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Summary

For his entire life, Charley Sutherland has concealed a magical ability he can't quite control: he can bring characters from books into the real world. His older brother, Rob - a young lawyer with an utterly normal life - hopes that this strange family secret will disappear with disuse, and he will be discharged from his duty of protecting Charley and the real world from each other.  

But then, literary characters start causing trouble in their city, making threats about destroying the world, and for once, it isn't Charley's doing. There's someone else out there who shares his powers, and it's up to Charley and a reluctant Rob to stop them - before anyone gets to The End.

©2019 H. G. Parry (P)2019 Hachette Audio UK

Critic reviews

"Parry knocks it out of the park. Just plain wonderful." (Kirkus

"A joyous adventure through all the tales you've ever loved. Funny, charming, clever and heartfelt, you're absolutely going to adore The Unlikely Escape of Uriah Heep." (Tasha Suri, author of Empire of Sand

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What listeners say about The Unlikely Escape of Uriah Heep

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

Sprawling literary world-hopping adventure

Great prospect - book characters coming out of their source novels, interacting with people. And I did love that aspect of this. Books about books always appeal. And there was a good story at the heart of this.

Rob is roped into helping his brother Charley. Again. A prodigy, his younger brother, English professor, calls Rob up in the middle of the night when he accidentally lets loose Uriah Heep from a Dickens novel he's reading, and needs help returning him to the literary world of David Copperfield. And this isn't the first time.

Since Charley was a small boy, lawyer Rob has looked out for him and his secret complication. Charley, reading Dickens as a toddler, off to University overseas at 13, relies on his brother to help him out of these scrapes, though both are out of their depth when characters from books began causing problems in the real world, and it seems that there is someone else out there with a similar ability to Charley, putting more than one world in danger.

This started well, it piqued my interest, and I loved meeting various literary characters - Matilda popped up, more than one Darcy - but it did feel overlong and protracted. A fairly simple story, with a couple of twists (that I liked, actually), it took a long time to cover relatively little ground.

Literary references were well-integrated (there were a couple of characters I was unfamiliar with though), I didn't really take to Charley. Rob as narrator was of course the most likeable and sympathetic but I was more interested in the books and characters than the real world. That might just be me, as librarian/book lover.

Slightly disappointed I must say, that it wasn't tighter, though I did relish the literary aspects of this. I'd have moved faster through this on paper perhaps, not stopped so often.

A long audiobook, but well narrated. I wanted to like this more than I did, though I did appreciate the author's efforts at including realistic characters from famous books that represented and expanded their literary sources.

With thanks to Nudge Books for providing a sample Audible copy.

2 people found this helpful

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A bibliophilic romp - in slow motion.

Classic characters being "read out" - brought to life from the printed page and running riot in Wellington. What a great premise. Plenty of cleverness, sly humour and in-jokes accessible to anyone with a smattering of knowledge about Dickens, Conan Doyle, Bronte, Austen et al. Almost certainly much harder to write than it looks. What looks like being a very formulaic plot (not much less hackneyed than an evil genius trying to take over the world) is rescued by the author's honesty in taking the conceit seriously.

But it should have been about a third of the length that it is. It is impossible to puzzle out the motives and feelings of the characters or the implications of the developments of the plot, because the characters and narrator are at pains to forestall any need to do so by spelling out their motivations and reiterating the significance of every event. Ad nauseam.

The book reads as though the author had written the story, then prepared a high school study guide spelling out in detail the significant points in every scene. And then incorporated the latter into the novel via huge passages of dialogue in which the characters explain everything to the reader at great length in case we weren't paying attention.

I would have love to have read a brutal edit of this one.

1 person found this helpful

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An excellent and entertaining tale

I thoroughly enjoyed this story of literary characters brought into the real world. Definitely recommended!

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Absolutely fantastic!

An utterly captivating and unique fantasy book that is brought to life by the excellent narrator.

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My oh my what a journey.

I loved it, I only wish I had the eloquence to go into just how much without creating a spoiler.

Wonderful concept, characters that I already had a relationship with taken to a higher and very different level.

Bravo author, I am recommending it to my friends as a damned good read/listen.

Thank you.

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Recommended

Really enjoyed this. I'm not one for 'literature ', but I found this hugely accessible and interesting. The blurb covers the plot well enough, so I won't repeat it here.
I listen to oodles of books and the ideas explored in this one are really unique. Exciting and dramatic in places. Great to hear an author voice from New Zealand.
Narration was fine. I occasionally got a bit muddled between the two main male characters, but not enough to detract from my enjoyment. Other characters were clear and well portrayed.