Here is for once a novel that lives up to both parts of the genre’s name: SCIENCE FICTION. Wow, what a concept! That said, it is only enough to make the book work, it is not science for science’s sake (and I am a Latin teacher). It’s not as ‘hard’ science as James P. Hogan or Geoffrey Hoyle, but neither is it just the pabulum of space-magic or space-romance or a mindless space-war snack-book. I would describe it as light-to-moderate hard-science fiction, as well as a galactic war story; it’s also a romance, and, refreshingly different, for a hard-SF --from a woman’s perspective. This one will make you think and challenge your intellect. It’s not perhaps one of the greats of SF, but it certainly is a captivating book that gains momentum as it goes along, and I had already purchased the first sequel five minutes after I finished this one.
The reader, Anna Fields, is quite engaging, and though she may not portray the best or widest range of male voices, she does at least as well at those as most male readers do for female voices; as a male, I did not find her male renderings disrupted the book or made the work any less enjoyable. She was able to give enough individuality to a sufficient range of characters that after the first hour I knew most of the characters by how she read them, and that’s more than one can say for a lot of professional readers. I would certainly not shy away from any titles she read, and indeed consider her a plus for any work I was considering.
This is the second of the Inspector Montalbano novels and it is much stronger than the first. You should begin with The Shape of Water, although this book can stand on its own, you will know then get the several internal references in the story much better. If you enjoyed the first novel, you will like this one even better.
As with the first novel, the characters and atmosphere of Sicily are strong. You will feel like you are there, and the narrator, Gardner, does a great job, so this book makes a wonderful commuter companion in the car or on a long trip.
The mystery itself is first-rate, and you must hang on quite a bit through the book before the meaning of the title becomes clear, but it is well worth the wait. Once again Montalbano steals the story though by now you'll be familiar with his motley crew of detectives who bring to light the wonderful sense of humor of the author, Camilleri.
Persons also with an interest in wartime (WWII) era Sicily will also find this story of interest.
This is the first of the Inspector Montalbano novels and it is a good place to start. It is an excellent book which is more character than plot-driven, and although the mystery of the second novel (the Terra-Cotta Dog) is better, I'd still suggest starting with this book for general character introductions. Oddly, an earlier reviewer commented that the characters were flimsy and I cannot disagree more. Montalbano is not a hard-boiled American style detective, so perhaps if you are expecting Sam Spade you'll be disappointed. But Montalbano is a strong character, unique, worthy of a Dexter's Morse or Allingham's Campion, and I would recommend him to anyone who likes an excellent mystery with a non-American flavor for a change.
Inspector Montalbano is very particular about food, but it is part of who the man is, and unless you are starving and can't find something to eat, these parts of the stories are excellent atmosphere and are NOT repetitive, as I think he rarely eats the same thing twice, and may inspire you to try some new things. He has other quirks as well, but he develops and grows in the four that I have read and listened to so far. Once you get a quarter into this first story, the Inspector's character will grab you and although mystery is intriguing, it will be the personality of Inspector Montalbano and the aura of small-town Sicily which I think you will find the most interesting. I can only guess, listening to the English version, that the translation of Andrea Camilleri's work is close to the original, but other than feeling like you are in Sicily when you listen to this, you won't notice that it wasn't originally written in English. The reader, Grover Gardner, is also excellent and he does the other Camilleri books that Audible has.
As of this writing, Audible has the first four books in this series, but not the fifth, The Excursion To Tindari (2005), although they do have the sixth one.
A delightful treat! This book is perhaps a bit slow to start, but it becomes quickly then the art of storytelling at its best. I’m usually one for ‘hard’ science fiction over books that tend more towards fantasy, and also one to advise fellow audio enthusiasts against books where authors read their own works, but this book surprised and charmed me on both counts. Neverwhere is a thoroughly engaging story, one that I took out of my car when I got home, abandoned my pressing project, and listened to for hours when I really shouldn’t have. So fair warning, this story might just be too engaging! And Gaiman could be a professional reader, he’s that good. And knowing it’s his work as I listened, I was also certain that when he infused a character with a turn of personality that I’m sure I would not have suspected from the printed text, that this affectation surely was in line with the author’s intent! I find myself having just finished this with a profound sense of disappointment that it isn’t the first in a series of adventures about London’s underside. Please, Mr. Gaiman, should you read this, write more about Door and Richard! Perhaps now that I read that is to become a film that more will be written!
Sing me, muse, of the tales of Prince Roger…this book begins a fantastic story, a truly epic tale, absent perhaps the gods of Homer’s stories, but lacking none of the humanity, adventure, and lessons of life of those two great ancient Greek stories. In this relatively ‘hard science’ science fiction, space-war drama, the authors show that they understand the workings of real as well as imagined weaponry, of early manufacturing techniques, and the tactics of war. You will come away with a sense that you have really been in these battles! And yet there is so much more here than the battles, just as in Homer’s stories. This fellow Roger, the hero, will likely annoy you at first, but that is intentional. The growth of his character and the bonds that these characters forge through this series of books is the real heart of this work. Here is a story where you can grow as you listen to it, which is read by a reader who seems to care about the story, and which will not disappoint you or cheat you, but will often surprise you. As you listen to and enjoy this first book cherish too that there are three sequels equally wonderful and all now available from Audible by the same reader. What a treat! If this is not the greatest series of four books I have ever experienced, then I have forgotten a work so monumental that such a lapse cannot be excused.
Did I listen to the same book as most of you? I don't think so. The problem with this book is NOT the narrator, though fans of Rene may have to adjust, Scott Brick is one of the best. He does the book justice with an excellent reading. No, the problem here is that Preston and Child have gotten cold with this book. It reads like a who's who of their previous novels, nearly all your favorite characters will make at least a cameo appearance. But somewhere the story has become lost, trite, and worst of all, predictable. What I have loved best about their previous books was that I didn't know where they were going. This one reads like a dime novel. Two absolutely terrible errors were made. First they jump on the 'hero is suspected as villain' bandwagon, which may make you wonder if they are paying tribute to their fans, hating them, or are just plain creatively in a quagmire; and second, the real 'villain' is frankly quite lame. I'm simply neither impressed, interested, horrified, nor anything else by him. You can't even pity the fellow, only hope that the book ends soon. And, I almost forgot. One more awful thing...they don't finish the book. Oh, sure, I'll buy the next one, but it feels cheap. Gentlemen, you are two of my favorite authors, in my top ten with the poet of the Iliad, but need some fresh characters and a fresh storyline.
What I wanted to know before purchasing this was which translation was it?Audible doesn?t tell you, so I will?it is the current Penguin edition, translated by W. F. Jackson Knight. Not too literal, but yet it stays close enough to the original that if you know the Latin text, you can tell what line number you are on. The famous ?forsan et haec olim meminisse iuvabit? is adequately but not excellently rendered. You should have few gripes with the translator. As to the quality of this as an audiobook: An earlier reviewer gives the reader, Frederick Davidson, an unfairly bad rap. Davidson is an excellent and veteran reader, and many listeners of unabridged Dick Francis books will recognize his voice instantly. His reading is clear, he varies the characters well enough, and his cultured accent is pleasant. That said, this audiobook has significant problems. Recorded from a Blackstone Audio original from 1992 in format 1, and re-mastered into format 2 for some portables, the audio quality is marginal. It sounds like an old cheap Napster download. For someone not familiar with English accents, I can see why they might be disappointed with the end result. Proceed with caution.
A quirky but engaging autobiographical account, which will both give you great insight into the man whom we know as Pavel Chekov, and all that he is and was outside of Star Trek. The book is absorbing, and well read by the author. Not without a touch of sadness, what comes through most is the man?s great sense of humor and spirit for life. From his interesting encounters with other actors to the sadness at the loss of his brother, the book does what any good biography should do, but few autobiographies are honest enough to do, teach you something about yourself in the process of showing you the author?s own life. Thank you, Walter, for sharing all of this with us.
If you have read Mount Dragon, and liked it better than the Relic, you will enjoy this book. Child & Preston together have written horror, but this is NOT horror, and closer to Mount Dragon, and though not as elaborate, it has several engaging characters. I had intended just to listen to this in the car, but found myself so taken in by this virtual world that I put the book on at home too. The climax may remind you a bit of Die Hard, but it does not end too abruptly or leave you feeling cheated.
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