I loved it! I have read this book a number of times and in different translation but it was great to listen to it while on the road.
First, Sienkiewicz is one of my favorite authors, and it is a shame that Audible doesn’t offer more of his works. Quo Vadis would only rank in the middle of the pack, with many better books out there. Please record more!
Some reviews complain about the translation, there is not a mistake here; Sienkiewicz is writing a book about things that happened about 30 years after the death of Christ, so he tried to make the language sound contemporary to the bible. It makes sense in the story. Admittedly Frederick Davidson’s narration may make this a little worse to people who are sensitive to something that sounds "old", as he does have a very formal British accent. Personally Davidson is one of my favorite narrators on Audible, and I feel he does great work with this Nobel Prize winning novel. While on one hand this is a novel about Christians in Rome (one of the better books in this genera), it may also be interesting that the author wrote this in a partitioned Poland. Not all the jabs are just about the historic decadence of Rome.
This is the 1888 translation by William Morris and Eirikr Magnusson. The first 48 minutes of the audio book are an essay, by H. Halliday Sparling, putting the work in its contextual and literary perspective, followed by an 8 minute translators’ preface. You could skip this part(the first two tracks) if you like, but I felt they were a great benefit, not a hindrance. After that you get a solid reading of The Volsunga Saga. Remember this is a 13th century work, not a 21st century story of high fiction. You get a lot of names and short stories, not a long flowing narrative. It is a great resource for lovers of the early literature and the cultures it deals with.
The Master and Margarita lurches violently between different tones farcical, romantic, surreal, tragic, and back again). I enjoyed parts of it more than others. The chapters that actually deal with the eponymous Master and Margarita and their pact with the devil and his minions are wonderful: poetic, intellectual and comic, often all at the same time. Unfortunately, it takes a long time to get to these sections, as much of the novel consists of farcical satire on various comical minor characters who are probably funny if you are familiar with life in 1930s Moscow, but merely feel like a lot of irritating wittering if you're not. I found myself frequently wanting to hit the chapter skip button.
Still, this may be just a matter of personal taste, and if anyone can get you through the more irksome chapters, it's Julian Rhind-Tutt, whose performance is quite brilliant, capturing the mixture of tones extremely well, injecting a scabrous nastiness into the farcical scenes, and giving the Devil a wonderfully lugubrious smugness.
The ending is spellbinding and I'm glad I persisted with this audiobook. It's a slog sometimes, but it's worth the journey.