Port Elgin, Ontario, Canada
This, second book in Patrick O'Brian's series dovetails nicely with book 1, Master & Commander. More time is spent on land in this book, but there is plenty adventure, romance and intrigue to further the story line and to further develop the main characters (Jack & Steven)from book 1. The story comes alive, with humour, a vast knowledge of the historical period,politics, ships, and shipboard life. Anyone who likes historical novels should love this series, and this book. It is well narrated by Simon Vance. I would recommend reading book 1 first and to choose the unabridged books. Of note is that there is a choice of narrators and you might want to try out both (between book 1 & 2) to see which you prefer for listening to for books 3-20. (Steven Thorne narrates as well)
This book has plenty to offer with political intrigue, Naturalist wonders and on-ship trials.
Stephen must deviously compete for the Malay Sultan's attention and good favour, against the already entrenched French envoy, in order to successfully negotiate a treaty between the Sultan and the English King. As these French envoys are Stephen's particular hated enemies, his need for success is both personal as well as professional. In this land, Stephen encounters scenic wonders, as well as plants and animals that truely amaze him; the orangutan being one. Shipboard, "The Diane" encounters shoals and foul weather.
This book would be a 5+ except for the poor narration by Patrick Tull. Patrick's own strong accent makes it difficult to impossible, for a lot of the book, to distinguish between narration and characters, and between one character and another. Stephen, Jack, and the many other characters in the book sound much the same, much of the time. This was perhaps the most annoying aspect of the narration, but also at times his narration trails off into barely audible muffled words; an example being when Stephen was apologizing to Jack at one point. In moderately noisy areas such as on a residential street it was impossible to hear him at times and on streets with traffic, I had to be adjusting volume up and down continously. I haven't had this problem with any of the other books in this series with other narrators. His pace also seems slow and rambling at times, which made some parts of the book 'a struggle'. At times I felt like abondoning this book, but the storyline kept me going.
I would recommend any other narrator, but in particular you won't go too far wrong with either Simon Vance, or Tim Piggott-Smith. Both are great narrators, and Tim, in particular, has a very wonderful range and consistency in his characters' voices. Mostly I've purchased books with Simon Vance as narrator, and have enjoyed them thoroughly.
If you have a bank account, credit card, computer or children, then this book is for you. The author both outlines and goes into a fair bit of detail about how identity theft has destroyed lives; and will destroy yours if a thief gets your information. He identifies that all is not doom and gloom, and offers his top 20 methods to protect yourself from this crime occuring and emphasizes that if you don't do it now, before it happens, you CAN'T stop it after it has happened. He clearly explains that financial loss including costs to regain your identity, may not be the greatest cause of pain and suffering from this crime. Financial pain may not even come close to the pain from some of the things that could easily happen to a Identity fraud victim. Some items he mentions are job turn downs, being fired from your present job, being thrown into jail (possibly in a foreign country), loan applications denied and more.
He explains things in simple terms so that an average reader with no financial background can easily understand him. One particular thing I liked is that he gives Web addresses, telephone numbers of agencies that can be contacted for a number of issues like contacting a credit bureau. He keeps the book from being 'a dry read' by using plenty of real life examples of unfortunate people that have been victims of Identity theft.
Raymond Todd does a very good job narrating the book.
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