I read this book in high school... let's just say a long time ago, and haven't read it since. I still think the movie is the best of the series, but there's plenty that's changed. I purchased this audio book a while back and enjoyed every minute of it. I think it's one of the best of Fleming's books, right up there with ON HER MAJESTY'S SECRET SERVICE. In fact, I think I enjoyed it MORE now than I did 25 years ago. It's not a bad book for newbies to Fleming to start with. Then again, when you get to the end you'll want to run out and buy DR. NO right away- not that that's a problem.
Simon Vance is a wonderful reader as well. He gives each character a nice characterization and keeps them from being confusing. My only problem is the way he pronounces Romanova, but that's only because I've seen the movie a bazillion times.
If you want to listen in order, start with Casino Royale. It's a good book and great listen as well, but almost 3 hours shorter than FROM RUSSIA WITH LOVE. Either way, you won't be disappointed.
I would listen to it again- I WILL listen to it again. It's a fun little mystery that set the tone for the whole series.
Rabbi Smalls is such an interesting character- not always likable, but his insights into the Jewish religion are always interesting. I learned lots about the true nature of a rabbi's duties with this series.
Rabbi Smalls, again- though I thought he did a fine job with all the characters.
Check the series out if you like mysteries with a surprise ending. This is the first one and sets the tone. It may be a bit dated (1964) but it's good fun. All the clues are there and it's still a surprise when you find out who the killer is.
Yes. No. I don't know. Mr. Jayston does a great job reading a book that isn't my favorite JLC book.
Anything to do with George Smiley was interesting and engaging. Jerry Westerby is a great character but his part of the story just doesn't grab me. I may need to give it another go someday, but it won't be soon.
He's got a great handle on the characters and his Smiley is a great impersonation of Alec Guiness.
When I realized Smiley has the ability to be an uber-jerk. I didn't get it from reading the book.
The Honourable Schoolboy a byzantine and (maybe) overly long novel that takes almost a full day to listen to. It doesn't move like a bat out of anything but it does have lots of character development and a lot to say about how the world works, not all of it complimentary. It's a story that hasn't been translated into a dramatic form, except for the recent radio version with Simon Russel Beale (I've heard rumors that there was a version in the early 80s, but I haven't tracked it down), probably because of the complex nature of the story. Some folks think it's the best JLC book out there. I don't, and I think the novels on either side of this one are much better. JLC at his worst is better than many authors at their best. His command of the English language is immense and his stories are always thought provoking.
It's a nice condensation of the novel, which I have less time to read or even listen to. The story is told very nicely and the actors do a wonderful job- as they do in all the Le Carre' adaptations. Those adapted by Rene Basilico are the best in my opinion. They include The Perfect Spy, The Russia House, A Small Town In Germany, and the two Smiley adaptations: Tinker Tailor Soldier Spy and Smiley's People (the versions starring Bernard Hepton- sadly not yet available on Audible).
A Small Town In Germany and The Russia House, both dramatized and available on Audible. I recommend them both.
A clear understanding of how the lines are read. The British idiom can be lost in print but the actors make things clearly understood. I haven't listened to Mr. Jayston's reading of the book, which is 17 hours longer, but I suspect he helps push the listener along too.
"After all these years... I'm finally free."
You must realize that this is a dramatization with multiple actors, sound effects and music. It's so much more than one person reading you a story, but it is NOT the word for word text of the novel. That is available too and I wouldn't discourage you from buying it. I think if you give the dramas a try you'll find you enjoy them.
The voice of the narrator is true to the Conan Doyle stories. Lyndsay Faye gets it right. The story is true to the character and doesn't try to tell a story that changes the whole fabric of the Sherlock Holmes canon or history.
Well, Simon Vance is always good. He does the characters very well, but that's a given. I like his audio books because he seems to understand every line he reads and that is NOT always the case with audio books.
I started it skeptical, because there have been so many really, really bad Sherlock Holmes/Jack-the-Ripper books and movies. This one didn't seem to want to change the whole world. It fits neatly into the Holmes canon without being disruptive.
Once you finish all the Conan Doyle stories this is a very good book to continue with. Doyle steered away from Jack the Ripper (or any current events) probably for good reason. There have been a bunch of really bad Holmes/Ripper books and movies, especially that POS by Michael Didbin, THE LAST SHERLOCK HOLMES STORY. Dust and Shadow is so much better that you don't even need to think about that one. This is probably the best of the bunch, but don't let that damn it by feint praise. This is a pretty good book. I hope Lindsay Faye writes another.
Sonny's bloody rise.
The characters have more to them than we could have imagined. Luca Brazi has a backstory that I probably wouldn't have guessed. He's more than just a large, dopey killer.
It's hard to chose just one, Cannavale does a great job with the voices. His reading of Frankie Pentangeli was perfect- you could even think it's Joe Gazo reading it. His Vito Corleone is pretty well done too, and doesn't veer into a caricature.
Five Families are four too many.
I don't know exactly how much of this book is directly from Mario Puzo's script, which was only half a movie to begin with. My guess is that Ed Falco had a fairly free hand in crafting much of this story and I think he did a great job. This is a book I enjoyed MORE than the original novel, The Godfather, which rambled into some lurid and even silly areas (seriously, who cares about Lucy Mancini's vaginal surgery?). The Family Corleone tells a tight, cohesive and fast paced story without wandering. The dialogue is good and the story has the feeling of authenticity. The only thing I noticed, and I may be wrong, is the timing of Laguardia being mayor of NY. I thought it was a little later than what this story covers. No big whoop.
What Falco does right is he doesn't try to weave too much historical info into the story that everybody knows the outcome. The example that comes to mind is the assassination attempt in As Time Goes By. You know it will fail because that part of history is fairly well known to us. Sure The Godfather Part 2 showed us the fall of Cuba, but Michael was not instrumental in that in any way so there is a question of survival for him and Fredo.
Bobby Cannavale does a great job reading this book. His voices are true and the character readings are spot on. He keeps the book interesting, even during the exposition. No matter how well written it is exposition is still exposition, but Mr. Cannavale does a very nice job with it.
If you know and love these characters The Family Corleone is a great place to find out how well you really know them. It's a fun ride too. Well worth your credit or money.
"Goldfinger" is, in my opinion, one of Fleming's better James Bond books. The story is pure hokum, but it's told at such a fast pace that you don't need to worry about it. Raymond Benson called this "The Fleming Sweep" in his "The James Bond Bedside Companion," and it's in full force here. It's that drive that pushes the story along practically daring you to stop reading.
This is also one of the rare occasions where the movie follows the book fairly well. The movie is plotted a little tighter and has more urgency but the book has better characterization- no surprise there.
I'm a fan of Simon Vance's reading of the James Bond canon. He does it with a nice variety of voices and just the right hint of snobbery that Fleming includes in every story. I'm only a couple titles short of having the whole series for the time being, and Goldfinger is one of the best, right behind From Russia With Love, On Her Majesty's Secret Service and (maybe) Thunderball. Vance does a wonderful job with all of them.
If you're wondering if the books are for you this is a good one to test the waters with, even though it's the book that ends the first half of the series. The books that follow have a different tone and villain(s). SMERSH is the primary villain in the first half, directly or indirectly. After Goldfinger SPECTRE takes center stage and the Russians play a much smaller role.
If you've read all the books before (I did over 25 years ago) then this is a nice way to "relive" them. I Definitely recommend the series.
Before I bought this I had finished reading only one Stephen King book and listened to only a couple on audio. The one I managed to finish was only 148 pages long so I wouldn't call myself a "fan." Especially since I've started several of his books in the last thirty years and just given up on them.
So why did I purchase "On Writing?" Well, I am a writer trying to make a switch to mainstream fiction, and who else has been more successful AND written a book with advice on how he did it AND been available on Audible?
The experiment was a success as far as I am concerned. The book gives lots of insight into the publishing industry as well as where he got some of his ideas. He courageously gives opinions on his stories and other writers which, more often than not made me shrug and think, "That's pretty accurate, I guess..." His personal history was pretty cool too, and it's always nice for writers to see that someone is actually doing what we want to do. Realistically, even if I do break into writing, I'm not likely to replicate King's success- none of us are- but to think that you might be able to make a living at it is nice, even if it is a LOOOOOONG shot.
Mr King's narration is fine. He's not as expressive as Simon Preble, but he knows his material! I've thought for years that he wasn't the best narrator of his books because his women sound like his men and his dialogue often sounds like his exposition, but I realized as I listened to this that it doesn't matter that much. He may not be a great "actor" but he tells a heckuva story. Now I think I've been unfair to him.
I don't think a recap of the book is appropriate here. If you look at the cover you know what it's about. The only thing you really require from a review is whether it does a good job with what it sets out to do. My answer is- yes, it does. The greatest thing I can say about this audio book is that it makes me want to go out and buy the hard copy- not because I wouldn't listen again, I will, but because I want to use it as a reference.
If you're on the fence (and I was at one point), I say take the leap. You'll enjoy it.
A trusted friend recommended that I read this book because he knows how much I enjoy a good spy story. I found a copy of the book on Amazon and bought it- for a great price too. Then I realized with my schedule I wouldn't have time to read it anytime soon. Fortunately for me I found the audio here.
Declare is a richly detailed, byzantine story of the cold war almost in the style of LeCarre', but with a supernatural angle that Smiley's creator wouldn't dare. But instead of the supernatural angle stopping the story dead in it's tracks it drives the tale forward in many ways.
Powers' story is too complex to explain here simply. Believe me when I say it's a humdinger. What really made this book come to life was the narration. Simon Prebble is in a class by himself. Accents, dialects, foreign languages and genders are no problem for this adept reader. Kim Philby's well known stammer is so well handled that you would swear Prebble is not acting. It's tour de force from beginning to end.
I'm glad I took a chance on this book for many reasons. I'll listen to all 21 hours of this interesting and well told tale many times in the future. Definitely one of the best.
THE SPY WHO CAME IN FROM THE COLD is such a great story that it's hard to make a bad version of it. This one is good, but it's just good. It's been a little while since I read the book, but it seems they throw more Smiley into the story just to have more of him. Yeah, I realize the point is to tell the whole Smiley saga, but he wasn't a huge part of this story until this telling. Mr. Russel Beale is fine as Smiley, but this story is about Alec Leamus, and Brian Cox is wonderful.
My biggest beef with this production is that it wasn't needed. The BBC did a great adaptation with Colin Blakely which was commercially available until recently. That version maintained the mystery within the story better and didn't need a summation at the end explaining exactly what happened in case we didn't get it. I know there's an opinion out there, usually among younger people, that if something is more than 10 years old it should be redone because we can do it better now. This just isn't the case- not for THE SPY WHO CAME IN FROM THE COLD, not for TINKER, TAILOR, SOLDIER, SPY, and from what I've heard so far, SMILEY'S PEOPLE. Newer isn't better. Just newer.
Will this version do in a pinch? Of course, it's a fine production. And more than likely you won't be able to find the older version anyway. Too bad.
As I've said, Brian Cox is wonderful in this. If nothing else listen for him.
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