This is a traditional murder mystery inhabited by many of the usual suspects. It contains likable characters and provides gossipy insights into the publishing world. The protagonist's insecurities are endearing if overdone, and his boyfriend (an ex-cop) is too dishy and too tender to be true. I was slightly embarrassed to learn more about the mechanics of gay sex than I was ready to know -- but then, I am an older woman raised in an age more given to implication than to description. Nothing offensive here, though -- in fact, it's downright sentimental. The mystery is satisfying, and justice is done, though in secret. The narration is smooth and well paced, fitting the characters well.
Tarr is a real master of historical detail and the creator of a magical past that is internally consistent and complements the scholarly past seemlessly. In the Dagger and the Cross, she returns to the Crusader Kingdom and displays her understanding of political pressures in both the Christian and the Islamic worlds. The dilemma that motivates the action -- the need for a papal dispensation for marriage between a nominally Christian mage prince and a half-wild Muslim afrit -- does not have much emotional force, but the supporting characters are strong, the sociological framework is credible, and the spiritual evil of intolerance in the Inquistors is satisfyingly threatening.
This book is a sequel to Alamut, and essential listening for those who treasure that brilliant work of fantastic historical imagination.
The Hound and the Falcon trilogy has long been one of my favorite fastasy/history series, and I am delighted that it is now available on Audible. Judith Tarr is deeply knowledgeable about Celtic legends, the Crusades and the medieval church, and she has created an internally consistent alternate reality compounded to the mix. Her characters are heroic but flawed, though most of the villains are thoroughly corrupted. Who would have thought that a question of the existence vel non of the human soul could be presented with such poignancy? The magic is not crude, cute or silly; it is integral to the story. Tarr is interested in how people know and touch each other; her magic is used mostly to create intimacies that most real people long for but never achieve.
Other books by Tarr. Alamut, a prequel to the Hound and the Falcon, is masterful. Tarr's focus on the challenges and vulnerabilities of interpersonal communication is reminiscent of Ursula LeGuin's Left Hand of Darkness. Tarr's work is not as epic as Tolkien, and it is more serious than Marion Zimmer Bradley's Darkover books, but I'd place them all near to each other on the bookshelf.
I must answer in more that three words. As a narrator and voice actor, Cronin is admirable. His voices fit the characters well, although he makes the deaf young man sound a bit doltish. However, I wish that Cronin had been better prepared to read the book. A few relatively unusual English words are mispronounced, which is irritating; worse still is that words relating specifically to the medieval world and the medieval church, names from the Bible and of Greek and Latin authors are almost always wrong and sometimes barely recognizable. Cronin obviously knows no French or Latin, and regularly mispronounces words in those languages, although he is master of a credible French accent. His recitation of Latin texts is hideous, betraying the fact that he has no idea what is saying or how it should be punctuated, and has no sensitivity to what is, after all, a metrical language.. I won't let these gripes ruin the book for me, but these frequent errors fall like screeching chalk on the blackboard. Shouldn't a professional reader check on pronunciations before he starts to perform?
Yes, I cried at the end. Attachment always brings suffering; the question is, is it worth it?
Schism is intended as light reading, and it is mildly entertaining. I didn't love the characters or their world. The social differences that are supposed to motivate the society were not credible to me. I listened to the entire book (which I do not always do when I dislike the story), but I won't follow the series.
The narration was smooth, but the reading is full of mispronunciations of middle-school level words. Isn't there a director or editor who polices these mistakes? About halfway through, I began to jot down the words irritatingly mispronounced by the narrator -- they include bohemoth, affluent, tumult, chasm, implacable, simulacrum, molecular and neutrino. Other listeners might not notice, but these errors distract me and detract from my enjoyment of the story.
This is by far the most exciting, most literate, most frightening, most elevating, most imaginative, most humane story ever written.If you have only seen the film, well, too bad. All that remains to be said is that Rob Inglis' narration is masterful.If you have only one credit, use it here.
A memoir of two years on a South Pacific coral atoll written a counter cultural Dutch/ Czech/American ne'er-do-well who has nevertheless done very well as an observer of his world and fearless taster of unaccustomed customs. He must equally amuse and frustrate his NGO administrator girlfriend/spouse. As a former recruiter of volunteers for service in the South Pacific, I appreciated the absurd authenticity of his tale.
This is one of the few books that has delighted both my mildly rebellious daughter and her fuddy duddy mother.
You mean that wasn't Martin himself? You could have fooled me. Simon Vance is also the best of his ilk.
Anything 'Bujold has written is worth a listen, but this certainly would not have made me the avid fan I am of her other works. It's a good, solid, historical/magic genre tale.
This is not the "best" Elizabeth Peters novel in terms of complexity of character development or literary merit. It is, however, the funniest thing that she has ever written -- the author's ebullient satire of Vicky, Amelia and even herself. I loved the book, I love Vicky, I adore Amelia and embrace Mrs. Mertz, who deserves to have the most famous swordsman in Europe as her adoring admirer. This fast-moving farcical thriller will be celebrated most by the millions of fans of Vicky Bliss and Amelia Peabody, but it can be appreciated by anyone whose sense of adventure is as broad as her sense of the absurd.
Sure -- on a rainy day while knitting or doing a puzzle.
Jenny -- who doesn't exist. But Fforde has done a great job here with Landon, formerly a stick character.
Emily Gray IS Thursday Next. She makes Fforde's absurd and increasingly complex world plausible.
Lord Auditor Miles Vorkosigan is as irreverent, as charming, as fascinating and as human as ever. The characters change, grow -- but never become predictable or stale. Great fun.
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