Regular price: £21.99

Membership details Membership details
  • A 30-day trial plus your first audiobook, free
  • 1 credit/month after trial – choose any book, any price
  • Easy exchanges – swap any book you don’t love
  • Keep your audiobooks, even if you cancel
  • Free, unlimited access to Audio Shows
  • After your trial, Audible is just £7.99/month
  • Get access to the Member Daily Deal
OR
In Basket

Summary

The Man from St Petersburg is a dark tale of family secrets and political consequences. Ken Follett's masterful storytelling brings to life the danger of a world on the brink of war.

It is just before the outbreak of World War I, and Britain must enlist the aid of Russia. Czar Nicholas' nephew is to visit London for secret naval talks with Lord Walden, who has lived in Russia and has a Russian wife, Lydia. But there are other people who are interested in the arrival of Prince Alexei: the Waldens' only daughter, Charlotte - wilful, idealistic, and with an awakening social conscience; Basil Thompson, head of the Special Branch; and, above all, Feliks Kschessinky, the ruthless Russian anarchist. No one could have foretold that Lydia should recognize Feliks or that she might put her own daughter's life at risk for his sake.

As the secret negotiations progress, the destinies of these characters become ineluctably enmeshed. And as Europe prepares for the catastrophe of war, the final private tragedy which will shatter the complacency of the Waldens is acted out.

©2018 Ken Follett (P)2018 Macmillan Digital Audio

What members say

Average customer ratings

Overall

  • 4.5 out of 5 stars
  • 5 Stars
    120
  • 4 Stars
    46
  • 3 Stars
    26
  • 2 Stars
    3
  • 1 Stars
    1

Performance

  • 4.5 out of 5 stars
  • 5 Stars
    140
  • 4 Stars
    30
  • 3 Stars
    9
  • 2 Stars
    3
  • 1 Stars
    0

Story

  • 4.5 out of 5 stars
  • 5 Stars
    106
  • 4 Stars
    46
  • 3 Stars
    21
  • 2 Stars
    10
  • 1 Stars
    0
Sort by:
  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    5 out of 5 stars
  • JD
  • UK
  • 23-08-18

Great Read! Great Reader!

This was an enjoyable read. A book set pre WWI is not usually my novel of choice but my lack of familiarity gave me some interesting insights into both historical characters and political situations. I found it a 'page-turner' and it bowled along at a cracking pace, culminating in a great set piece which I could easily envisage because Ken Follett writes well and in exciting detail. My great-great aunt was a suffragette and so I enjoyed meeting Mrs Pankhurst, listening in on her speeches and learning about the maltreatment of the marchers and protestors. KF has us sympathising with all his characters - even the villain - because we see the world through their eyes. A satisfying ending.

The reader, Richard Armitage, was so good that I found myself binge-listening in one weekend. He has a superb voice and does some lovely accents - various cultured upper-class ones, including a youngish Winston Churchill, Cockney, Russian, Irish, Northern. Even his teenage girls sound right. I have a feeling that his reading has made the book seem better than it actually is but I shall give it 5 stars nevertheless because of the enjoyability factor.

Recommended.

8 of 8 people found this review helpful

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

Great story, excellently read

Great story, like all Ken Follett books. Well researched. Nuanced characters. Excellently read. It's great that they finally made this unabridged version.

6 of 6 people found this review helpful

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

What a Great Story

I rattled through this story and found it hugely enjoyable and entertaining. I suspect that Ken Follett must have done a lot of research about the events leading up to the Great War and the Suffragette and the Russian anarchist movements before setting pen to paper (or fingers to keyboard.) It certainly made for an informative read.

The story is set against the backdrop of the political situation in Europe prior to the First World War and the involvement of Winston Churchill in both the political struggle of the Suffragettes and also the British government's pre-war negotiations with Tsar Nicholas. An aristocrat and ex-politician, the Earl of Walden, is persuaded by Churchill to negotiate with the Tsar's favourite nephew Alexei in order to achieve an Anglo-French-Russian alliance against the re-arming German government. The Earl's wife, Lydia, is Russian and the Tsar's nephew also happens to be her cousin, so all seems set fair for an uneventful negotiation.

But Lydia has a secret past which is unknown to the Earl and their spirited daughter Charlotte develops a keen interest in Votes for Women and social justice when she witnesses a scandalous declaration of support for imprisoned Suffragettes during a debutante presentation ceremony at Court.

Lydia's past life in St.Petersburg comes to haunt her and the Walden family when Feliks, an anarchist sent to kill Alexei and provoke revolution in Russia, discovers her connection to the negotiations and her role in his personal and political misfortunes in the intervening years since they last met. Charlotte, in her burgeoning desire to bring about change within her privileged life and equality within society, becomes embroiled with Feliks and the scene is set for heartbreaking discoveries, fear of discovery, terrorist acts and a shocking conclusion

This was a well-plotted and beautifully characterised novel, told in a sympathetic and spell-binding voice. Richard Armitage, the narrator, has a fantastic range of voices for the male and female characters and it was deeply satisfying to sit back and listen to the story in huge chunks. Just lovely. Top marks on the narration.

3 of 3 people found this review helpful

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

Very disappointed

Having read Ken Follett before, and listened to Richard Armitage, I was disappointed on both counts. The story was slow and quite frankly I gave up half way through. RA's narration was excruciating at times, particularly during some of the 'physical' sections - I also struggled with his 'female' voices.

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

Excellent

Ken Follett back to his best. Fantastic listen twists right through to the end. Highly recommended

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

Excellent story

Ken Follett has written another very good story combining historical facts with a convincing fictitious story.

  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    5 out of 5 stars
  • LAJ
  • Wales
  • 07-11-18

Fast-paced and exciting, with great narration

I really enjoyed this audio book. The characters were interesting and the plot bowled along like an exciting adventure, with lots of small detail that added to the sense of realism. The ending was satisfying and dramatic.
Richard Armitage’s narration was excellent, as always, bringing urgency, tenderness and fierceness to the listening experience.

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

gripping stuff!

this was my first Ken Follet and I will be back for more. Fascinating interweaving of history and personal drama and Mr. Armitage never fails to do the writing justice with his narration.

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

Exciting story beautifully read

Very well read. Richard Armitage is so good at all the voices that you forget it's just him. I enjoyed the story although it is rather far fetched. Just go with it and you'll really enjoy it.

  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    5 out of 5 stars
  • ej
  • 25-10-18

Outstanding

Gripping from start to finish! I had thought several times that I hated or despised, or felt exasperated with a character for their actions and thoughts, only to later feel sympathy and understanding. Walden, Lydia, Charlotte and Felix, all victims of either societal/class, political, emotional repression’s. Ken Follett writes with such understanding of the human mind, character, experiences and the impact these have on ones perceptions, that not one character is ever one dimensional, there is always reason behind their actions even if you don’t agree with them. A fascinating read. As for Richard Armitage as narrator, his performance is outstanding. The richness of voice and masterful vocal interpretation of characters combine to enthral the listener into easily imagining & feeling the story. I particularly liked his Russian accent and that of Walden, the latter not being reduced to simple pomposity, as some might have been tempted to represent him. If you haven’t listened to this book then please do as I cannot imagine anyone being disappointed with it. It’s quite a ride!

Sort by:
  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Anonymous User
  • 17-10-18

Fantastic!

Amazing book with loveable, captivating characters, dynamic story and great twists :) Ken Follett never disappoints :)
And neither does Richard Armitage, who read the book with ferocity and dedication which does justice to the autor <3

1 of 1 people found this review helpful

  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Callie
  • 17-09-18

Armitage at his (villainous 😉) best!

Richard Armitage has a knack for humanizing characters typically thought of as “bad guys” and he does so here with Felix, the antagonist. He voices all the characters, male and female, in a sympathetic and convincing manner. The result is a gripping listen where you are able to understand and empathize with all sides of the story. I will definitely listen again!

1 of 1 people found this review helpful

  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Julia
  • 28-08-18

Just great!! Thank you Audible

Great story and fabulous performance by Richard Armitage. Loved it very much. Can't recommend it enough.