It's a wonderful opportunity to hear RP being discussed by an English acting coach and an Irish actress. This is much more helpful than learning RP from an American teacher, no matter how well trained. The British discussion gives an insight you'll never get from listening to American discussions -- not just the How's of the accent, but lots of the Why's. For example, I had never heard that the reason the tongue stays low in the mouth for RP is that for many years English society held that it was vulgar for the tongue to be visible even during speech.
There is one unfortunate thing about this Audible release: they refer several times to the information in the "booklet that accompanies this disc" (including mentioning that the practice sentences can be found in the booklet), but, of course, there is no booklet available for the Audible version.
It's too short! Make Bill Bryson go back to the studio and record the rest of it! While you're at it, make him record unabridged versions of all those other books that are available here only in abridged editions!
Like Bill Bryson's writing in general, this book is always interesting and fun to read. No wasted space, no feeling of needing to take a nap halfway through a chapter. Engaging and entertaining.
The theories are not his invention. If you've never heard about certain anomalies in Da Vinci's paintings (especially "The Last Supper"), you might be tempted to credit Brown with their invention, but you would be incorrect in doing so.
What he has done is to take an existing train of thought, embellished it with his own speculations (and sometimes outright inventions), and written a novel that incorporates these theories into the plot. And, personally, I do not feel that he has done a very good job of that.
The theories require so much explanation that the books has long, long expository scenes in which one character explains, for example, "The Last Supper" to another character. And, as Officer Lockstock says, "There's nothing that can kill a show like Too Much Exposition."
Brown also has an annoying habit of dangling the fact that he knows more about the plot than the reader does (which made me want to shake him and say, "Of course you know more about it! You wrote it! So just get on with it!"). Far too many chapters end with inept, melodramatic danglings of, "For a moment, he pondered whether now was the time to explain to her about...but, no, it would be better if he waited until later to open that subject." This happened so often as to become a cliche or a running gag, getting more humorous every time it cropped up.
As a mystery, I did not find it engaging. As an description of alternate theories about Jesus, he had very little to say that I have not already heard elsewhere. There are more interesting and more carefully written books that cover this topic better. And, in the end, the theories about Jesus were far more important to the book than whodunnit, how they dunnit or why they dunnit.
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