The Audible Dickens Collection14 books in series
Barnaby Rudge Summary
Jason Watkins, the award-winning stage and screen actor best known for his roles in The Lost Honour and A Very English Scandal, masterfully performs this brand-new recording of Barnaby Rudge; first published in 1841, it was Dickens’ fifth title and his first historical novel.
Set against the backdrop of the Gordon Riots of 1780, Barnaby Rudge reflects back on a time of revolt against the British parliament, following the Catholic Relief Act of 1778.
Leading to the death of hundreds and the total destruction of Newgate Prison as well as various Catholic chapels, Dickens was deeply disturbed by this violent moment in British history. Paired with his continuing brushes with poverty and disaster, he decided to instil within the novel, both a sense out outrage at the politicians who recklessly endangered the lives of so many as well as a powerful and progressive moral code for future generations.
About the book
Barnaby Rudge follows the lives of three very different characters: the eponymous Barnaby, a kind albeit slow-witted young man; the romantic and overly idealistic Joe Willet; and the nobleman, son of a leading London politician, Edward Chester.
Their lives, as well as the lives of those they love and despise, are interconnected in this thrilling, mysterious and wholly romantic Dickensian adventure.
Opening with the threat of an unsolved double murder, the narrative quickly turns to blackmail, conspiracy, abduction and revenge. Set against the politically charged backdrop of the late 1700s, the three protagonists weave in and out of poignant historical events seamlessly, and the listener is taken on a dark, gothic and electrifying journey.
About the author
With his father incarcerated, Charles Dickens had to abandon his studies at a young age and set to work in a factory so as to support himself. Despite his short-lived education, Dickens went on to write 15 novels and various articles, novellas and short stories. These include Hard Times, Bleak House, Oliver Twist, Martin Chuzzlewit, Little Dorrit and A Tale of Two Cities. He lectured and led campaigns for children's rights and education and arguably became the ultimate self-made man.
About the narrator
Jason Watkins is a BAFTA award-winning and Olivier Award nominated stage, film and television actor. He is perhaps best known for playing the lead role in two-part drama The Lost Honour of Christopher Jefferies, for which he won the BAFTA TV Award for Best Actor of 2015.
He recently appeared in A Very English Scandal, Line of Duty and Inside No 9. He played Simon Harwood in W1A, Herrick in Being Human, Gavin in Trollied and Gordon Shakespeare in the Nativity! film series. He plays Harold Wilson in the forthcoming Series 3 of The Crown.