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The Raven's Head

Narrated by: Jonathan Keeble
Length: 14 hrs and 8 mins
Categories: Fiction, Historical
4 out of 5 stars (151 ratings)

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Summary

A gothic delight from Karen Maitland, author of the best-selling and much-loved Company of Liars, that will delight fans of Game of Thrones, The Silent Companions or fans of Deborah Harkness seeking a new, dark fix this Halloween.

Never trust your secrets to a Raven when you are not its true master....

1224. Langley Manor, Norfolk. Lord Sylvain has been practising alchemy in hiding for years and now only the Apothecary's niece can help him with final preparations to forge the Philosopher's Stone.

Alchemy calls for symbols - and victims - and when a man in possession of an intricately carved raven's head arrives at the Manor in a clumsy attempt at blackmail, Sylvain has both symbol and victim within easy reach. 

But the White Canons in nearby Langley Abbey are concealing a crucial, missing ingredient...Regulus, a small boy with a large destiny.

©2015 Karen Maitland (P)2015 Headline Digital

Critic reviews

"A compelling blend of historical grit and supernatural twists." (Daily Mail)

"An atmospheric and dark story." (The Times)

What members say

Average customer ratings

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

Darkly medieval - not for the faint hearted!

Would you try another book written by Karen Maitland or narrated by Jonathan Keeble?

Yes. Karen Mailtland's book are always fascinating and the social history very well observed. Jonathan Keeble's narration was excellent.

How would you have changed the story to make it more enjoyable?

A little less cruel. Many of the scenes were very upsetting and hard to listen to. It spoiled an otherwise good tale. Caution advised.

Any additional comments?

Caution advised. Scenes of great suffering involving children. It took me out of y comfort zone.

4 people found this helpful

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    3 out of 5 stars
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    3 out of 5 stars

Good but not great

Enjoyable enough tosh but rather obvious twists in the plot made this less enjoyable than it might have been. However the author is really good at writing within a historical context.

1 person found this helpful

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    5 out of 5 stars
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best ever maitland!!

the best Karen work of Karen yet! absolutely spellbinding, loved every second of it as I do all her work but this tops the lot!!

2 people found this helpful

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    2 out of 5 stars
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    2 out of 5 stars

Disappointing

We listened to this book on the back of company of liars. But it is defiantly no where near as good as that book. There are huge gaps in the plot and way too many unresolved issues with in the narrative.

2 people found this helpful

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Darkly disturbing medieval tale

I have read/listened to all of Karen Maitland’s incredible books including her most recent A Gathering of Ghosts which was fantastic, but this one returns back to East Anglia and to Langley in Norfolk to tell the stories of the several protagonists in this richly dark tale.
Yes it does deal with unpleasant subjects such as child murder and yes the picture is bleak but Norfolk in medieval England WAS bleak for the most part, certainly the rural areas around the wash.
For anyone reading Maitland for the first time, please be aware she doesn’t paint a pretty Hollywood picture of life in Medieval Europe - because it wasn’t like that, when I read her novels I feel fully transported back in time and as horrible as some events transpire to be the stories are believable even if magical!
So if you don’t want to read about the real horrors that happened back then including practising the dark arts and murdering children then don’t read this. If however you love history, appreciate excellent writing and a wonderful story- this is a book for you!

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The Ravens Head

This is a nice story Brilliantly read. Not really Black Gothic but entertaining until the end.

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extremely depressing story.

I did persevere with this mistakenly thinking it would get better . VERY DARK story

1 person found this helpful

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  • mj
  • 02-08-18

Awful in every way

Badly written, badly narrated....I had this book as a Book Club choice and everyone else in the club disliked it too.
The characters are not engaging, the scenery is not 'drawn' or explained in an interesting way.

It is rare for any of us to give up on a book - many of us (including myself) gave up on this one. Dull and boring and poor penmanship.

To suggest that fans of Deborah Harkness will love it is an insult to that author and her fans.