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The Vagrant

Narrated by: Jot Davies
Series: The Vagrant, Book 1
Length: 13 hrs and 24 mins
4.0 out of 5 stars (228 ratings)

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Summary

The Vagrant is his name. He has no other. Years have passed since humanity's destruction emerged from the Breach.

Friendless and alone he walks across a desolate, war-torn landscape. As each day passes the world tumbles further into depravity, bent and twisted by the new order, corrupted by the Usurper, the enemy, and his infernal horde. His purpose is to reach the Shining City, last bastion of the human race, and deliver the only weapon that may make a difference in the ongoing war. What little hope remains is dying.

Abandoned by its leader, The Seven, and its heroes, The Seraph Knights, the last defences of a once great civilisation are crumbling into dust. But the Shining City is far away and the world is a very dangerous place.

©2015 Peter Newman (P)2015 HarperCollins Publishers Limited

What listeners say about The Vagrant

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    4 out of 5 stars
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    4 out of 5 stars

Weird…but I think I liked it


Story – 4/5

I found the Vagrant hard work a lot of the time. I had to try really hard to concentrate what exactly was happening, and I am still not entirely sure I understand it fully. I think reading the novel instead of listening probably would have made this easier. It hasn’t put me off though, I just feel like I should re-listen to it. The world is very complex; taking on a fantasy/sci-fi mix of a post demon apocalyptic setting, but with some futuristic technology involved such as brain enhancing chips, rocket launcher weaponry etc.

It is very unique. At first it reminded me of Glen Cook’s style of writing; concise, but rich prose, but in reflection, was probably closer to Mark Lawrence’s Broken Empire trilogy – although still very different to anything I have ever listened to/read. One of my favourite parts of the book is Peter Newman’s use of the English language; his metaphors, similes and use of short sentences were perfect in setting the scene.

The thing that makes this story stand out the most is the prominent parental aspect, where the vagrant is looking after a baby (and a goat!) while travelling an unforgiving and brutal world; carrying an infectious goodness about him that doesn’t really exist elsewhere. It’s unusual enough to write parts of the story from the baby’s point of view, but Newman even writes some parts from the goat’s perspective – and I quite liked it.

The ending was very underwhelming as I thought it was building up to something big, but in reflection – the story was more about the journey. I fully expect Peter Newman to write sequels to this, as people will want to know what happens to that baby when she grows up.

I can see a lot of people hating this one, but I thought it was good.


Performance – 4/5

The performance is a tough one to judge properly. The reading is very slow, with large gaps in-between sentences. I found that speeding it up to x1.25 though was spot on, and removes this issue completely. You may even get away with x1.5.

I quite liked Jot Davies as a reader; he set the atmosphere of the novel nicely by really performing the story. I can see why a previous reviewer has stated the need to add impact to every word, but it worked nicely for me, and maybe felt toned down at the slightly higher speed.

His voice acting was about as distinct as you can get it. There was no subtlety at all, each being extremely different. It did mean you had lots of accents from all around the UK, but once again, this worked for me personally, as he acted them out extremely well. Some of the baby talking moments were a bit much, but these were infrequent.

I would recommend listening to sample to see if you can cope with his style.


Overall – 4/5

10 people found this helpful

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Unusual and compelling

Some great ideas in this book - I struggled at the start with an unusual style of telling, but quickly grew to love it!
And I want a goat! 😃

4 people found this helpful

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Fantastic fantasy.

This was a well written book with likable characters and plenty of humour and emotional beats.
The world building is thorough and done without the use of exposition dumps, everything just flows from the story.
The ending is nice but lacks slightly, but all the more reason to read book 2!

2 people found this helpful

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An ugly tale beautifully told.

An ugly tale beautifully told by author and narrator. Powerful imagery with an original perspective, never read or heard a story like this before and loved it from beginning to end.

2 people found this helpful

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    4 out of 5 stars
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intriguing and captivating debut novel

This book was not like any I've read before. With 3 out of 4 of the main protagonists not speaking and the poetic brief sketch-like descriptions of the world, events and people intrigued and fasinated me as the story slowly unfurled driven by the reactions of others to the vagrant , the baby and the goat as they travel through a distopian apocoliptic fantastical world. I was always left with more questions every time I paused from the story. Who is the vagrant? where is he going? and why are just some. The answers are revealed slowly and with great care. this book has an old saga/parable like quality that reminds me of beowolf ( i can't really say why it does ,I read beowolf as a kid at school over 20 years ago) and the morality gives an almost biblical taste. Some might say its over written which can often happen with a debut novel but i think the author succeeded in producing a unique and beautiful book. It fasinated me how the characters of this world reacted to the vagrant and his companions and him to them and how his journey changed those he meets and the world they live in
the story is well paced but the naration is a little slow but played at 1.25 speed rectifies this if you find it too slow. If your looking for olts of action and epic battles or you don't like poetry then you may not like this book

2 people found this helpful

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Grows on you

After initially wanting to put it aside, the book gradually grew on me and I have to say; not too shabb

1 person found this helpful

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    3 out of 5 stars
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Passed the time

Good idea for a story but not alot of thought put in it. Basically follows the main character travelling, no depth to the story and no character progression. No real storyline but saying that it was engaged enough that I didn't stop listening.

1 person found this helpful

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An interesting read

I kinda liked this book. It was certainly interesting. The story telling is unusual, as other reviewers have said but don't let put you off. There's room in the world for different styles.

1 person found this helpful

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  • Mr
  • 06-08-16

A suprisingly addictive read

I didn't have any real knowledge or expectation of this book apart from the odd one line comment I stumbled across online from time to time, but I thoroughly enjoyed this audio book from start to finish, for some reason I really took a shine to the goat :-)

1 person found this helpful

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Brilliant story, vivid reading

This is a brilliant story written with intelligence, humour and wit. The characters are arresting and interesting - I did not expect a mute protagonist to be so gripping! There is courage in the face of overwhelming odds; evil insidious and terrifying; humour - both human and animal; heartbreak and the wonder of redemption. It's a long time since I met characters as interesting as the eponymous Vagrant, the fascinating Harm and the domineering baby in arms! Will there be a sequel? Oh I do hope so.

1 person found this helpful

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  • Alexandra
  • 18-08-15

It was the concept and the prose that kept me goin

Any additional comments?

The story itself had issues, very little happens and you really never get a chance to understand what is happening. While it can be refreshing not to have that ten page conversation where the characters blatantly explain their universe for the sake of the reader, I could have used a little more explanation. I patiently waited and one simply never came. The story also ends and I feel that nothing is really resolved. That being said the way that this story is told is absolutely phenomenal. Only one of the main characters actually speaks (and not until a good way through) you get to know our protagonist "vagrant" solely through his actions, you never get to hear his thoughts, it was really a brilliant and imaginative way to tell the story (I just wish the story itself had been a little less vague).

9 people found this helpful

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  • Bennion J. Archer
  • 15-07-17

Not for everyone, but if its for you...

It straddles the line between horrible madness and amazing clarity in equal prepositions. It is fascinating piece in the genre whether you love it or hate it.
It stands out for how different it manages to be despite existing in well trod territory, post-post-apocalyptic fantasy. Insane most times, but lands surprisingly grounded when it needs to hit hard.
Every piece of concept and execution is fascinating to deconstruct and consider, especially in the context of the genre and its conventions. Anyone interested in narrative construction and tools, or even vocal performance--strange but effective here as well--will find The Vagrant instructive and disorienting regardless of how you feel about the actual story as entertainment.
The negative reviews are very understandable. It really isn't for everyone. For me its brilliant and fascinating. So I leave it with a tentative general recommendation. I think anyone should buy it, if they are okay with that they may not like it. Its a stand out for boldness in an increasingly static field. Listen through and decide what you do and don't like and why, you'll be a better reader and critic for it.

7 people found this helpful

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  • Levi
  • 07-08-16

Best narration and a change from the normal story.

I need to start by saying this is not the kinda book you can half listen to. You can't fade in and out knowing it will work out as it should. You are thrown into the world, New things are introduced and you have to roll with it till you figure it out. The sentences are dense with information and the wording can suggest what is happing with out slaming you in face.

The main character is incredibly human in motivation and decsions. Not hero or anti-hero but a person.

The narration is the best I have heard so far in an audio book. Jot Davies does an amazing job. Everything from a monster to a baby and he nailed it.

If you're a reader, can handle not being mollycoddled and can eaither focus on the book or don't mind going back 30s now and then, it's a great book for something different and a solid book in itself. Again amazing narration.

5 people found this helpful

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  • Amazon Customer
  • 07-03-19

too good to miss

I don't write many reviews. basically none. but it must be said that the narration for this book is some of if not the best I've heard. I've listened to countless books on audible and this one clearly stands out as great. on top of that the story is highly original and the way it is told is done very, very well. Case in point, the way he describes the goat and baby's parts ( non talking characters) is brilliant. the best way I can describe the story spoiler-free is: it feels post apocalyptic yet in a fantasy setting. I came across this basically because I have literally read (heard) almost every "popular" fantasy series and was looking for something new. if you find yourself in the sane position, definitely try this one out.

1 person found this helpful

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    4 out of 5 stars
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  • Beester
  • 03-06-15

A Unique Premise For Me

Would you listen to The Vagrant again? Why?

The narration had such a depth and surprise at times that I reveled in listening to it each day and even found myself limiting myself to a couple of chapter to ensure I had more to listen to the next day.

Who was your favorite character and why?

Surprisingly, the goat was my favorite character. True to form but qualities that many humans should be jealous to develop and obtain. Also the perfect quote "he was plotting revenge".

What about Jot Davies’s performance did you like?

His ability to change of the voice characterizations so they were unique and if you didn't know it was one narrator you would think multiple individuals were narrating the work.

Was there a moment in the book that particularly moved you?

"Spoilers"





When the Hammer fell, it bothered me deeply. I know why this is but very few works have even began to emote that type of emotion from me but The Vagrant did.

Any additional comments?

A unique premise to have a character that is mute but able to convey a wide range of emotions and actions all without words was brilliant. The premise of the book with evil having invaded their world gave to the inner essence of all beings and the turmoil that they face each day. What do you do with it? Good, evil, combination of both is a question that all of humanity wrestles with and will identify within The Vagrant.

3 people found this helpful

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    3 out of 5 stars
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    1 out of 5 stars
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    3 out of 5 stars
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  • brett bankson
  • 07-10-16

Hated the performance

The way the reader talks is frustrating, it's like a constant pausing for dramatic effect! I did enjoy the story quite a lot. Wish I would've read it instead of listened to it.

4 people found this helpful

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    5 out of 5 stars
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  • Bg55
  • 21-09-20

Phenomenal, elegant, captivating.

The book simply blew me away, I haven't truly taken the time to *read* in years, because I thought i didn't have the time, but The Vagrant drew me in like no other, I listened every day to and from work, in an earbud as I worked or shopped, constantly. I couldn't get enough. The world is grimdark, but never loses that spark of hope and defiance of the dark, drama and sorrow punctuated by awestruck moments of praise for a child, and humor from sources as unlikely as a goat. I loved, that goat. The story expertly dances back and forth between characters, past, and present, yet distinguishes them all - even moreso by the excellently poetic narrator's varied voices - the only voice i didn't like being Harm, a lovable supporting character who i felt sounded a tad too meek. The story doesnt need to over explain to you details. Exact words or actions arent necessary. It trusts you to understand: When the Vagrant's sword sings; someone has died. The world itself is also a lovely unique setting, at first i believed it to be medieval fantasy, swords and sandals. Then laser cannons and firearms came into the mix and I realized how wrong I was; humanity has well advanced, it's merely crippled to a shadow of it's former self. Society, barely clinging on. The farmers' mob of pitchforks has again replaced the shotgun as the peoples' protection. Swords have their place, of course, special forging techniques allowing them to slay denizens of the dark that a lead bullet could not, though laser and plasma seem to work just as well against the lesser foes. The Vagrant, is the tale of a young man whose lost everything, in a world which has done the same, desperately searching for a way to preserve the innocence of the past. My wife is pregnant, and this will absolutely be my soon-daughter's bedtime story a few years down the line.

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    3 out of 5 stars
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    5 out of 5 stars
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  • Averi Alderdyce
  • 11-08-20

Great story, Narration ruined it

Terrible narration. I felt like I was at a poetry slam and with every long dramatic pause I expected to hear people start snapping their fingers. The only thing, and I mean the only thing, that helped me push through was the story. The dramatic inflection, the characters voices, and the pause every five words ruined this book. Wish I would have read it, not listened to it.

  • Overall
    3 out of 5 stars
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    4 out of 5 stars
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    3 out of 5 stars
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  • Vincent Sammartine
  • 01-06-20

Intriguing at first, but kind of falls apart

I was intrigued by the story at first. The protagonist is an interesting concept and well done. There's a good bit of mystery and imagination that you will enjoy as the reader at first. By the end, I was resenting this lack of detail which felt a lot more like the author was just glazing over everything: plot points, character and location descriptions, battles. While I was satisfied with the ending, I also felt like it was rushed. Overall, the narration was excellent, the concept and characters were very good, but the execution was just okay.

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    2 out of 5 stars
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    2 out of 5 stars
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    3 out of 5 stars
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  • Amazon Customer
  • 16-01-20

Not my cup of tea...

The story is in third person which is fine, but the actual description style is dry. It also seems to leave alot of background information out to a point where it's like looking at the character on a white sheet. The guy speaking is also sub-par, he takes excessive amounts of pauses, he might only get 5 words before stopping to inhale loudly. yeah this is just not the book for me 💁‍♂️