I enjoyed this book for its period character, and it is a good story with strong characters. Somehow, the overall effect did not reach its full potential. Very little detail of the times of DaVinci in the book, quite a trivial tale really. Was it Leonardo's swans to ride the coattails of the DaVinci Code?
I was so glad to finish this book. I have listened to hundreds of books over the past 10 years with audible and there have been so few that I have had to return but this is the worst book I have ever listened to through till the end. The fundamental problem with this book is that the protagonist is completely unsympathetic, feckless, and frustrating. Bad things happen to him but he compounds his misery as he drifts through his life making a series of idiotically bad decisions. Given a series of opportunities to make more of his life he consistently fails to take them, and I felt nothing but frustration. He is credited with having the human insight to be a fantastic antiques salesman, but displays total incompetence with all his friends, living through the events that happen to him in a state of ignorance. He doesn't say the obvious things and after the first 10 hours I was so frustrated that I considered stopping listening. I think David Pittu, the narrator, is wonderful for every character except the central character. His voice for Hobie, Boris and the others are brilliant but for some reason the central character's weakness is emphasized by the pace and style of the personalization he uses. Whoever directed this reading to be slow and ponderous is most at fault - a lighter touch and faster pacing for the central character might have rescued this work and cut the listening time by half.
This was a first novel, so perhaps one should have more tolerance for "rookie errors". However, this was so poor, that I doubt that I would try any others in this series. On the positive side, it has an interesting premise, and this kept me listening until the end. However, the plot is overly intricate in highly improbable ways - major plot lines just evaporate, never to be resolved; the primary characters have potential, but just don't come across as human, overcoming impossible obstacles without comment.
No, but it has made me believe that this author is talentless.
Dick Hill is a master narrator, but even he seems to be struggling with the scripts hyperbole.
The white slave trade to Africa might be an interesting element, but largely superfluous to the primary "reversed roles" revenge plot. It adds, but creates complexities that the author has to go through unlikely contortions to resolve - e.g. how does an ex-special forces officer manage to persuade a full team to leave their duty on his say-so, deploy with full equipment to Africa, engage in a private war, and then come back blameless? Really?
The protagonist in this book is an intriguing and convincing character, involved in an interesting and compelling plot. Unfortunately the narrator simply murders the book. The written style is full of witty dialogue and irony, requiring an understated reading for its full affect. This narrator simply over acts (hams up) the dialogue, making quite enjoyable witty dialogue just plain irritating. Patrick Lawlor is now on my (very short) narrator blacklist.
I really wanted to like this book, but just could not. The plot and setup are quite promising, but fail to deliver. The characters are poorly constructed, not plausible (even within my highly flexible imagination), and do not develop in a three dimensional way. Net net I could neither relate to, or like any of the primary characters. The overly dramatic reading did not help. What a shame.
I am a big fan of the reader of this book, and the book is a good story. However, the 'production' is just weird - odd sound effects throughout - doors banging, traffic, trains. The overall effect took quite a bit to get used to. I think it is still worth the listen, but what on earth were the producers thinking of?
Another fabulous book from Colin Dexter, read with wonderful skill and creativity. Unfortunately, only available in format 2, and this considerably degrades what should be a wonderful experience. Still worth listening, though.
as a frequent reader of mysteries, I have to say this was the worst I have ever heard or read. Having the author read the book was a big mistake, I am afraid that the reading is truly dreadful. The story however, is worse. Weak dialogue, poorly developed characters, and a plot that never rings true. Nothing to recommend this book. Avoid it at all costs
I enjoyed this book, and with its other two parts offers the opportunity to live in a colorful and well described world. In spite of this the books are surprisingly thin - the plot is just OK, and the character development is weak. The characters themselves offer plenty of scope for development, but somehow the author fails to achieve this.
This is a fun and interesting mystery. The star of this book is the absolutely brilliant reading by Barbara Rosenblatt. I have listened to some other of her readings, and this one is the best. A good author read by a great reader is the best combination!
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