This book was wonderful. It was also an eyeopener for me. I was truly horrified by the lives these people live - the corruption and murder as a way of life. The story was so sad and so passionately written, I actually cried. I did not believe the author could equal or outdo "Exile" but this book was absolutely just as good. I can't wait for his next book!
The combination of the monotonous narration and the book itself makes this the worst book I have ever bought from audible.
1. Narration. The narrator reads this book as if it is SERIOUS and IMPORTANT. This leads to a plodding narration which, among other things, completely distorts the dialogue between the characters - the characters don't sound like they are conversing, but merely making pronouncements (although this is *also* a problem with the writing). The most annoying thing about the narration is that the narrator pauses as long on most commas as he does at periods. This is both distracting. And annoying.
2. The book.
I've been to Africa and am generally sympathetic to the author's POV. But the best way to address the history of colonialism in Africa *in a novel* is *not* to have characters recite 10 minute long speeches on the evils of colonialism. That's both tedious and unrealistic. Show us, don't tell us!
An atheist lawyer in a biracial extra-marital relationship coming to the rescue of the "noble savage" corrupted by the white man's evil oil. Please.....If they had a PC meter, this one would be off the chart. A good author wasting his talent on a political polemic. Michael Crichton's successor.
This wasn't a bad book at all.. but it's a lot of talking and not much action. The story is good and it kept my interest but I felt a little like I was in school. Glad I paid 6.95 and not a whole credit.
Before Eclipse I read Exile, which made it a bit impossible to really get in to Eclipse because it seemed like the same story; American male attorney friends with a married female activist in danger, [insert human rights crisis here]. All it all it was good however I could not help but feel like I was in a formula rather than a story, Eclipse is the Africa version of Exile, and Exile the Middle East version of Eclipse more or less.
I feel cheated by "Eclipse" and have said more than once as I listened to this newest epic that I feel as if this is 14 hours of my life I will never regain.
Starting with the positive. The narration is extraordinary! Mr. James manages to keep numerous characters and different genders and nationalities from blurring together. The narration is the sole reason that I was able to finish listening to this novel at all. It was a grueling listen, but that is not the fault of the narrator.
The problem with the book is the in-your-face themes: African dictators are evil; American government complicit in the evil doings of said dictators; Oil is bad for the African people and for the environment. Yep... I get it. I got it the first seventeen or eighteen times the themes appeared in the story, somewhere around the first hour or two into the story, out of fourteen hours. Patterson's politics are always a part of his story: pro-Choice, pro-gun regulation, feminist. I am familiar with his thematic writing and, even when I disagree with his politics, I have always enjoyed the stories about the people he uses to portray the issues.
Here, where I agree with the author's political agenda, the story was too frequently interrupted by Patterson's preaching and editorializing. His usual character and storyline development was overshadowed by the repeated droning about how bad the oil industry is and how much it harms the African people. No one who understands the issue didn't get the message in the first few hours (first 150 pages...?). Those who cannot (or choose not to) understand the issue aren't going get through the story (or buy the book in the first place).
Patterson's usually likable, but flawed, characters are lost in this story's attempt to change the World. I believe it was Jack Warner who said "if you want to send a message, use Western Union." Patterson would have been wise to listen to that advice.
A great read. Lots of details that required the listener to give the story line their full concentration.