re-tract the footsteps of the coiner gang through Bell Hole Woods and up to King David's home at Bell House on the edge of Erringden Moor and afterwards visited the White Lion pub in Heptonstall and the excellent local museum that includes coiner artefacts. I also purchased the excellent album by the Shining Levels of folk song inspired by Ben Myers' novel.
When I saw that Gallows Pole was now on Audible too, I instantly handed over coin again to hear the story told over again. And I am glad that I did. The narrator Malk Williams has the Calderdale voices down perfectly and I sat back and enjoyed the richness of the descriptions of the valley and the countryside and the colourful dialogue of the gang of forgers and the valley folk. To me, listening to this adds another dimension to the enjoyment of this story and I cannot recommend it highly enough.

1 person found this helpful

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    4 out of 5 stars
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Fascinating insight into defacing currency

Very well written account of a forgotten era of history when coins could be clipped

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Tough, 'ard', foul and sweary

Ten hours of poetic Northern swearing combined with long lists of names and some of the most creative threats ever uttered in fiction. Beautiful, enigmatic, and memorable.

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Authentic narration

Grand use of narration to bring otherwise hard to read phonetically written dialect to life in order to relate a fictionalised account of an incredible historical story perhaps little known today outside its locale until this book justifiably won the Walter Scott Historical Fiction Prize. Excellent all round.

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Entertaining but not gripping

For a book based on true events there was too much fantasy for my liking. Some people might prefer it for this, but not to my taste
Does a good job of conjuring images of the Moors and the people living there but felt a bit disjointed in places for me, with mystical fantasy being too frequent

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Historical fiction / fact at it's very best

I cannot praise this book highly enough. The author is a weaver of words, mystery and endeavour. I'm an avid listener / reader and this is 5 Star.