I tend to listen to non-fiction more than fiction, but I am thoroughly engaged by these novels.
I have (via their websites) nagged both Ms. Downie and Mr. Vance about the release of the audio version of her latest Ruso novel. It is well worth the wait! I enjoy this series so very much -- I have listened to Medicus and Terra Incognita many times.
I find the protagonists delightfully drawn, and the secondary characters unique and very engaging.
I missed Albanus in this one, though...his eagerness and simplicity are a wonderful foil for Ruso's cynicism and weariness.
The environmental background is delightfully portrayed. I felt the dry heat of southern Gaul and, with Tilla, found myself wishing for the cool, moist air of Britannia. Her conclusions about the nature of "civilization" are spot on.
Mr. Vance's narration is a perfect match for these characters. I can't imagine anyone else doing Ruso. He captures Ruso's gruff manner as well as his well-hidden empathy and heart. In this book he gives well-nuanced voice to the new characters introduced into Ruso's world. I especially enjoyed the tone of his interpretation of Marcia, Ruso's half-sister. He gives her just the right touch of adolescent whining, pouting and rebellion!
"Gods above!" I rate this as a 5 for sheer enjoyment.
I seldom choose abridged titles, and I tend to avoid "Read by the Author" unless the author is a professional performer. I am so glad to listen to this. I found it very inspirational. He tells his story in a way no one else can. Mr. Fox has been through it all, and lays it out frankly. His work on his foundation is a window into the workings of philanthropy that can be a real eye-opener.
Only reason I gave it a 4 instead of a 5 is that I wish it was unabridged.
I have always loved Ivan Ilyich, but Mr. Vance's narration actually moved me to tears.
The book itself is excellent. But he is NO narrator. It would have been a much better listen with a professional narrator. He sounds like a highschool kid in forensics class.
What a revelation to hear the book after seeing the movie...so much richer.
H1N1 has been here before.
This is a totally engaging approach to the "Spanish Flu" history.
Not 5 stars because of the narration...not Mr. Brick's best work. The cadence of the reading is monotonous at times.
I ADORE the Hornblower stories. I HATED this version. I never thought I'd say this about this novel, but I couldn't finish this audio. The narrator sounds almost asleep. Hornblower's voice is lost in mush.
I fell in love with this book decades ago. Listening to this audio version made me fall in love all over again.
I agree completely with the review that characterized Ms. Davis' Falco novels as an Ancient Roman version of Moonlighting -- although Helena is not as tetchy as Maddie Hayes.
Mr. Rodska is pitch-perfect as narrator.
There are a lot of listeners who really love this book, but for me, not so much.
Alison Weir is a brilliant historian. I advise sticking to her non-fiction.
If you are familiar with the history of Lady Jane, you may find that this novelization gives no new insights into the major players. I found it very predictable.
Overall, the narration is solid. I had no trouble distinguishing the voices of the various characters. But I got very tired of hearing "Tu-tor" when my ears expected "Tu-dor"...that flaw pulled me out of the story every time...and considering the setting, that was VERY often.
Overall, good "brain-off" listening if you enjoy historical fiction set in this era.
Great story, great reader...from the slimy snake from Rome to the malingering patients in the ward, to the puffed up local brewer, these characterizations are spot on.
Kudos to writer and narrator!
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