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The King's Hounds

1
Narrated by: Napoleon Ryan
Series: The King's Hounds, Book 1
Length: 10 hrs and 59 mins
Categories: Fiction, Humour
3.5 out of 5 stars (28 ratings)

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Summary

The year is 1018 and the war with England is finally over, but the unified kingdom ruled by Cnut of Denmark is far from peaceful. Halfdan has lost everything to the war but his sense of humor. Once a proud nobleman, now he wanders the country aimlessly powered only by his considerable charm and some petty theft. When he finds an unlikely ally in Winston, a bookish former monk, the two set out together for Oxford, the seat of the new king. The pair's arrival in court coincides with news of a murder, and Cnut has an idea only a king could get away with: Why not enlist Halfdan and Winston - the Danish womanizer and the upright Saxon intellectual - to defuse a politically explosive situation? They're given just two days to solve the murder and they set off to uncover the truth, on the order of the king and with the reluctant assistance of the agitated townspeople.

©2013 Brilliance Audio, all rights reserved.; 2013 Martin Jensen

What members say

Average customer ratings

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Reviews - Please select the tabs below to change the source of reviews.

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

Interesting era

I gave this book 3 stars, which is what I give most books that are interesting without being particularly compelling. The whole idea of the Saxon / Dane clashes during the reign of King Cnut is worth a read. The only problem with this audio is the very slow delivery by the narrator, particularly when voicing Winston. I tried speeding it up, but found I couldn't keep track of the plot at a faster speed. None-the-less, I will probably give book 2 a go.

1 of 1 people found this review helpful

  • Overall
    3 out of 5 stars
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    1 out of 5 stars
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    3 out of 5 stars

Terrible narration

Really don’t understand why the narrator felt the need to drawl all the way through the book. I sped up the narration to 1.25 and was still too slow 1.5 was too jumbled. Spoilt the whole book.

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    5 out of 5 stars
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    5 out of 5 stars
  • eb
  • 26-05-18

love this story

the characters are believable...the story line tight and logical....the historic detailed explanation adds to the story giving it context..I have listened to all three books in the series that have been translated into English...more please really goood

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    1 out of 5 stars
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  • MJ
  • 02-05-15

Don't buy! Truelly dreadful!

What disappointed you about The King's Hounds?

There is nothing to recommend this audio book. From the instance the narrator starts his horrible drawl you know you've made a mistake. Was it just the awful narrator spoiling an otherwise good book? No, the story line is weak and flawed, the characters are poorly developed and quite frankly repulsive in parts, the pace of the book and narration, tortuously slow. All-in-all this book was a tremendous disappointment. With the wealth of fine historical mysteries and dramas out there ...give this one a very wide berth!

What will your next listen be?

SGMcLean or Hilary Mantel or CJ Sansom or Rory Clements

What didn’t you like about Napoleon Ryan’s performance?

He had a ridiculousy forced accent which rapidly became extremely annoying and his character interpretation was often inappropriate and sleezy, doing nothing to enhance the story-line.

What character would you cut from The King's Hounds?

None of these characters gained my interest.

Any additional comments?

Gave up several times, listening to other books hoping that when I returned I would see the whole book through. I failed. A book I definitely regretted purchasing.

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  • Overall
    4 out of 5 stars
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  • Thomas More
  • 05-01-14

Interesting mystery and promising new series

I bought this story on the cheap as a whispersync set, hoping for something good, and I was not disappointed. This is the first book in a series from Danish author Martin Jensen, his first translated into English. It promises to be an excellent mystery series with great, enjoyable characters. The story takes place during 11th Century England in which the country has not enjoyed much recent stability in leadership. The new king Cnut, a Dane, is trying to unify the various sects of the English population in order to provide a lasting peace across the land. Unfortunately, during a large gathering of his most important Saxon and Danish subjects, a murder takes place that implicates him, as well as threatens to bring complications to his plans for his country. Our two protagonists, Winston (a smart, sensible illustrator of books) and Halfdan (a sly, womanizing opportunist) are placed on the case by the king, and our mystery story takes off from there. There is a fun Sherlock/Watson rapport between the two very different personalities of Winston and Halfdan, and the reader is quickly drawn into the story, with a good appreciation for the historical setting. Not knowing much about this time period in England, I found this aspect fascinating. The narrator Napoleon Ryan has one of those mellifluous English voices that you could listen to all day. His pacing was a bit pokey for my taste, but an adjustment to 1.25 speed helped to alleviate that problem. All in all, it was an excellent listen, and I look forward to the release of the second title in this series in spring of 2014!

8 of 8 people found this review helpful

  • Overall
    4 out of 5 stars
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    4 out of 5 stars
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    4 out of 5 stars
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  • Debbie
  • 29-04-15

Early English Espionage

Interesting and delightful listen! Early kings and kingdoms, jealousy and double crosses . . . and an ex-monk turned private investigator . . . the narration is first rate . . . and the twists and turns keep you on the trail trying to figure out whodunit.

3 of 3 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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    4 out of 5 stars
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  • Alison
  • 08-12-18

adequate mystery, so-so narration, meh translation

This historical mystery novel had a lot of good things going for it. It was definitely well researched. It's not a time period where there are a lot of other comparable books, so it doesn't seem cliche. The characters are sufficiently interesting. Winston's deductive skills are nicely offset by Halfdan's brutish lack of subtlety. I'm not sure I enjoyed it enough to spend a credit on the next book in the series, but if it were to go on sale, I'd definitely pick it up.

As many others have pointed out, the narrator is a bit annoying. He's not the worst I've ever heard and he doesn't stumble over the old Saxon or Danish names, so that's a plus. What I was far more annoyed by was the iffy translation. For a book into which the author had obviously poured quite a lot of research, the translation frequently disrupted the sense of period, at least for me. They ought to have someone with some background in history at least edit the translation before it was given the go-ahead. For example, words like "backpack" do not ring true to the early medieval time period. When I hear that, it makes me stop thinking about the story. If they had simply used "satchel" then there would not have been that jarring sense of anachronism to break the flow. "Gold-digger" and "boyfriend" are the others which spring immediately to mind as examples of the translation failing to capture the essence of the period.

Long review short: could have been translated better, but overall enjoyable story.

1 of 1 people found this review helpful

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    5 out of 5 stars
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  • Rural American
  • 08-06-15

Suspense. Mystery. Humor. History.

What is not to like? It is an interesting and entertaining view of the time period.

1 of 1 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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  • Barbara J. Whipple
  • 23-03-15

Great EARLY English history

With these unfamiliar names, it was easier to follow the well crafted story by listening to a talented narrator. I look forward to the subsequent stories.

1 of 1 people found this review helpful

  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars
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    5 out of 5 stars
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  • James
  • 19-03-15

This is absolutely fantastic narrated.

Would you listen to The King's Hounds again? Why?

Yes. In fact I am. Great voice, great story both read, and especially narrated.

What other book might you compare The King's Hounds to and why?

The Hobbit. Great characters--humour--and the middle ages might as well be science fiction.

Which scene was your favorite?

I love the interactions with the donkey.

If you could rename The King's Hounds, what would you call it?

It has a perfect name.

Any additional comments?

Read everything you can get your hands on by this author.

1 of 1 people found this review helpful

  • Overall
    3 out of 5 stars
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    4 out of 5 stars
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    3 out of 5 stars
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  • Bonnie Jones gardener and reader
  • 17-07-14

Insomnia listening

Would you recommend this book to a friend? Why or why not?

Yes, i thoroughly enjoyed the book and its setting. It was cunningly read, the voice changes were credible at all times.

If you’ve listened to books by Martin Jensen before, how does this one compare?

N/A

Have you listened to any of Napoleon Ryan and Napoleon Ryan ’s other performances before? How does this one compare?

N/A

Do you think The King's Hounds needs a follow-up book? Why or why not?

I am hoping there will be a follow up or at the least more in this vein...

1 of 1 people found this review helpful

  • Overall
    4 out of 5 stars
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  • 2days2slow
  • 18-08-18

Well written

Kept my interest enjoyed the period - a few twists and turns worth listening to

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    1 out of 5 stars
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  • Michelle
  • 02-06-18

King's Hounds

if it weren't for Napoleon Ryan, I wouldn't waste my time in listening this bland and stupid story. only the brilliant narration of Napoleon Ryan kept me listening.

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    5 out of 5 stars
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    5 out of 5 stars
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  • W. Sabin
  • 08-11-17

Painful! Buy a printed copy.

I gave the story 5 stars because it seems so well-written I will be purchasing a paper copy. The narration was so terrible it hurt. I always check the tone and accent of the narrator before I purchase a book, and thought Ryan sounded great. He reads SO SLOW and takes like 5 second breaks between EVERY SINGLE PHRASE. Did Not Finish? Try 'Hardly Got Started'!