For the full-force effect of any Tom Clancy novel, you simply MUST be given time to digest it all, and that means, UN-abridged. The facts, the twists and turns, the nail-biting, they all necessitate time to absorb, to saturate, to take it all in. I was in the nuclear Navy when Hunt for Red October was published. Clancy knew his stuff then, and he still is, quite simply, the Command Master Chief of military / tech / espionage novels. Don't shortchange yourself by trying to fit a 30+ hour story into a mere 5 or 6 hours.
If you have no other choice, then 5 hours is better than starving, but remember: you have the honor of sitting at the knee of the master, don't rush through it. You might get to the end, without noting anything of value along the journey.
There is such depth to the idea of "forcibles", "endowments" and an ever-expanding history that I felt that I was being schooled in ancient manners and customs. Castle descriptions, war-machines, armor details, so much depth that I could not help but be caught up in the story. The magic here is NOT limited to the Runelords and endowments, as the bad guy (antagonist) Raj Ahten (who seeks to become "The Sum of All Men", and wow, is that so well thought out and complex that you simply MUST listen to fully appreciate the concept) unveils flame weavers and so much more as he lays seige to Castle Longmont.
Don't forget that there are also love stories, battles, ancient warriors, wizards, a "netherworld", and a protagonist (good guy, Prince Gaborn Val Orden) who gives us insights into the way things were and perhaps how they should be, instead. Prince Gaborn is a character I actually admired, as he grew through the hard choices that he faced, I found myself appreciating him and his character.
The narrator has a rich voice that is perfect for the telling of this genre, although when he tried to do a young girl's voice, I felt sorry for him, even while appreciating the effort that he put forward. Some high-pitched, momma's boy would have ruined the audio theatre that is, "The Sum of All Men".
So engrossing did I find "The Sum of All Men" that before it was over (38 minutes to go), when I realized that it would soon end, I purchased Book 2 in the series, and I immediately began listening to Book 2 when SOAM finished!
In fairness, perhaps I did perceive a flaw? It occurred to me a number of times that the author should have gone back and made a reference to certain characters and histories, rather than merely introducing them in the latter third of the story. He introduced things, it seemed, as a ploy, perhaps to set up the next book?
Overall: Thoughful, engrossing, detailed, romantic, captivating. Well worth the single credit! Well worth the listen!!
So, Grandpa was right! Grandpa used to say that you can judge a man's character by the firmness of his handshake. He also used to say that Senator McCarthy was much maligned. Many of the things that I had found out about McCarthy are repeated by Ann Coulter in Treason. Her recounting of historical facts are unimpeachable, and I find her conclusions about liberals--although perhaps not specifically intentional on their parts in all cases--to be true: the results of liberal rhetoric and hyperbole tear at the fabric of truth and work to demean and destroy America. Our schools and universities should put up or shut up when it comes to their revisionist history. Either match Coulter's facts point by point, or at least put this tome right next to the skewed writings in the text books our children are forced to read. Let them see the documentation, the reasoning, the logic, and teach them to learn to question what is shovelled down their throats behind ivy-covered walls. If you have ever seen Cokie Roberts' standing in a parka before a blue screen, claiming to be "live" at the White House, then you should read Treason. Even if you don't believe a word of it, you can follow up and find the same sources she used, and then, then you will question everything that comes out of the mouths of liberal leaders in what is still the greatest country on this earth.
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