Good news is that the actual information within this book is extremely interesting. The bad news is that it could be stated in about 1/10th the words. The book is a chatty expose of the author's well-meaning but somewhat self-centered preoccupations, thoughts, and feelings, in a trend that just gets worse and worse as the book proceeds. Juice to squeeze ratio in this sense, toward the end of the book as just about nil. As it ground to the end, I found myself saying over and over...I really don't care what you are turning over in your mind....just give me the facts. The narration is OK...not great and a bit pathetic in the various watered down accents (country, Italian, etc.)...would have just preferred a straight read, but not bad.
sadly i'm with the minority who find the endless back-and-forth of the past and present tiresome beyond my own endurance, the narcissistic autobiographical aspect of page after page after page, meandering about with clever phraseology leading to nowhere or perhaps at a snail's pace to a later point in the book that i will never reach. if i want this sort of literature, i'll go to ulysses. i go to le carre for expertly done spy thrillers, no more no less. i was on a roll with the other superb readings by jayston, until i ran into this clothesline.
This applies to all the Jayston readings...excellent in general, but he gets a bit tripped up on accents in this one, although admittedly a challenge to manage Chinese, American and other accents. But his rendering of Ricardo's Mexican accent was more of a bland eastern European sound. At times I just wish he didn't bother. The story is vintage Le Carre, verging on less believable at times as he goes international.
It would have been more enjoyable if I were a 12 year old. Couldn't make it past the 1st few chapters.
I was drawn to O'Brian, being wildly devoted to the Aubrey/Maturin series, but this is a very early work by O'Brian involving fairly shallow predictable characters.
Vance is normally an excellent narrator (Dragon Tattoo trilogy is a triumph of narration) but his exaggerated accents were a bit much on top of the somewhat maudlin dialogue.
don't know...I only listened to the first couple of chapters.
If you want O'Brian at his best with a narration above all others, go to the Patrick Tull reading of the Aubrey Maturin series.
As above.rates better than average but the story varies from semi-believable to fairly absurd.
The author is good at evoking the era and was clearly influenced by The Thin Man, in a good way.
Pretty good but one character is differentiated by a corny New York accent that was grating to the ears.
I wouldn't...a ridiculous question.
As I mentioned is reviewing the first of the trilogy, the tough guy dialogue becomes VERY tiresome, almost a caricature of Dragnet-style terse catchy stuff that is corny beyond belief. Also, the sex scenes....hit fast forward for those, you're not missing anything....a major detraction from these books, and I'm not a prude.
fairly clever plot, enjoyed the historical evocation of an era, one of my favorite narrators
the second in the series, already listening
yes...about the same. at least he doesn't try to fake a german accent
the corny tough-guy dialogue and overblown similes became quite tiresome. also, the sex scenes....could definitely do without...i'm not a prude but they detract and are completely pointless.
OK for a period piece. Very heavy on superstition, of course, but the Christian near-proselytizing would be unbearable out of context with the era.
Other Victorian schlock...no titles come to mind
Phony accents galore. One of the main characters is Dutch but his accent is depicted by other characters in the narrative to sound like a bizarre combination of Russian/German or unidentifiable Eastern European daibolical. If you can't do a Dutch accent, just give it up and don't torture us.
Bored people who like to read. Not a bad
No, not the problem.
Tedious, predictable, uninteresting.
Juggling the story lines gets a bit tedious.
Evokes an interesting atmosphere I will never live in
Nope. Kind of a snooty monotone.
Not in its current form, no.
Central character is good but the story gets outlandish in so many ways. character depth is minimal, at least as portrayed and conceived by this author.
(I'm 57) I haven't finished the book and probably won't. They are reasonably well written, well-narrated and so forth, but as I was listening to the rather predictable "plot", I realized how much I would have enjoyed this at age 10....seriously, these are excellent children's books.
I am such an avid admirer of Patrick Tull that I have tried books other than the Aubrey/Maturin series just to partake of his genius for narration. I did so for King Solomon's Mines and couldn't make it through the third rate work (check my review), and while The Confidential Agent isn't in the same trash league as K S's M, it is composed of shallow characters, a very weak story line that kind of meanders along, punctuated by some of the corniest pseudophilosophy I've heard in a while. Tull's narration is brilliant, however, a mixture of 10-15 different British dialects, but just as the main protagonist is some kind of mystery man not really worth trying to figure out, Tull has to make up some generic southern/eastern European accent.
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