I heard this book on tape and am thrilled that it is now available from Audible. O'Brian's characters are truly that, fully rounded human beings, whose faults are viewed as candidly as their virtues. The adventures are based on actual events during the Napoleonic Wars, and the author brings them to life with his portrayal of the telling details and the sweeping political events. The narrator's gritty voice, rather like that of an old salt, adds to the tale well told.
Imagine a book read by Alan Cumming, John Gielgud, Michael Caine, Morgan Freeman. . . well that's the idea. Each of the characters has an accent appropriate to his birthplace and status. He is spot-on and consistent. What a delight!
I speak Russian, so was not going to buy the book if I couldn't stand to hear the Russian mangled. I was pleasantly surprised at Zimmerman's pronunciation of all names and Russian terms. It turned out to be well worth the investment in time and CDs.
I loved the unabridged Book on Tape version, so I bought this to refresh my memory before listening to Darwin's Children. I agree that it is greatly abridged, but it was well done. My daughter absolutely devoured it. And the reader, Stefan Rudniki, is fabulous, even better than the very good reader of the original.
The tale in entertaining and the characters engaging, but the reader is not one of the best. He mispronounced or misread many words, e.g. "kway" for quay, and "harrassing the horses" before setting off. Some references to same-gender sex and love presented in a matter-of-fact manner.
The author explains the historical basis for the current crisis of Islam in an unblinking, unapologetic and evenhanded manner. Although he points out the West's errors and sins in the Muslim world, he does not hesitate to place the blame for the latest terrorist acts where it belongs. The sound of the author's voice, his diction and pronunciation, added immensely to my enjoyment and appreciation of his work.
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