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  • Titus Groan

  • The Gormenghast Trilogy, Book 1
  • By: Mervyn Peake
  • Narrated by: Rupert Degas
  • Length: 5 hrs and 8 mins
  • 4.1 out of 5 stars (97 ratings)

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Titus Groan cover art

Titus Groan

By: Mervyn Peake
Narrated by: Rupert Degas
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Editor reviews

Enter the world of Gormenghast - a vast, meandering city reminiscent of London or Byzantium. New to U.S. audiences, Peake's trilogy, aired on BBC Television in 2000, created a cult following in the UK. Rupert Degas acts out all the parts of this gothic novel with extreme characterizations, based on the BBC show, contrasted with lengthy spates of narrative. On the day Titus, 77th Earl of Gormenghast, is born, a young upstart named Steerpike escapes his hereditary kitchen job to change his life and fortunes. Steerpike encounters many characters, who get bold treatment from narrator Degas. The thick accents and dialogue take some getting used to, especially in the early scenes. Nonetheless, Gormenghast fans will love Degas's performance.

Summary

Deep in the labyrinthine corridors of Gormenghast Castle, a child is born. Titus, 77th Earl of Groan, is heir to arcane and all-embracing rituals that determine the activities of everyone from Lord Sepulchrave, his father, to the vast cook, Swelter, and the irrepressible Dr Prunesquallor. But not the steely and devious Steerpike, who will lie, cheat and even murder to get on.

One of the greatest feats of sustained imaginative writing, the world of Gormenghast Castle is brilliantly realised in this darkly fantastic novel. It's rich description and vivid characters make it one of the most enduringly popular works of the 20th century.

PLEASE NOTE: When you purchase this title, the accompanying reference material will be available in your My Library section along with the audio.

©1973 Mervyn Peake (P)2011 Naxos AudioBooks

What listeners say about Titus Groan

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

A bridged version?

I love this book, and enjoyed the performance, but having read the book several times I realised part way through that this is a shortened version of the text. I didn't spot that anywhere on the listing. To edit this book is to remove the opulent and delicious descriptive prose it is loved for. Disappointing.

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

A Gothic Masterpiece!

Titus Groan is the first part of Mervyn Peake's Gormenghast trilogy. It's regarded as one of the finest fantasy series of all time, and rightly so. It is filled with delightfully grotesque characters, from the skeletal Mr. Flay to the Machiavellian Steerpike, to the blubbery monstrosity that is Mr. Swelter. The characters are fascinating, appalling and oddly human in equal measure. The quality of the writing is first rate. Peake's remarkably evocative prose brings the strange little kingdom of Gormenghast to life beautifully.

Special praise must also go to Rupert Degas, who gives a string of remarkable (and brilliantly voiced) performances which taps into the essence of each character.

This is one of the best audio-books I've ever read and I'd recommend it to anyone.

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3 people found this helpful

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

A good start to a classic series of novels

The opening book in the series sets the scene at Gormenghast and tells the tale of mundanity fascinating only to the officials in charge and us the readers.

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

Expressive narration of a cult classic

An excellent abridged version which manages to keep the best of the story - the wealth of gothic detail comes through in places, as does much of the humour. The abridgement means the narrative moves at quite a pace, and if you are familiar with the novel, as I am, this version is fine for a light listen. It might also be a good way of introducing yourself to Peake's marvellous world. The original book is quite heavy going, with an overabundance of description, grotesque characters and names that out-Dickens the master. Dr Prunesquallor is my favourite, and the characters with their wild idiosyncracies are a particular pleasure. I first read this as a teenager, and became very absorbed in the first two novels, which I have read many times. If you like gothic tales, fantasy and strangeness this will appeal. If you decide to treat yourself to a printed edition of the book, make sure you get a copy with Peake's own illustrations- he was also a very talented artist.

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8 people found this helpful

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

The voices of the narrators are so convincing.

This is a gem of a book and the narration is brilliant. Mervyn Peake is a master at descriptive prose.

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1 person found this helpful

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

really enjoyable

I really enjoyed this book and the narration was very entertaining. I plan to listen to the next in the series.

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

wow

I will never look at an owl in the same way again. great voice acting and a really good intro into the series. the writing is breathtaking.

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

Very interesting

Whilst it took a bit of getting into, I very much enjoyed the story and the performance grew on me.

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

It's abridged! Noooooo!

I love this book, and I've read it a few times before, but I was still excited to see it was read the the ever wonderful Rupert Degas, who is probably my favourite narrator. Unfortunately it's very abridged. My fault for not reading that before hand, but I've had to knock a star off the story, just because I got through it so quickly. didn't even last a full day at work.

Still a magnificent performance of some of the most magical prose. Any chance of a full length one though? Would love to hear Rupert read it. while you're at it could you do Wheel of Time too. thanks!

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

very very abridged. don't bother

didn't realise this was abridged until I was a way through it and can't return it. why abdrige a book whose story depends on the tiny details and meandering plot. however narrator is fantastic the voices are believable and distinctive.

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1 person found this helpful