Listen free for 30 days

The Second Sleep

Narrated by: Roy McMillan
Length: 9 hrs and 21 mins
4 out of 5 stars (1,393 ratings)

£7.99/month after 30 days. Cancel anytime

Summary

Brought to you by Penguin.

The latest novel from Robert Harris: chosen as a Book of the Year by The Times, Sunday Times, Guardian, Telegraph, Mail on Sunday, and Express.

What if your future lies in the past?

Dusk is gathering as a young priest, Christopher Fairfax, rides across a silent land.

It’s a crime to be out after dark and Fairfax knows he must arrive at his destination – a remote village in the wilds of Exmoor – before night falls and curfew is imposed.

He’s lost and he’s becoming anxious as he slowly picks his way across a countryside strewn with the ancient artefacts of a civilisation that seems to have ended in cataclysm.

What Fairfax cannot know is that, in the days and weeks to come, everything he believes in will be tested to destruction, as he uncovers a secret that is as dangerous as it is terrifying....

©2019 Robert Harris (P)2019 Penguin Audio

Critic reviews

"One word: wonderful. Two words: compulsive [listening]. Three words: buy it tomorrow. Four words: tonight, if possible." (Stephen King)

"A thoroughly absorbing...narrative." (Sunday Times)

"Genuinely thrilling." (Daily Telegraph)

What listeners say about The Second Sleep

Average customer ratings
Overall
  • 4 out of 5 stars
  • 5 Stars
    594
  • 4 Stars
    427
  • 3 Stars
    272
  • 2 Stars
    68
  • 1 Stars
    32
Performance
  • 4.5 out of 5 stars
  • 5 Stars
    869
  • 4 Stars
    290
  • 3 Stars
    74
  • 2 Stars
    10
  • 1 Stars
    13
Story
  • 4 out of 5 stars
  • 5 Stars
    481
  • 4 Stars
    360
  • 3 Stars
    266
  • 2 Stars
    95
  • 1 Stars
    49

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

Sort by:
Filter by:
  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    3 out of 5 stars

Something different that will make you think...

This story is quite different from Robert Harris and adds another dimension to the Master story tellers range. The narration delivered by Roy McMillan is absolutely superb, he conjures up the mood and pace and establishes Christopher Fairfax as a character that we need to hear from in the future.
A beautifully written story that will make the reader or listener think about the world and the way that we are all evolving.

24 people found this helpful

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

appeal for a considerd eanding

enjoyable but audible please allow the reader a brief pause at the end to savour the moment before rabbiting on with with the legal crap and hard sell

32 people found this helpful

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

Loved this book.

This was not at all what I expected but I absolutely loved it, could not stop listening. It is a book that I will remember and think about for a long while, a message for our times?!

10 people found this helpful

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

Thought provoking novel.

The Second Sleep is an unconventional historical novel. Set in the year 1468 in Wessex, it tells the story of a priest sent on a simple task to perform a funeral in a remote Exmoor village.
But all is not as it seems in this mystery.
A well written book, with superb narration from Roy McMillan. But I feel the plot lacking substance and direction, - maybe this was deliberate. A thought provoking novel indeed, it asks questions of what we see as history, knowledge, civilisation, and the future...

8 people found this helpful

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

Engaging Story, tepid end

An engaging and original story, loses its way at the end for an unsatisfactory conclusion

17 people found this helpful

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

Interesting idea, that doesn't quite deliver.

I purchased this after seeing Harris being interviewed and finding the concept intriguing. While I did enjoy the story, and it was certainly well narrated, I felt it didn't quite follow through on its promise. It seemed to gradually run out of steam, and the ending felt rushed and a little anti-climactic.

7 people found this helpful

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

The second sleep

Very easy to listen to great performances by all
Look forward to the next book

5 people found this helpful

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

Typical Harris- a well-researched page turner

Whatever this author chooses as a subject it is invariably a well-researched and always a gripping read. The denouement seemed a little rushed however, with an almost deus ex machina finish.

5 people found this helpful

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

His Best yet

Having read almost all of Harris' previous work I admit to being a follower. Some were excellent and one or two were hard work ie. too statistical for me! Fortunately with Second Sleep I was stuck on a long drive to the South of France so was committed to listening as I drove down to the ferry at Portsmouth. I thought I knew which way the story was unfolding, so nearly drove off the road when without warning it changed direction. The story is so enthralling, and captivating, that most of my family and friends have now listened to or read it.
I fear that there are more books in the series to come because there were some major loose ends at the end. But, I doubt that I will read a better book in 2020.

4 people found this helpful

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

Utter codswallop

I wish l hadn't taken someone's recommendation to read/listen to this book, it was cods wallop!

2 people found this helpful

Sort by:
Filter by:
  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    5 out of 5 stars
Profile Image for Son of Thor's whimper
  • Son of Thor's whimper
  • 16-09-19

Dark, so dark, so well concocted

Read it any review spoils it The best since Fatherland Kicks one's mind and crushes ones hart, making Pandora's box completely empty

1 person found this helpful

  • Overall
    4 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    4 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    3 out of 5 stars
Profile Image for Tim Martin
  • Tim Martin
  • 14-05-20

Good, but wanting

On the back of Harris' brilliant Cicero Trilogy my expectation for The Second Sleep was for more cool shine. There were some food-for-thought moments - in particular, a clever background timeline encompassing fall of Empire, a subsequent Dark Age (Church intellectual dominance), and a green-shoots Age of Reason exemplified by a rebel priest. But I had no buy-in for any of the characters - as individuals or as an ensemble. Weak characterisations are a deal-breaker for me.

  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    5 out of 5 stars
Profile Image for Sylla
  • Sylla
  • 01-05-20

Highly recommended

When one combines the wizardry if Harris’ narrative genius with an excellent narrator one is left with an addictive 9 hours of delight. I could not stop listening. A thrilling story full of surprises to the very end.

  • Overall
    3 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    4 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    3 out of 5 stars
Profile Image for Ben Vella
  • Ben Vella
  • 12-04-20

Interesting concept....

Not having read what this book was about, I enjoyed the twist as it seemed of a time past that was actually the future. That was about the best part. The rest was the slow thrills of an archeological dig.

  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    5 out of 5 stars
Profile Image for Emily
  • Emily
  • 21-10-19

The less you know, the better this journey will be

Robert Harris is a phenomenal writer, and The Second Sleep is no exception. This is a gripping, thought-provoking novel that unfolds moment by moment, almost like a slow burn. There are points where things occur which put everything into context as the mysteries unravel, and they leave you feeling startled as well as delighted as you begin to understand just what's happened, and what's happening.

I think that it's best to know very little about this novel, so you can fully experience the carefully crafted moments of revelation, so I'll not say anything about the plot, apart from saying that the characters are well-imagined, the setting is interesting and engaging, and the pacing is masterful. Roy McMillan reads the novel with skill and style, voicing the characters well and giving a real sense of personality to each of them.

If you enjoyed Harris' historical novels, you'll enjoy The Second Sleep. Highly recommended.

  • Overall
    4 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    4 out of 5 stars
Profile Image for Simon
  • Simon
  • 23-09-19

Engaging and (almost) believable

A post apocalyptic world that’s similar to the dark ages. Throw in a murder mystery and have Robert Harris write it. Nearly perfect.

No spoilers but to say there a few points where it lets itself down but certainly well worth a listen.

Reminds me very much of Pullman’s His Dark Materials stories.

Excellent narration.