To read a biography is to read about a life in the context of events. Those 'events' are usually taught as history, but when I understand how those events influenced an individual's actions and how their actions then molded what came next, history comes alive.
This is a biography of all of Henry's children, as well as collateral descendants, so the tumultuous times after Henry VIII's reign became, for me, a coherent whole.
Simon Prebble has a delightful voice. He sometimes stumbles over words (not surprising given the length of the book) but I'm surprised that these garbled pronunciations weren't edited out, and that's the only reason I've given less than 5 stars to the narration.
This is extremely well-written and comprehensive and a joy to listen to.
The first three books of this series were light weight but fun. This book takes a weird turn, as Max Tudor reveals himself to be a judgemental, hypocritical jerk who, oddly for an Anglican priest, doubts that any Anglican nun actually has a religious vocation as opposed to a neurotic desire to flee from the wide world. Max has a pregnant girlfriend who will not marry him in a church, and he hasn't mentioned this circumstance to his boss, the bishop, yet he is outraged that the convent has kept secret their discovery of a valuable icon. It is all very inconsistent and calls his character into serious question.
I will not bother with another of these books.
This is the second book in what, I hope, will be a long series. The protagonists are intelligent and three-dimensional, the stories are well-planned and well-written, and the author never takes the obvious path. Just when I think I know what will happen, it doesn't, and it makes perfect sense.
I will listen to this book repeatedly. The narration is terrific and the story unfolds sensibly without ever giving anything away too quickly.
The pun on 'scales of justice' as the story progresses is just great.
This book is thought-provoking, because of a secondary plot involving treason and suicide, loyalty and forebearance. I admire the actions of the characters and wonder if I could be as honourable.
I would recommend this book with the caveat that the narrator must be forgiven much.
This book is complex and sophisticated, on a par with the author's earlier book, Hamlet Revenge. It is a mystery, but more concerned with characters and motivation than with solving a puzzle.
The narrator stumbled over words, mispronounced and garbled words, and made no effort to distinguish voices during conversations between characters. It is a cringe-worthy performance.
The plot, the characters, and the quality of the writing all make this worth listening to.
The different voices make the audio book great fun.
The plot is intricate but sensible. It takes up with Peregrine Jay, whom we first met in Death at the Dolphin (another fabulous book), who is now middle-aged, married, has three sons, and is still the manager of the Dolphin Theatre. He is staging Macbeth and the descriptions of his ideas, stage management, and direction are illuminating. The actors are the usual bizarre collection of personalities, some delightful, others alarming, and their relationships are made vivid. The reader cares about these people, so the turns of the plot are riveting.
His reading is superb -- each character's voice is distinguished from the others and his narrative tone for the passages that don't involve dialogue is interesting in itself. He has a great voice.
I would recommend this book to anyone. Though set in the early 1970s, it is perfectly understandable and its themes of racism, tyranny, and friendship are as much to the point now as then.
Though we usually can count on Ngaio Marsh to limit the body count to unpleasant characters, there were sufficient surprises here for anyone.
She is a fabulous reader, giving each character a distinctive voice, and able to read the narrative with a fine understanding of its meaning.
Nigel Lambert is in the upper stratum of narrators. He could rivet his audience while reading aloud a card catalog or a telephone book.
This book is beautifully plotted and the ending ties up all the threads in a satisfying manner
His ability to give unique voices to each character.
The Earl of Emsworth would be a stimulating dinner companion, primarily because of his pig-obsession, but I would also be interested to hear how his sisters got the upper hand in his relationship with them.
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