In order to make a story, and in the case of an audio book, more believable, more seductive, more addictive, the key architects of a narrated book i.e. the Author and the Narrator(s) must pay very close attention to detail. A missed step on either of their parts rudely ejects the listener from the mesmerizing effect of the chronicle and thrusts them back into reality for which all light prose is designed as an escape.
Even if the listener is unknowledgeable of the History, Geography, Historical Persons, the language used at that time, both technical and non, the tools, dress, methods of transportation, etc.; the precision of these details rings true. A few examples of this are Howard Carter who is best known for discovering the tomb of King Tutankhamen, Giovanni Belzoni who is best known for purloining Egypt’s national treasures for the British Museum such as the two seated Colossi of Ramses II, and Flinders Petrie who is probably best known for the discovery of the Mernepta (or Israel) Stele but who should be also acknowledged for his pioneering of the methodical excavation and documentation techniques. The integration of these historical persons with the multi-dimensional characters created in the fertile mind of the Author constructs a story that is wholly believable. It is as well with lesser known place names like Deir el-Bahri, Maz Guna or the commonly known such as Giza, Cairo and Armana blending with sites now suggested being lost to modern excavators.
The same holds true for the Narrator; if he or she mispronounces words, whether common or Historical in nature, strays from the cadence, dialect or accent of that place and time or, is unable or unskilled at differentiating the voices of the characters these deficiencies renders the recording a waste of time and credits. I had the occasion to listen to a Susan O’Malley version of the Last Camel Died at Noon and hated it. This comparison does not due Barbara Rosenblat her due, however. Having chosen other Authors just because of their selection of this Narrator, I must confess to being an unrepentant admirer of hers. She researches the accents and correct pronunciations for the performance down to the minutiae.
This is the ultimate in pairing and can be enjoyed over and over.
Although this series has the potential to become formulaic, this first book should NOT be missed, even if you elect to discontinue listening to the rest of the series.
It puts an interesting twist on seduction while weaving a plot that stands up to most and surpasses many more of the worn-out writers who rely on titillation and angst to carry a flimsy plotline.
I enjoyed how this story took something from Shakespeare’s Taming of the Shrew and blended it with the well-seasoned sex we saw in Fifty Shades of Grey.
Let’s see how well this series continues.
The Narrator, Kate Reading, does a fine job on Male/Female voice as well as Character differentiations and gets better on accents and word pronunciations as the book goes on.
All in all I give this book a substantial 4 across the board.
I first started listening to Ms MacAlister with the "Dragon Series". I thirsted for each book as it came out. Always pleased with the product, I came back time and again for more. Those series (Green, Silver, Light, Black, etc.) were witty in dialogue, well characterized in number of distinct personalities, broad in storyline and worthy of the public acclaim that they achieved.
Then, having no more in that series to read, I started with some of her "other" Vampire books only a few of which were carried by Audible (Crouching Tiger, Hidden Fang, etc.) and found the surprisingly good as well.
When these 3 books came out in 2013, I was so eager to feed my habit that I did not even listen to a sample of the books, I just purchased them. These books, apparently all in the "Dark Ones" series (but neither labeled nor numbered that way except for this first book) are little more than formulaic with flat characters, shabby storylines and a blind of overly descriptive sex scenes that neither arouse nor deceive the listener into believing that this is up to the previous Ms MacAlister's writings. If these were her first works, I could allow that, as a beginner, she could in time grow to be the KM we all know. However, that is not the case and it appears that these works are merely trying to "cash in" on her previous legacy.
Needless to say I will not be following this series.
While some of the diminishing appeal of her recent works can be due to a lesser narrators, though Ms Campbell is not as near as incompetent as Ms Huber who read Sex. Lies and Vampires, it seems to this listener that the refreshing, witty, detailed, writing of Ms MacAlister has become formulaic. Vampire needs girl; Vampire gets girl; girl saves Vampire.
Having devoured all of her Dragon Series, and the few Vampire books Audible had available prior to the recent releases, I was ready for some of what I had previously enjoyed. This was not my experience. It would be an acceptable first attempt at fantasy writing, but to a seasoned writer like Katie MacAlister it is half-hearted prose.
This is Katie-Light and NOT what one who has loved all of her previous works expected. She has descended to the level of Laurel Hamilton which is a great plummet.
Katie please get your art back on track.
I was delighted when I found 3 new Katie MacAlister novels to indulge myself with. Without a second thought, or a preview, I bought all three. I started with this book because it seems that there is no loss of story line whichever way you consume them. However, when I started listening I had an inverse reaction to my original one of delight. Katie should have stayed with Barbara Rosenblat or, in the very least, Nicole Poole. Katie's story line is either watered down or it is another crime to be laid at the feet of Ms. Huber. Hillary Huber merely "phones it in". Her cadence, attempts at accents, and character differentiations are abysmal. Listen to this book only for continuity in the Dark Ones series. Katie: don't use this narrator again. Hillary: pick a different profession.
This book was published during 1991 at the end of the Persian Gulf War when American jingoism was at its highest. While the rest of America was glued to their television sets to see this media exploited war, Elizabeth Peters (Barbara Mertz) was busily and gently (if I may be so bold as to grant her mantic powers) practicing her own form of syncretism.
That is to say she anticipated and tried to extenuate the Xenophobia that would result from the first bombing of the WTC. In her wisdom she sees people, ALL people as either good or bad but not because of their race, condition of life or nationality, but because of their actions.
Acquiring her Doctorate in Egyptology at the tender age of 23, I cannot help but believe that she embraces all cultures, foreign and domestic and would be a strident advocate for peace and civil rights.
This book was as usual a great read, however I thought that the enjoyment of this book is enhanced, not diminished because of its cultural value. A salutary piece of work.
Kudos to the effective delivery which enhances the experience.
This book stands reasonably well on its own within its own genre (Romance/Fantasy).
It should by NO means be confused with Elizabeth Peter’s Amelia Peabody Series; to do so would be supposititious to the listener, insulting to both Authors (mea culpa that I believe that they INTENDED an entirely different genre for each of their works) and possibly unfair to Audible.
I bought the first few books based on the recommendation of another listener that made that mistaken verisimilitude. It was a good thing that I am a fan of both Genres for otherwise I would have returned these books. Instead I purchased the rest of the series and enjoyed them with 4 stars.
If this narrator could listen to herself objectively comparred to Barbara Rosenblat she would be embarrassed. Too bad there is not a value for no *stars* because she would win that honorific.
Stick with the Barbara Rosenblat versions; you will be much better served.
Although I personally did not enjoy this storyline as much as I have the others in this series, it wins five out of five stars because it is still a superlative work.
Egypt is not the only place that intrigue finds the Emersons! The team of Emerson and Peabody are summering, as they always do, in England and yet there is no respite for them from the crime and murder they always seem to attract in Egypt.
Bound to London because of a book deadline, Emerson tries to persuade Peabody that she should summer in a more salubrious setting with Walter and Evelyn. Amelia will not have it. A death has occurred at the British Museum; but was it of natural causes as the police seem to believe or of a more diabolical origin?
A great returning cast of characters and some new ones as well as the change of venue make this book a nice interlude for fans of Peters and Rosenblat.
Amelia adores Pyramids; in fact she has quite the passion for them. So when Emerson announces that he has the intention to dig at Dahshur with “not one but five Pyramids”, in the swiftly approaching season, Amelia veritably swoons.
As preparations are being made for the two of them to return to Egypt, a joyous announcement by Emerson’s brother Walter and his wife Evelyn of an impending addition to their own household causes Ramses to make his maiden foray into the Cradle of Civilization. Egypt has survived the Turks, European and American empiricisms and the systematic criminal ransacking of its ancient heritage but can it survive the precocious son of the Emerson’s?
Beleaguered by various clergy, collectors of illicit antiquities, the Beau Monde and Egyptological dilettantes; Amelia and her brusque husband and partner, once again, become the focus of dreadful attentions. Further, there seems to be a dark force out there organizing the illegal trade of artifacts. A dark and deadly force.
Non-stop suspense will have you guessing right up until the end.
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