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Mark Dawson has drawn wonderful characters in The Vault that you really believe in and I was totally rooting for Jimmy. Action-packed and full of thrilling twists and turns, you'll find yourself walking around the block so that you can keep on listening!

- Frances, Audible Editor

Summary

West Berlin, 1986. 

The Cold War has not yet thawed, political tensions inspire bloody retribution and trust is a rare commodity - even amongst allies.  

Harry Mackintosh is the head of MI6’s Berlin Station. When four of his best field agents are murdered by the Stasi during a failed defection operation, he has no choice but to respond. East German intelligence has become increasingly ruthless. MI6 has been overrun. Mackintosh knows that he won’t be able to fight back, unless he’s provided with a new kind of operative.  

London.  

Belfast-born Jimmy Walker is a career criminal, desperate to leave the world of organised crime behind. He’s made just enough money to think about going straight. He wants to be a family man. He wants to stay alive for his wife and son. He wants to be the man they deserve.  

He reluctantly agrees to one final job with the intention that it will be his last.  

Little does Jimmy know that he’s been set-up. The sins of his past are about to catch up with him.  

Framed, arrested and imprisoned, Jimmy is about to become a pawn in the politics, corruption and underground conflicts of Europe. Mackintosh appears in Jimmy’s Scotland Yard cell and makes him an offer. Go to Berlin to serve Queen and Country and he will be pardoned. The alternative? A life behind bars. Jimmy has no choice but to accept. He infiltrates East Berlin and, operating under cover as an arms buyer for the IRA, he works his way to the heart of the Stasi machine until he locates the defector. But all is not as it seems. Mackintosh has an ulterior motive. So does Jimmy. Neither man can trust the other and, as their objectives clash, it looks as if only one of them is going to get out alive. 

Set in divided Berlin at a pivotal moment in history, and soaked in '80s nostalgia, The Vault is a thrilling adventure set in Mark Dawson’s million-selling Group Fifteen world.    

Featuring: Atilla Akinci, Laila Alj Philip Arditti, Kieran Brown, Ben Cartwright, Stephen Critchlow, Vera Filatova, Kobna Holdbrook-Smith, Gerran Howell, David Menkin, Colin Morgan, Harry Myers, Erich Redman, Mac Keith Roach, Lizzie-Aaryn Stanton and David Thorpe.

©2018 Mark Dawson (P)2019 Audible, Ltd

Behind the scenes of The Vault

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Mark Dawson

About the author

Mark Dawson is a prolific thriller writer best known for his espionage hero John Milton. Born in 1973 in the seaside town of Lowestoft, Dawson embarked on a career as a lawyer while writing in his spare time. Discovering independent self-publishing, Dawson made his name through e-books and forged a direct connection to his readership.

Dawson has entered into a strong partnership with Audible, who produce exclusive audiobooks of the Milton series; 2018’s Twelve Days being the fifteenth adventure. His Beatrix Rose spin-off series features a female assassin working for a government kill squad, with several Audible audiobook adaptations available. Beginning with White Devil in 2015, other releases include 2019’s Tempest.

Colin Morgan

About the performer

Colin Morgan's theatre credits include Translations (The National Theatre); Gloria (Hampstead Theatre); Mojo (Harold Pinter Theatre); The Tempest (Shakespeare's Globe); Our Private Life (Royal Court); A Prayer For My Daughter, Vernon God Little (Young Vic) and All About My Mother (The Old Vic).

Colin's television credits include Humans, The Living and The Dead, The Fall and Merlin.

His film credits include The Happy Prince, Legend, Testament of Youth, Island and Waiting for You.

Kobna Holdbrook-Smith

About the performer

Born in Ghana and raised in Surrey, Kobna Holdbrook-Smith is an Olivier award-winning stage and screen actor and audiobook narrator. A teenage curiosity about acting grew into a resolution that nothing else would do. Early television roles were in shows as diverse as Little Britain and Judge John Deed. He has been seen on the big screen in Paddington 2, Mary Poppins Returns and super-hero movies Justice League and Doctor Strange.

On stage, he has appeared at the National, the Globe, the Young Vic and the National Theater of Korea in works by August Wilson, Bertolt Brecht and Tom Stoppard as well as Sophocles and Shakespeare. In 2019 Holdbrook-Smith won the Olivier Award for Leading Actor in a Musical for his performance as Ike Turner in TINA: The Tina Turner Musical.

Kobna Holdbrook-Smith is the regular narrator of Ben Aaronvitch’s Rivers of London series and is now synonymous with the series. He also contributed to Audible’s Dickens Collection with his performance of Nicholas Nickleby and has also read several other titles. His voice is often heard on Radio 4, appearing in On Her Majesty’s Secret Service opposite Toby Stephens’ James Bond, and as John the Disciple in Judas.

What listeners say about The Vault

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

Fun story, infuriating production

A compelling story that had me wondering how things would play out right to the very end. The performances are solid and engaging. The cast do a great job bringing this to life. But the production was so all over the place. One minute I’m straining to hear the dialogue so I nudge the volume up. The next, I’m being deafened by the narrator. The musical breaks at the start of each chapter are unnecessary too, but I’m nitpicking. Overall, it was certainly worth a credit.

5 people found this helpful

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Quiet Audio Play

My first 'audio play' book. I'm a fan of Mark Dawson, and read many of his books. I was however disappointed with this 'perfomance'. Good story, let down by, at times, very quiet dialogue (I missed quite a lot, even at full volume throughout). I also found the long, quiet pauses between chapters, followed by unnecessarily long 'dramatic' music, just wasn't to my taste. As I said though, a good story & I listened through to the end.

8 people found this helpful

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Audio needs to be reworked to level up the voices

Enjoyable story and liked the length. But Audible should not be selling this while the sound track varies so much - very loud narrator then whispers from the cast. Impossible to listen to on headphones unless you have your volume control to hand. Would not take much to equalise the volumes and make the whole thing enjoyable.

2 people found this helpful

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Good

Apart from the low level audio dialog and musical intermissions, it was a good story linking into characters from other series from Dawson. Good cast of actors.

2 people found this helpful

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The Vault

an excellent audio book. great characters. and Mr Bloom showing up from the Isabella rose books. you have excelled yourself Mr Dawson.

2 people found this helpful

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Vaulting Ambition!

This is a great comic-book caper from Audible. It’s set back to the late 80s when I was in my prime, heading out into the world and what a world it was with momentous events just around the corner. Dawson and the team have tapped into this quite nicely and this is a good, fun production that apes those times and doesn’t try to be too gritty or realistic with its plotting or characterisation. The recipe is an extensive one with MI6, the Stasi and even other secret services being mixed into the dough. Add to that, Jimmy, the wildcard Irish character and it all fizzes along nicely never aiming for any great sophistication or depth. The soundscape is decent and adds nicely to the enthusiastic performances though if you don’t listen under very good conditions you will find that on a few occasions the characters descend into whispers and you’re likely to need to skip back just occasionally to pick it all up. The way it’s written is almost an invite to Tom Cruise to come and do the Hollywood treatment on it, it has that feel of clinging to just enough reality to have the popcorn thriller vibe to it. It’s well worth a credit on that basis but John le Carré aficionados might not get so much out of it.

12 people found this helpful

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An interesting reminder of the 1980s Cold War (and with focus on the Berlin Wall perhaps timely in current world politics)

A big fan of Dawson’s Milton, I was sold on this as soon as I saw the cast (pretty much anything with David Thorpe and Kobna Holdbrook-Smith in it is going to be a winner for me). After actively getting my ear in during the scene setting chapters I found I was completely absorbed in the political spy world of the late 1980s. And I couldn’t help wondering why current world politics hasn’t learnt from the lessons of the past.

1 person found this helpful

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A tired plot

A tried plot of spies, East V West comic book heroes and villains which lacked imagination. The cast and performance however were good.

1 person found this helpful

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Spectacular

A truly entertaining audio read. Congratulations to everybody who took part in this production. Highly recommended.

2 people found this helpful

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Not your usual narrative

This seems to be a new style of book. Rather than a simple narrator, there are characters, i.e. lots of voices. At first this takes a little while to adjust to, because you use your own imagination a lot less. However, I stopped listening after about 20 minutes as the speaker volumes just varied too much. It was like the main narrator was shouting and the actors whispering. I was missing chunks of the storyline, as I simply could not hear the speakers, and so I turned it off, which is a shame as it sounded like it would have been a good book,

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  • Amazon Customer
  • 01-11-19

It grabbed my attention and wouldn’t let go!

I only got a few minutes into this audiobook before I was hooked. This story is intriguing and unpredictable, reminding me a bit of “The Man from UNCLE” in that two very different characters form an unlikely partnership (founded on blackmail) to carry out a seemingly impossible mission. Although they work together, neither character really trusts the other. I spent the entire audiobook on the edge of my seat wondering what would happen next! There were a few plot twists towards the end that I didn’t see coming. 🙂 Great performances by all of the actors! As a frequent audiobook listener, I sometimes find audiobooks in which at least one performance is either dull/monotone or overly dramatic in a way that distracts from the storyline. In this audiobook, however, I enjoyed all of the performances! It was an interesting change to have the characters themselves narrating their thoughts instead of having the narrator tell all of those thoughts in third person. I think that this technique kept me more engaged and less reminded of the fact that the story is “not real life.” In summary, I enjoyed this audiobook and hope to find more like it!

3 people found this helpful

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  • ZUrlocker
  • 09-02-20

Decent story, terrible adaptation

Unfortunately, this is a decent book spoiled by an awful adaptation. I am fine with a cast performance, or a radio style dramatization. The BBC does this spectacularly well. Unfortunately, this one falls into no man's land. Dawson's writing on his own is quite good. This is an obvious homage to Le Carre's works such as Smiley's People. It's not quite up to the same standard, the plot is a bit thin, the build-up weak. But the writing is still enjoyable. The cast is good when they aren't choking on lines that aren't in the original book. Unfortunately they are too frequently speaking a redundant narrative directly to the reader along the lines of: "Boy, I sure am worried about (the Nazis / this tunnel / my family / getting home) or whatever." You are better off with the ebook version. Or some other adaptation.

2 people found this helpful

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    2 out of 5 stars
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  • Trudy Owens
  • 17-01-20

at least there's narration

The problem with these cast-of-thousands productions is you cannot tell who is speaking. And with the sound effects, you can't tell who is walking, who is knocking, who is sitting. It's like watching a movie but with the screen blacked out. All you get is the audio and no clues as to what is going on. This book is a little better than some because we have the wonderful David Thorpe narrating, which does fill in some of the questions. I listened for less than half an hour but there's no Milton, so that's a drag. However, there are many people who seem to like this type of program, so maybe it will work for you.

2 people found this helpful

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  • Chris Y
  • 02-11-19

Compelling Audio Style

Well done perfectly cast production. Three methods of performance that flow together seamlessly: straight narration to provide background and setting, character dialogue in current setting, and selected character monologue of inner thoughts and struggles of conscience providing description and ambience. And my favorite audio performer, Colin Morgan, who does not disappoint. So there's that. Also my first introduction to Kobna Holdbrook-Smith. I'll be seeking out more of his work.

2 people found this helpful

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  • Zanoni Daniele
  • 12-05-20

Compelling

Nice story, excellent narration, interesting characters. The story is placed in the end of the eighties, just before the fall of Berlin's wall and involves Northern Ireland, England, West and East Germany. Colin Morgan is again awesome in the way he reads his character.

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  • Carol A. Pelosi
  • 31-03-20

Great Ensemble

Having lived through the fall of the Berlin Wall this was an interesting take on what might have been happening behind the headlines. Cast was uniformly good, but standout is Colin Morgan as Jimmy.

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  • beng caturay
  • 22-12-19

came alive

The background music , sound effects and multiple narrator truly brought out the story...much like watching a movie.....better than a movie!

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    5 out of 5 stars
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  • Todd
  • 01-12-19

Captivated

I was eager to listen to this book having read the description. I am a lover of Dawson’s books, all the series - and this one doesn’t disappoint!!! Outstanding presentation! I couldn’t stop.... the casting was fantastic and the added reading by Mark the author also fit wonderfully. Plus the story - regarding the early early days of Group 15, or the formation of, really gripping! I LOVED it!!!!