I have listened to all of Furst's unabridged novels and wish there were more. All of his books are very well written, with none of idiotic, unrealistic dialogue that plagues most spy/mystery books.
If there is a better reader than George Guidall, I have not found him. One of many reasons to admire him is his ability to pronounce correctly French, Russian, Polish and other languages, instead of the Anglicized versions which are the usual and customary fare.
But most importantly, Furst affords the listener a clarifying view of one of the most shrouded and inhuman (we like to think anyway) eras in history. Europe from 1933 to 1945, described not via battles, generals or politicians, but by men and women doing what they could despite being terrified and alone. The characters are wonderful, the deviousness of the leaders horrific, and the dialogue some of the most clever, insightful, and at times funny, that I have ever read.
I enjoyed every word of this book. Although a cliche, the characters emerge alive from Ms Mantel's pen. Recognizing every character is, at times, a little difficult, but detracts very little from the overall flow. Thomas Cromwell is a pivotal character in western history, one of the first from the middle class to acquire great power. A knowledge of Tudor history does help, but Ms Mantel does such a wonderful job of defining each character, especially Thomas Cromwell, and of describing the environment at the time, even a lack of such knowledge does not limit enjoyment. A side benefit is the skewering of Thomas More, a butcher who has hereto fore escaped critical historical examination.
How many times does someone "chuckle" during the course of this book? I do not know, but lots and it makes good filler. Which is the problem with this book. Long on arcane information and intricate plots, but short on quality writing
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