NYC | Member Since 2015
Good yarn. Loved the accounts of WWII historical events in the Soviet Union, the USA, England and Germany, all of which I assume have been rigorously researched. For me the book was worth 35 hours of listening for that alone. I do feel some of these characters are retreads from Pillars of the Earth and World Without End.. kind of two dimensional. Also that the characters are repeatedly coincidentally running into one another and being placed at every major historical event is kind of ridiculous but, I suppose, necessary to provide first person reports. If you do not have an encyclopedic knowledge of the events leading up to and during WWII and you would like a better knowledge of them and like a good yarn, this is the book for you. Also, it was fun to follow the characters from the Fall of Giants.
I read the Casual Vacancy and became a believer in the author. She made a compelling story out of a group of generally unlikeable people. This book, compared to the Casual Vacancy, is out of the starting blocks pretty quickly. It's a very English detective yarn. The detective prefers to be a man of few words but he is never at a loss for words when those aristocratic English types (that the author seems to despise) try to put him in his place or mislead him. It is a very good detective story with the requisite twists and turns and a side lost love story. But I realized when I read the next book that I had been totally taken over by the narrator, Robert Glenister. I about to do a search for every book he has narrated Was the book that good or did the narrator make it that good?
Not an easy story for me to keep up with in the audio book form due to the Turkish names and the detailed description of Turkish and Persian miniatures and miniaturists, It is the story of a murder within the Ottoman community of court sponsored miniaturists but also an examination of the brutality of Ottoman system and the stultifying effects of an ever narrowing Islamic clerical interpretation of what kind of art is permissible. Although I found the book sometimes tedious and sometimes difficult to follow, it has stayed with since I read it. John Lee is an over-the-top narrator with his old fashioned rolling "r's" and English acting style but his seeming command of Turkish words is amazing as well as his abililty to portray different characters.
This book has been compared to Gone Girl. I see similarities between the stories.. narration by two neurotic women of stories involving murder.. But for audible listeners there there is the bonus of wonderful performances by the readers. The reader for the main character in this book is, I assume, Clare Corbett. She speaks the crispest of English English. She could read the phone book for me. Like many satisfying books for me , the neurosis or idiosyncrasies of the main character become tedious to the point of nearly quitting and then the book turns a corner and gathers speed.
I write this after listening to the Pillars of Earth series and the Century Trilogy and something like 250 hours of John Lee performances. Many things in this book make me cringe as in the preceding books.. mainly mixing historical figures with the fictional characters and some of the horrific American accents John Lee affects. That said, I could not stop listening and I have developed an affection for Mr. Lee. He is an amazing actor even if some of his accents are way over the top. The coincidences and chance meetings are not credible. The characterizations tend to be two dimensional. But this book is a true guilty pleasure and as with the prior books the recitation of historical events made me rethink my understanding of those events.,
I gave this book a 4 overall because it is bit repetitive and somethings a little tedious. Also I thought the reader (a real pro) was not right for a news story like this. But the "story" is, to me, super important. This book is basically an indictment of the excesses brought about since 9/11 by the endless War Against Terror. It covers the fantastic waste of money in Iraq and Afghanistan both through corruption and the use of worthless contractors, the violation of our laws and ideals through the wholesale adoption of of torture for the interrogation of prisoners, no matter how lowly their rank, no matter how tenuous their connection with the enemy and, most important, the acceptance by our highest officials and judges of warrantless wiretapping. Should be read by anyone who cares about the 1st and 4th Amendments and the ideals that made us different from other countries.
A 13 year old survives a terrorist museum bombing,stuffs a priceless painting in his backpack and carries it around for years. He had no intention of profiting from it or hanging it in his bedroom yet does not return it . Not logical. And there are a number of preposterous turns in this novel. Yet I bought into his world and enjoyed the saga very much. The reader actually deserves five stars for his overall accomplishment.. many characters, many accents...done full out as an actor and not just as a reader. I gave him four stars because some of his female voices I found quite irritating. Not really fair of me.
I got this book because of its reader rating. Although I got hooked early, I found it kind of formulaic. Strikingly beautiful Russian spy who excels in everything... American spies who are so top drawer... like the James Clancy military men.. So different from the flawed or troubled LeCarre spies. Lots of fun but not up to its rating in my opinion.
If you are into all of the details of naval and land battles during the War of 1812, this is your book. Every sailing maneuver during battles between the heroic (but crazy) frigates along with compositions of crews, number killed and wounded, damage reports, sails and riggings carried away... all preparations taken for land battles, compositions of armies (regulars, militiamen, Indians, liberated slaves), fortifications, armaments, tactics, blunders, killed and wounded, intentional torching of towns and cities... Honestly, this really is of interest to me. In addition, there is a very detailed account of the disputes between England and the US, of the political maneuvering between the Federalists and the Republicans, of the attitudes in England exhibited by the Parliament, the ministers and the press... The War of 1812 ended in a kind a stalemate... the status quo from the beginning of the war was put back in place... but it had great significance for relations between the US and England... We got respect and England became our friend.for centuries . For Madison it was a titanic struggle.. many blunders, many bad appointments but to his credit he stuck it out and changed our government for the better...
At first I thought I could not get through the awful stereotypes from 1950s fiction.. the men's men (who had served or were serving in the military with distinction), the pompous small town aristocrat throwing his weight around who turns out to be a coward, the noble black man (in a Florida town) with a minstrel's name and minstrel's speech who reads the Washington Post and NY Times thrown out by the white guys.. and worst of all the women who are to varying degrees kind of ditzy ... But this post-nuclear attack survival story was lots of fun to listen to and Will Patton was the perfect narrator... Do not know how realistic the post-bomb scenario was but it gave me plenty to think about...
The narrator really got into my head. She delves into each character in every Irish accent I never knew existed. Many twist and turns but the character development of the heroine and other players is what makes this book for me. One bothersome thing about Dublin Murder Squad books is that the men all seem damaged from childhood.
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