Upon re-reading this book, I had to revise my rating from 3 to 5 stars. This is a fabulous story of bluffs, hoaxes, schemes, and other hilarious acts of deception. Hugo, the "unknown Ajax", is a truly charming character, and the supporting cast is outstanding! This would make a wonderful play, and listening to it as an audiobook, with Hugo's broad Yorkshire accent, really heightened my enjoyment of the book.
I was eager to read this book because I adore reading about "the moors" of England and Scotland. However, I soon tired of the endless descriptions of "moorish atmosphere" and found myself speed-reading to get to actual plot developments. The mystery itself was, to my mind, bland and uninteresting, and the murders were ho-hum. I didn't know or care about the people who were killed. The other thing that this book triggered in me, for the first time in this series (which up to now I have greatly enjoyed), was an irritation with the narrator, Mary Russell. In this book she struck me as aloof, intellectually snobby, rigid, frigid, humorless, school-marmish, stuffy, and a tiresome academic show-off --or maybe that was partly the author showing through. There was also too little Holmes, and the interaction between Holmes and Russell was distant and purely cerebral -- revealing a seemingly passionless marriage. I don't think that was the author's intention, but it was definitely my take-away from the book. I'll keep reading the series and hope the next one is better. Finally, although I usually love Jenny Sterlin as a reader, she really struggled with the American accents needed in this one -- they were distractingly bad.
The book is filled with treachery and dishonor, to the point where one hardly cares what happens to anyone. A true-ish Game of Thrones, this might've been titled "As Ye Sow, So Shall Ye Reap" or "What Goes Around Comes Around". I'm probably intrigued enough about the historical story to read the next in the series, but I was unimpressed with the narrator. She could not do men's voices at all, and everyone sounded the same except for Elizabeth's mother who had (sort of) a French accent.
Davina Porter never disappoints! This is the fifth book in a fabulous series and I hope Audible will get them all. The main character is unique and magnetic and the introduction of a new female, Hero Jarvis, adds a great dimension. I wholly recommend reading the entire series--in order. The mysteries are always riveting, the romance aspect is intriguing, the writing is terrific, and the continuing story lines that connect all of the books create ongoing suspense and interest.
The narrator has about 3 voices, which is unfortunate since the book has dozens of important characters. Everyone sounds like an old man. The story didn't live up to my expectations at all. I love medieval stories and historical sagas about kings and political scheming and battles and castles, but this was a disappointment. There were a few people worth rooting for but they never quite managed to do anything heroic and as the story progressed it felt as if only bad things were happening and no one rose above to cheer for. Left me feeling unmoved and absolutely uninterested in reading more of the series.
I really wanted to like this book and enjoyed the first several chapters where the cast of characters was introduced, and was intrigued by the idea of Max Tudor. Unfortunately, the mystery grew a bit tedious and Max's backstory wasn't as interesting as I'd hoped. The resolution was anticlimactic and there were some plot flaws that grated. The narration was okay but I felt the voice of Max should have been more smooth and charming and less pinched. He sounded a bit peevish at times.
I had low expectations of this book and was admittedly daunted by its size. Let me now say, it could be my favorite Dickens novel -- and it was worth every minute I invested in listening to it. The narrator was simply outstanding and the novel was absolutely brimming over with plot -- suspense, murder, mystery, romance, love, devotion, death, tragedy, treachery, humor, and of course, biting satire. There were scenes that made me laugh out loud and scenes that actually made me cry. There were countless unforgettable characters and some of the most touching relationships and dialogue I have ever read. For anyone who loves Dickens, this is vintage -- and the narration was simply perfect. Highly recommended!
No one does it better than Davina Porter -- I'd read anything read by her! This book, No. 4 in the Outlander series, goes some way toward redeeming some of the pain and problems in Book 3, Voyager. The best thing about this book is the increased role of Roger (Wakefield) MacKenzie -- a fabulous character! Well worth the big download!
Davina Porter is again fabulous and flawless in her reading of this book. The story itself is, however, painful for me and is my least favorite in the series. The main character falls from grace and in my opinion never recovers fully to his previous stature as a truly admirable character. I also felt that some of the plot points were contrived and several main characters were behaving in ways that were distinctly inconsistent with the characters the author had so faithfully and deeply developed in earlier books. Still, one has to endure this volume in order to get to the next one -- Drums of Autumn. And ultimately, it's worth it.
This book ranks as my second favorite Dickens novel (behind A Tale of Two Cities). The reader is outstanding, truly flawless in his interpretation of the ironic, the poignant, the humorous, the tongue-in-cheek, the tragic, the hopeful -- everything that makes Dickens one of the greatest writers of all time. The story is long but worth every minute invested. I was sad to have to say goodbye to the characters when it all came to an end.
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