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The Vault

Audible Original
Length: 5 hrs and 4 mins
4.5 out of 5 stars (68 ratings)

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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.

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  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars
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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 of 2 people found this review helpful

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    4 out of 5 stars
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    4 out of 5 stars

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.

11 of 14 people found this review helpful

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    3 out of 5 stars
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    5 out of 5 stars

245 books in and my first dramatisation

firstly. great story. ending was a bit curtailed. felt a wee bit like a certain time limit had been met, so we better shut up!! but great characters.

and the dramatisation... not for me I'm afraid. I found the music distracting. and certain voices felt edited in and not part of the flow.


I'm others will love. not me.

I'm back off to find an unabridged and single narrator book with no sweeping keyboard chords!!

3 of 4 people found this review helpful

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    5 out of 5 stars
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Spectacular

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

2 of 3 people found this review helpful

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    5 out of 5 stars
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Unstoppable listen.

One of Thee best books iv ever listened and believe me I have many an audio book.
The narration is perfectly in tune with each character.
The story itself is very authentic, unpredictable and an excellent plot.
Would highly recommend.

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Who edited the sound on this thing??

The story and performance are good enough but the sound is all over the place. Goes from inaudibly quiet requiring the volume all the way up, changing in the next moment with no warning to deafeningly loud. Required constant adjustment. Unbearable.

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Interesting story and great performances

At first I was slightly confused by the characters speaking their own thoughts instead of the narrator doing it for them, but once I got used to it, it felt more natural and worked really well for maintaining the atmosphere. It was a good mix of audio drama and classic audio book, giving the feel of immediate action but also providing additional exposition through the narrator which pure audio drama couldn't offer. I chose the book because of Colin Morgan in the role of Jimmy and as usual he gave a great performance, but the whole cast was great and made the dramatization flow quite nicely. The story itself isn't something I'd normally choose but it definitely worked for me. There were a lot of moments that kept me on the edge of my seat.

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    5 out of 5 stars
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BRILLIANT

got this book out because of colin Morgan and was not disappointed it was great to hear him using his owe ascent
love the story the twist and turns who could he trust certainly not Mackintosh.
really recommend

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  • MR
  • 08-11-19

Loved it.

Great story. Hoping this sets up a series like the John Milton one! Many thanks.

0 of 1 people found this review helpful

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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!

2 of 2 people found this review helpful

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    5 out of 5 stars
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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.

1 of 1 people found this review helpful