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Nick Fryer

Willunga, Australia | Member Since 2011

  • 3 reviews
  • 3 ratings
  • 153 titles in library
  • 11 purchased in 2014

  • Wolf Hall

    • UNABRIDGED (24 hrs and 15 mins)
    • By Hilary Mantel
    • Narrated By Simon Slater
    • Whispersync for Voice-ready

    Tudor England. Henry VIII is on the throne, but has no heir. Cardinal Wolsey is charged with securing his divorce. Into this atmosphere of distrust comes Thomas Cromwell - a man as ruthlessly ambitious in his wider politics as he is for himself. His reforming agenda is carried out in the grip of a self-interested parliament and a king who fluctuates between romantic passions and murderous rages.

    Margaret says: "Wolf Hall"
    "As close to perfection as it gets"

    Never has a book so nearly given me the impression of looking out of the eyes of another human being. The Thomas Cromwell depicted in this nearly perfect novel is a complex, real man, the product of his upbringing and his society, shaped by tragedies and triumphs as narrow in scope as his brilliantly drawn household and as broad as all Christendom, and himself the shaper of a whole new England - one that would in due course change the world forever.

    Slater's narration is also simply magical. He gives each character his or her (and there are many significant hers) own voice, manner and personality. I swore when I learned that the sequel is not narrated by him, because I wanted desperately for this astonishing experience to continue seamlessly for the length of another novel. At least.

    The rating I have given is not accustomed hyperbole - in half a dozen reviews this is my first 5/5/5 stars, and richly deserved for the delight I have had over the last few days. Enjoy.

    5 of 5 people found this review helpful
  • Reamde

    • UNABRIDGED (38 hrs and 34 mins)
    • By Neal Stephenson
    • Narrated By Malcolm Hillgartner
    • Whispersync for Voice-ready

    Richard Forthrast created T’Rain, a multibillion-dollar, massively multiplayer online role-playing game. But T’Rain’s success has also made it a target. Hackers have struck gold by unleashing REAMDE, a virus that encrypts all of a player’s electronic files and holds them for ransom. They have also unwittingly triggered a deadly war beyond the boundaries of the game’s virtual universe - and Richard is at ground zero.

    ShySusan says: "Not perfect, but worth a listen."
    "How did 40 hours disappear so quickly?"

    Neal Stephenson writes very long books, and it is a measure of his talent that he can spend pages describing a series of very complicated events - every sideways roll, every ejected cartridge - that go to make up, say, a twenty-five second gun battle and not have it seem verbose and tedious. And it had better not, because there are an awful lot of cartridges ejected in the course of this thriller.

    The stand out characters are the women. Our hero (the real hero - not the Richard Forthrast referred to in the blurb but his niece Zula) is a fantastic (in both senses) creation - conditioned by experience and upbringing to be resourceful and self-reliant. Thank goodness, as she is about to find herself unwillingly in the company of a lot of genuinely menacing and scary men in circumstances that would have anyone else whimpering in a corner with terror (provided the chain round one's neck would permit one getting to the corner). The other great female character is Yuxia, Chinese tea merchant and force of nature.

    Filled with characteristic Stephensonian passages - an explanation of installing Linux and a Tor browser, descriptions of the underlying economic principles of a MMORPG, et multiply cetera - this is, despite its length, a taut, fast-paced fingernail biter of a read, lavished with loving gore and peopled by terrific characters. It isn't as funny as Cryptonomicon, nor does it overflow with ideas like that that earlier work (or The Diamond Age) but it's a winner, and Malcolm Hillgartner's narration is absolutely perfect. It only just misses out on five stars because I know that Stephenson can do better - but you probably only get one Cryptonomicon in any career, so perhaps that's churlish.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  • Blackout

    • UNABRIDGED (18 hrs and 48 mins)
    • By Connie Willis
    • Narrated By Katherine Kellgren, Connie Willis
    • Whispersync for Voice-ready

    In her first novel since 2002, Nebula and Hugo award-winning author Connie Willis returns with a stunning, enormously entertaining novel of time travel, war, and the deeds - great and small - of ordinary people who shape history. In the hands of this acclaimed storyteller, the past and future collideand the result is at once intriguing, elusive, and frightening.

    Monica says: "Double review - Blackout and All Clear"
    "Gripping at times but overly long"

    Connie Willis's time travel epic chronicles the experiences of three twenty-first century historians in early 1940s England. The protagonists have travelled back more than a century to explore wartime England and find themselves both unable to return and increasingly anxious that their actions are, contrary to theory, altering the course of history.

    Set chiefly in London during the Blitz, the novel contains some utterly gripping passages describing conditions as the city is bombed, night after terrible night. The native Londoners ("contemps" to our heroes) are portrayed vividly and the true horror of the events is effectively and movingly described.

    If the protagonists occasionally come across as naive and vacillating - well, they are university students, and their youth may also explain their apparent ability to function for days at a time without sleep. These are quibbles - the more substantive complaint is that the novel (itself only the first half of the story) is too long, obsessively following every minute of every day of the characters' experiences (or seeming to, at times). This, of course, is a widespread fault in this age of 1,000 page shelf-breakers.

    My only other complaint is with Katherine Kellgren's narration, which is, at least at times, too breathlessly emotional for this listener's taste. However, none of those faults stopped me listening to the end and neither will they stop me downloading All Clear when a credit is available.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful

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