I have three words of advice for the author: Plot, plot, plot!
Another religious conspiriacy thiller, this is sure to offend doctrinaire Christians. None of that offends me, but the dreadful writing does! I wasn't looking for a great book, just a fun conspiracy-theory thriller. The book's theme was heavy handed and unlike the Da Vinci Code, the plot was not related to it.
Here are problems: the book was really poorly edited, and thematic material is repeated over and over and over and over again. As such the book is about one third too long. Between the "living" and "historical" characters there are just too many.
The characters are not even two-dimensional: they bounce all over the place and react to situations and each other randomly, often in ways that do not further the story, as well as being EXTREMELY psychologically implausible.
The kind-of, sort-of protagonist has no reason for being in the story. He is not needed for the plot. Also this super spy of southern provenance, intellectual, ex-fighter pilot, scripture-quoting lawyer, antique book dealer and always good guy is just silly. Actually half of the major characters have no plausible motivation for being involved, so the author repeats their implausible reasons for being in the story over and over and over again.
Finally, there are just lots and lots and lots of plot holes and totally implausible situations and events (even in the fantasy world of this kind of novel) that continually jar one out of the book. I found myself kind of embarassed for the author.
I did finish it though, but the fact that I paid two credits for this is really irksome. The narration was adequate.
The Lucia series by Benson is as fresh as it was 100 years ago. This is broad comedy, with a lot of absurdity. This is one of a six book series (as originally written) and introduces Miss Mapp, who is a wholly riduculous and mostly unlikeable character. But very, very funny; as we can all still some of oursevelves (and others) in this comdedy. The series was very daring for its time with a major gay character (not in this book, but all of the others), and a lesbian--but never any sex.
Nadia May is one of the better British readers, although her women (not surprisingly) are quite a bit better than her men. But in this series of books, only the women really matter. The men are just foiils for the plotting, backstabbing, and--when it all comes home to roost--the hilarious, slow-train-wreck-of-an-exposure.
This is not a romance though.
This is one of several wretched prequels written by the son of the author of the original author. There is a statistical phenomena in prediction of ability called "regression towards the mean", and for those of you who know what this means, this is a primary example.
Since it is a prequel, it makes most of the book rather pointless. You can pretty much figure that the virus attack does not wipe out humanity. Etc. etc. etc.
The writing is bad. But if I were to write that sentence in the style of the authors, I would have to write, "The writing is really, really, really, really bad. The most bad of all time. So bad mother's reading the work had spontaneous abortions." Or something like that.
The original Dune books are among the greatest of the science fiction genre. The prequels like this one by the son and his named ghost writer are bad. Really, really, really bad.
It is hard for me to understand the gushing in most of the other reviews or the overall rating of this piece of junk. The son's work (the author) is pitiful in comparison to his father's (the author of the original series). Or perhaps it is the second author who is the problem. At any rate don't expect very much, and if you can listen to the parts about the Cymeks inner thoughts without wanting to vomit (because they are so silly), we are on different planets.
However, this really would have made a good comic book, but those don't translate very well to audible products.
It is a good deal on a cost per word basis (apparently there was no editor), but you can get an even better deal by recording your self saying your own favorite word and playing the thing back endlessly.
However, I am embarassed to say that I did listed to the whole thing, but I took it off my ipod right afterwards in case someone else actually saw that I did.
If the CIA's spy activities in regards to terrorists is at all reflected in this book (as the author--supposedly once a VERY highly placed spy--asserts) it is no wonder the CIA is so clueless. Setting that aside, this book is bad. The plot is boring. The writing is bad. I would have said "really, really, really bad", but that phrase sounds too much like one that might be found in this book. She does mange to make the rich jet set seem as morally corupt as one tends to suspect. Her good "friends" are Emelda Marcos and the facist Spanish Dictator Franco (who she retitles simply as the head of state). Everyone wears fur. Men still have "manservants" and women have maids. The description of hunting is particularly odious--where at one site each "gun" can bag 100 birds a day. (No, I'm not a PETA person, but this book would make good recruitment propaganda except that no one would read it . . .)
It is hard to evaluate the reader because no one could read this book out loud and make it sound good. Kudos to her for actually reading the entire thing. I cannot imagine very many people have finished the book.
Oh Yeah, this is supposed to be about Carlos the Jackal, and Aline, The Countess, etc. etc. claims to be an expert on terrorism. That is true. She is a terror to readers in this book.
About the book: This is a prequel written by Frank Herbert's son and another author. Rather than an apocryphal and an exciting extension, it is mediocre science fiction. None of the mystery of the various competing factions of the original series is present, although it attempts to explain the origination of the ban on computers, the long standing hatrid between dynastic houses, of the development of the spacing guild, and everything else in the original book, except for the Emperor. Much of the promised explanations are done as an afterthought, whereas other things tediously repeated over and over and over again. Most of the book is about man vs. machine--a longer and dumbed-down Eric Asimov. Characters are two dimensional and completely predictable. Women are ravishingly beautiful or stunted and deformed. Men are portly and red-faced politicians or tall and handsome. However, there is one loveable drug addict and another character who reminded me of my pompous dissertation advisor--I liked them.
There is one love scene in the book which was embarassing to listen to (alone): I winced. It involved a hunt for deadly wild charging boars, a secluded hot spring, and much ripping of each other's clothes, between the two most important young people of the universe. Think dumbed-down Jackie Collins in space.
The format includes the made up quotes of the original book, but these are really, really bad, and don't seem to have any relationship to the text.
Never-the-less, it is a Dune book, so I listened to the entire thing, and I didn't feel cheated; esp. on a per-word basis.
The Production: It is narrated by a single reader. He attempts to do a few accents and voices, but they are really, really bad. But he had to talk a long time. Some of the voices (esp. of the robots) will make you laugh.
Conclusion: Get it if you are a real Dune buff. I ended up enjoying it because it is so much worse than the real thing that it is funny.
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