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History Buff

Member Since 2010

5
HELPFUL VOTES
  • 13 reviews
  • 45 ratings
  • 138 titles in library
  • 2 purchased in 2014
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  • The Spy Who Came in from the Cold: A George Smiley Novel, Book 3

    • UNABRIDGED (7 hrs)
    • By John le Carré
    • Narrated By Michael Jayston
    • Whispersync for Voice-ready
    Overall
    (234)
    Performance
    (212)
    Story
    (212)

    In the shadow of the newly erected Berlin Wall, Alec Leamas watches as his last agent is shot dead by East German sentries. For Leamas, the head of Berlin Station, the Cold War is over. As he faces the prospect of retirement or worse - a desk job - Control offers him a unique opportunity for revenge. Assuming the guise of an embittered and dissolute ex-agent, Leamas is set up to trap Mundt, the deputy director of the East German Intelligence Service - with himself as the bait.

    Walter says: "Great novel, but not Smiley..."
    "Quite Solid, worth a Listen"
    Overall
    Performance
    Story
    Did the plot keep you on the edge of your seat? How?

    The plot kept me guessing. You really get to like the main character and there are twists that seem obvious but you can't quite figure out until the end. The story does end a bit abruptly with an epilogue - I feel like it needed a half a chapter just to tie things up a bit.


    What about Michael Jayston’s performance did you like?

    The performance is very good, changing voices even genders, makes it clear who is speaking, even during long conversations.


    Was this a book you wanted to listen to all in one sitting?

    Not easy to turn off, but chapter's are sufficently long that you don't feel ashamed to stop for a period - almost like the end of an episode - not quite cliffhangers, but definately more questions to be answered.


    1 of 1 people found this review helpful
  • Agincourt

    • UNABRIDGED (16 hrs and 13 mins)
    • By Bernard Cornwell
    • Narrated By Charles Keating
    • Whispersync for Voice-ready
    Overall
    (1509)
    Performance
    (630)
    Story
    (641)

    Young Nicholas Hook is dogged by a curse, haunted by what he has failed to do and banished for what he has done. A wanted man in England, he is driven to fight as a mercenary archer in France, where he finds two things he can love: his instincts as a fighting man, and a girl in trouble. Together they survive the notorious massacre at Soissons, an event that shocks all Christendom. With no options left, Hook heads home to England, where his capture means certain death.

    Andrew says: "Fantastic!"
    "Another solid Cornwell"
    Overall
    Performance
    Story

    Solid Historical Fiction, well researched and exciting. Same male and female characters as Cornwell's other works but the twists and turns meaningful. Liked the Siege, got a little long there, but gave the feeling of waiting and waiting and waiting and then the undermining and a battle and then waiting and waiting and waiting more.

    Again, solid but predictable - could have used another twist toward the end and it ended rather abruptly.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  • Bunker Hill: A City, a Siege, a Revolution

    • UNABRIDGED (12 hrs and 58 mins)
    • By Nathaniel Philbrick
    • Narrated By Chris Sorensen
    • Whispersync for Voice-ready
    Overall
    (109)
    Performance
    (98)
    Story
    (96)

    Boston in 1775 is an island city occupied by British troops after a series of incendiary incidents by patriots who range from sober citizens to thuggish vigilantes. After the Boston Tea Party, British and American soldiers and Massachusetts residents have warily maneuvered around each other until April 19, when violence finally erupts at Lexington and Concord.

    Rick says: "Another Fantastic Story by Philbrick"
    "Good but a little boring"
    Overall
    Performance
    Story

    I enjoyed listening to this book, but overall I did not learn very much except about Joseph Warren perhaps, and it was a little disjointed as sometimes the timeline jumped around. This is a non-fiction and I was actually expecting a bit of non-fiction. If you have not read many other books about 1775 Mass or the Siege of Boston this is a great way to start, but you might have to write down or look up some timelines to make sure you know where you are.

    The performance was solid and definitely kept me interested - a boring performance would have made this book less appealing.

    0 of 2 people found this review helpful
  • 1356: A Novel

    • UNABRIDGED (11 hrs and 56 mins)
    • By Bernard Cornwell
    • Narrated By Jack Hawkins
    • Whispersync for Voice-ready
    Overall
    (446)
    Performance
    (394)
    Story
    (396)

    On September 19, 1356, a heavily outnumbered English army faced off against the French in the historic Battle of Poitiers. In 1356, Cornwell resurrects this dramatic and bloody struggle - one that would turn out to be the most decisive and improbable victory of the Hundred Years' War, a clash where the underdog English not only the captured the strategic site of Poitiers, but the French King John II as well.

    Amazon Customer says: "A Classic Story Comes To Life"
    "Solid Thomas of Hookton story"
    Overall
    Performance
    Story

    I really enjoy well researched historical fiction. I love non fiction too but the personalities that Cornwell writes are believable, the a gore is also classic of the period - but don't read it you dislike swearing and gore. These are not great literature and Cornwell certainly has a "typical" male and female characters which nearly all his books have, but someone this pulls one in as you can (hopefully) relate in the honor or at least nobleness of the characters outcome. Here we go to one of my favorite battles of the Hundred Year's war in Poiters, but getting there is loads of fun.

    Enjoy, worth a listen.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  • Threat Vector

    • UNABRIDGED (18 hrs and 22 mins)
    • By Tom Clancy, Mark Greaney
    • Narrated By Lou Diamond Phillips
    • Whispersync for Voice-ready
    Overall
    (3751)
    Performance
    (3281)
    Story
    (3300)

    Jack Ryan has only just moved back into the Oval Office when he is faced with a new international threat. An aborted coup in the People's Republic of China has left President Wei Zhen Lin with no choice but to agree with the expansionist policies of General Su Ke Quiang. They have declared the South China Sea a protectorate and are planning an invasion of Taiwan. The Ryan administration is determined to thwart China’s ambitions, but the stakes are dangerously high as a new breed of powerful Chinese anti-ship missiles endanger the US Navy's plans to protect the island.

    Jean says: "Spies and a counter espionage"
    "The Campus Under Seige"
    Overall
    Performance
    Story

    Kind of scary. The whole Jack Ryan series (and now Jack Jr) keeps the alternative history of the world with it to make things flow seamlessly. Technology keeps advancing but the story line keeps going. Some of the detail (and in some cases hopefully supposition) is disturbing (assuming it's accurate) - especially for those who sometimes travel to the Middle Kingdom. The bad guys are bad, the good guys are good and you feel for some of the characters even though you know exactly what is going on.

    More than some of Clancy's other recent novels I found myself asking "what would I do it if was in that situation?" Brings up some interesting moral questions, and also highlights some of the potential fear some of us might have in the cyber age.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  • A Storm of Swords: A Song of Ice and Fire, Book 3

    • UNABRIDGED (47 hrs and 36 mins)
    • By George R. R. Martin
    • Narrated By Roy Dotrice
    • Whispersync for Voice-ready
    Overall
    (16825)
    Performance
    (13256)
    Story
    (13332)

    As opposing forces maneuver for the final titanic showdown, an army of barbaric wildlings arrives from the outermost line of civilization. In their vanguard is a horde of mythical Others, a supernatural army of the living dead whose animated corpses are unstoppable. As the future of the land hangs in the balance, no one will rest until the Seven Kingdoms have exploded in a veritable storm of swords.

    Troy says: "Chapter and part breaks are incorrect"
    "Best of the Series - so far..."
    Overall
    Performance
    Story

    I've read all five books and am now listening to them (just finished Storm, headed to the Feast). This is the best of the five so far, in my view. Lots going on, but easy enough to follow the characters. You love to hate one former "bad guy" and you feel bad once again for another, and you will be shocked more than you were by what happened to Ned in Book 1. Listen carefully!

    I'm quite impressed by the performance. Although some characters sound similar to others, they do not within each chapter so keeping track of who's who is easier than I feared and this is well worth the listen -but make sure to read the Game and Clash first or you'll likely be confused until at least half way through the book.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  • Hong Kong

    • UNABRIDGED (14 hrs and 12 mins)
    • By Stephen Coonts
    • Narrated By Michael Prichard
    Overall
    (107)
    Performance
    (43)
    Story
    (45)

    Admiral Jake Grafton takes his wife, Callie, along when the U.S. government sends him to Hong Kong to find out how deeply the American consul-general is embedded in political money raising scandal. And why not? Jake and Callie met and fell in love in Hong Kong during the Vietnam War, and the consul-general is a friend from those days.

    Bob says: "Really liked it, worth the read."
    "Generally entertaining but unrealistic"
    Overall
    Performance
    Story

    The other books in the Grafton series are better, this one gets just a little silly with some technology that is a beyond today's and makes it more unrealistic than the others in the series. It's not terrible mind you, but Coonts other books are better.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  • How to Break a Dragon's Heart

    • UNABRIDGED (4 hrs and 37 mins)
    • By Cressida Cowell
    • Narrated By David Tennant
    Overall
    (139)
    Performance
    (128)
    Story
    (129)

    Hiccup Horrendous Haddock III was an awesome sword-fighter, a dragon-whisperer, and the greatest viking hero who ever lived. But it wasn't always like that. Hiccup's memoirs look back to when Hiccup was just an ordinary boy, and finding it very hard to be a hero. Hiccup must battle Berserks, dodge Scarers, complete the Impossible Task and save Fishlegs from being fed to the Beast! And all while being hunted down by an old enemy with a dark secret about the Lost Throne. What's a hero to do?

    Hazel says: "How to Entertain Your Family"
    "Series gets darker"
    Overall
    Performance
    Story

    While keeping the easy to read and overall sense of the series, the books are progressively getting darker, and even a bit scarier. My 5 and 8 year old have listened to this in their delight, less laughs but more intrigue.

    The next two books are not yet on Audible, so I'm reading them to them - which is OK but I can't do the voices as David Tennet does so the performance is missing (I do try Toothless which they appreciate). The next two books get even somewhat darker and Hiccup is in more trouble. But book 8 sets things up and seems important later so don't miss it.

    1 of 1 people found this review helpful
  • Liars & Thieves

    • UNABRIDGED (10 hrs and 27 mins)
    • By Stephen Coonts
    • Narrated By Guerin Barry
    • Whispersync for Voice-ready
    Overall
    (309)
    Performance
    (170)
    Story
    (173)

    Tommy Carmellini is sent to post guard duty at a farmhouse in Virginia's remote Blue Ridge Mountains, where top government operatives are debriefing a star defector: the ultimate KGB insider, a man with records on every operation and every dirty trick the shadowy intelligence agency has ever run, from Lenin to Putin.

    Andrew Stone says: "Fast Paced - Good Read!"
    "Good story, mediocre narration"
    Overall
    Performance
    Story

    I liked the whole Grafton series and I like the new lead in Tommy. The story was exciting and kept you guessing who was the good guy and bad guy until almost the end - and some of them you love to hate.

    Tommy, the accidental hero, works for Grafton and Grafton still has it too, even at his advancing age. It's quite fun.

    The narration is OK, but there's much better out there. Since much of the book is in the first person, when there's little or no change when looking at other characters points of view it can sometimes be a bit confusing and I had to rewind a number of times to understand where the story was. But don't let that keep you from listening, because this sets the tone for Tommy's future stories and is worth the time.

    1 of 2 people found this review helpful
  • The Assassin

    • UNABRIDGED (10 hrs and 58 mins)
    • By Stephen Coonts
    • Narrated By Dennis Boutsikaris
    • Whispersync for Voice-ready
    Overall
    (195)
    Performance
    (72)
    Story
    (72)

    Al Qaeda links up with a renegade Mafia chieftain to threaten America with an unimaginable scenario of terror in a new novel featuring Tommy Carmellini - a tale of high drama and nonstop action from perennial best-selling author Stephen Coonts.

    Hill says: "Coonts does it again"
    "Even better than the Traitor"
    Overall
    Performance
    Story
    What did you love best about The Assassin?

    Tommy is the luckiest man alive in some respects, and that gets a little over the top after he's shot three times and the next day is fighting the bad guys - could have at least a few days in the hospital to recover - but the rest of the story and characters are fun and exciting. The plot with Marisa keeps you guessing.

    Koontz tells you what the bad guys are thinking so some parts are like watching Titanic since you know the end - but better than Titanic you don't know if Marisa is really the good guy or bad guy until the very end.

    It feels like Koontz wanted to go one way but ended up going another at the very end - but maybe that's because he had the idea for the next book just then.

    Looking forward to the next one.


    Who was your favorite character and why?

    Is Marisa good or evil. Selfish or Rightous. You find out, but boy Koontz keeps you guessing. Kept me wanting to listen.


    Have you listened to any of Dennis Boutsikaris’s other performances before? How does this one compare?

    Dennis was solid once again, his range didn't improve much but he did keep things interesting and I could listen for hours without getting bored.


    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  • The Traitor

    • UNABRIDGED (10 hrs and 28 mins)
    • By Stephen Coonts
    • Narrated By Dennis Boutsikaris
    • Whispersync for Voice-ready
    Overall
    (241)
    Performance
    (89)
    Story
    (87)

    The death of a French intelligence agent on an Air France flight to Amman, Jordan, is the trigger that launches Tommy Carmellini's latest adventure. Within the European Union, the national espionage agencies are fiercely competing for supremacy against each other, and against the CIA. When the Americans discover that the director of the French spy agency has secret investments in the Bank of Palestine, alarm bells go off.

    Gregory A. Pless says: "Funny, entertaining, well read"
    "Good Story, Good Narration"
    Overall
    Performance
    Story
    Would you listen to another book narrated by Dennis Boutsikaris?

    Dennis is a good narrator, but some others have a broader range of character voices, but he does a solid job and I enjoyed listening to this book more than the prior Koontz with another narrator.


    Any additional comments?

    Solid - I have read or listened to almost all of the Koontz works, and this is very Clanceyesk and I like the characters and the twists quite a lot. I especially like the hommage to Clancey in this book.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful

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