The story told here is truly fascinating; it brings history alive in a way I could never have imagined. It should be required reading for anyone interested at all in the history of England
The writing style is superb. The delivery is superb. The only problem is in the "plot"; a weird mixture of history and fantasy. Also, it goes on for too long in a number of places. But it is a real pleasure to listen to, and I could not imagine a better verbal rendition of it.
This novelists spends very much more time with murky, unbelievable "psychology" than with the plot as such. It is very hard to see where the story is going, while we are asked to agonize over the inner feelings and uncertainties of just about every character in the story. OK for compulsive worriers, but not much use for ordinary readers (listeners).
While the story is read beautifully, in the end it is quite disappointing. Four disappearances/murders are carefully described. A hero appears who is determined to find the villains who did them, and the writeup promises that they will all be surprisingly related. But by the end of the book only one case is resolved, and no relationship is shown with any of the other cases. Basically, the writing just peters out, giving a very blah impression.
There are 3 things wrong with this book. First of all, the quality of writing is banal, and disgustingly mushy. Much too much is made of the "inner" feelings of the characters; not enough real attention to the plot.
Secondly, the plot revolves around a completely impossible concept - that there is something for women to eat which will permit them to keep producing babies throughout their lives, into old age. This is apparently sheer ignorance of the biology of womens' reproductive ability (i.e. genetically determined, limited number of egg cells).
Third, the writer seems to think this would be a wonderful thing. Whereas actually it would be a disaster for the family so afflicted, when an aging woman has to take care and raise more and more children. A disaster both physically and financially. And with an aging husband, it would increase by a tremendous amount the chance of producing deformed or handicapped babies. And, since the world's major problem is too many people straining natural resources and increasing pollution of the environment more and more, the ability to produce excessive numbers of children amounts to a major ecological disaster.
Incredible in this case means unbelievable. While the plot has validity, it includes at least 20 and possibly 28 episodes in which the untrained hero faces and is partly downed by evil forces with overwhelming odds against him. Yet each time, with luck, determination, and unsuspected skill, he wins out and survives. Just unbelievable!
The story is set in a British colony in Africa during World War II. The author created a hero who was decent, reasonable, but unfortunately Catholic. The plot involved events which led to the complete destruction of the hero, due primarily to his mindless, ridiculous adherence to the evil dogmas of the Catholic Church. A much better ending would have had the hero converting to some more relaxed religion, or better yet to a sane, reasonable atheism.
This book has no plot. There is no development of characters or story. It is basically a totally boring diary of an assimilant from Nigeria, turning into a medical doctor. I did not want to waste my time listening to it all the way through.
The story is highly unusual and very imaginative. I wanted to hear the rest of it. But I was completely unable to continue listening to it because the reading voice of the young woman relating it was so absolutely abominable. She speaks too fast by far, and her sibilants are half way to a lisp. Overall, I missed understanding of at least 1 word out of 10; it became highly frustrating and I just had to stop at less than half way.
The story is intriguing, if rather harsh on the CIA. The reading would be excellent, except for the reader's propensity to avoid pronouncing the final s in so many words. These include not only plural words, but also simple ones like "us" and "was". Apparently he thinks it would sound elegant. It doesn't; it sounds ridiculous.
The story line is extremely violent. There are evil characters, involved in the drug trade. The hero picks up one of their victims, and becomes involved as he learns of their evil doings; then goes on a murder rampage. The first 6 men he kills are minor characters, unrelated to his major goal. The author claims this is "camouflage"; but it amounts to the "hero" taking law into his own hands, and murdering people for less than capital crime behavior.
A second theme is the Vietnam war; and the intrepid hero is called in for a major plan (which does not succeed). The author takes a totally hawkish stance in this war, and turns people interested in seeing the war end into treasonous villains. Between these themes, the novel becomes nauseating.
While the reading is done well, the recording is extremely poor. One can hardly hear any sibilants; it is almost as if the reader is lisping.
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