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The Orffyreus Wheel

Narrated by: Joshua Saxon
Length: 7 hrs and 2 mins
4 out of 5 stars (4 ratings)

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Summary

In 1712, Johann Bessler unveiled an amazing invention. It was a perpetuum mobile - a perpetual motion device - a wheel that continually spun after being set into motion until it was stopped with no mechanical input. It was capable of sustaining this motion and producing enough energy to complete “work” - meaning, literally, that there was something from nothing. Bessler never revealed his secret. He was hounded, mocked, and chased through a very rough and adventurous life. His secret died with him.

Except that it didn’t.

Elly Kassel is the granddaughter and heir of Evelyn Kassel, though the two were not close. Elly is called into the offices of eminent London solicitors Ratliff & Brownridge, where she discovers that her grandmother was a rich woman. She also receives a trunk and an envelope, which she is not to open until she reaches New York City. In New York, she is told, all her questions about her grandmother and her inheritance will be answered.

What follows is a series of harrowing near-misses as Elly studies and learns the secrets of The Orffyreus Project, where free energy might be a very real possibility, and her grandmother’s dream of bringing the perpetual motion wheel into production and widespread use for the good of mankind. Maxwell Black does everything in his considerable power to stop her, to steal the technology, and to see that the interests of the petroleum industry are protected from the imminent disaster of obsolescence. Meanwhile, the novel follows parallel paths, showing the odd life of Johann Bessler as he tries to sell his invention to the highest bidder in the distant past, and Elly Kassel as she tries to prevent her grandmother’s re-discovery of that invention doing exactly that. The two story lines bear down on one another, will history repeat itself and bury the wheel forever? The answer lies in The Orffyreus Wheel.

©2010 David N. Wilson (P)2020 David N. Wilson

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    5 out of 5 stars
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Something else! Recommended.

Watch out, should say listen out, for a mid-section of this audio book where the narrator does a German character? Do yourself a favour and listen. I was amazed initially and thought that the actor Max Von Sydow had crept into the production. It was a thoroughly engrossing section when I had been about to give up on the book.
Top marks to Joshua Saxon. Quality work. You brought this book to life.

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    3 out of 5 stars
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    2 out of 5 stars

May it never stop turning.

After having read the very fulsome synopsis of.this book, not only was I delighted to be freely gifted with a complimentary copy of The Orffyreus Wheel, from the rights holder, at my request via Audiobook Boom, I fully hoped and expected to thoroughly enjoy it. Not only is the idea of a perpetual motion machine one that would be most timely in our current approaching energy crisis, but it was also a discovery my father pursued unsuccessfully to some 50 years of his life. Sadly, my hopes were unfulfilled.

It started well with a sinister visitor, a Mr.Black, calling upon an agent hired to find and deliver to him a document labelled only Orffyreus, for which the agent received more than the £150,000 payment promised. The whole introduction has on old fashioned and uneasy feel to it, more horror story than earthy, scientific or history and the continuing tale of a young woman unexpectedly coming into an inheritance from a grandmother she never met continues the mysterious and not quite modern theme and rapidly descended into an action filled melodrama, alternating with a telecom a journal permitted to have been written in the 1700s. Either part of the story might have been bearable, but I interspersed as thy were, the whole became tedious and rather scrambled, hard to listen on.

A great pity, especially given the excellence of the narrator. Joshua Saxon's performance expertly fitted itself to the tone of the writing, his protagonists were all individually and appropriately voiced and his reading alone carried this reader to the conclusion. SAdly, I cannot recommend this book unless the potential reader is a fan of Gothic horror with semi modern inclusions, but I do look forward to hearing a different book brought to life by Joshua Saxon..

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Really good performance of a good story.

The story was a fun mix of historical intrigue, science and invention, and spy thriller with a good heart and was thoroughly enjoyable, although Elly's sense of entitlement really irritated me at times. OK, quite often.

The narrator's voice was delicious, like warm honey, brandy and spices, although occasionally I found the 'really serious bits in an oh so deep voice' laugh out loud funny. But nice. Definitely 5 stars if it hadn't been for some weird phrasing / timing and the German accents. If I could have given 4.5 stars I would and I will look out for other books with this same narrator.

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  • Matthew
  • 17-02-20

A wheel inside a wheel...etc.

I received my copy of this book in exchange for this independent review.

Overall, this is a very solid offering. Totally original story arc, a crisp, professional production, featuring believable, consistent characters and situations. The conclusion is somewhat unsatisfactory to this listener, but that is perhaps quibbling. The production values are excellent.

A highly entertaining offering, and highly recommended.

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  • John Alexander
  • 08-02-20

Slow starting but good

This book was out of my normal genre of books. I usually listen to to post-apocalyptic novels. This one started slow but picked up as the story progressed. Great storyline too!

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

1 person found this helpful