It's in the top 20% of all books I've read, and I've been reading books for almost 60 years.
At first I thought 'Cinderella', but that's not correct because Cinderella is a decent person who wants to marry the prince, and in the end she gets what she wants.
Keith Stewart already has the life he wants, centered around making miniature machines and living with his wife of many years. He wants nothing else until a tragedy forces him to take massive risks for the benefit of a small child.
Really, this book is more like 'The Lord of the Rings'. While there are no 'dark forces', like Frodo, Keith must leave his happy home and set off to strange and dangerous places for the benefit of others. Like Frodo, the last thing Keith wanted was a quest.
Keith doesn't risk his life to monsters, but he risks his entire meager net worth and his life in his quest to fulfill his duty as a trustee.
Richard Bach once wrote that Neville Shute's writing is 'a hologram of a decent man'. Nowhere is that hologram more visible than in this book.
I enjoyed the sailboat voyage from Hawaii to Tahiti quite a bit.
I'd like to take the BOAC navigator out to lunch, because I used to be a Navigator also.
This book takes place in the immediate period following World War II. It is startling to the modern reader to read how difficult, time-consuming, and expensive travel and communication was only a short time ago.
Besides the wonderful story, this book provides a fasinating look at how many of the everyday aspects of life have become so much easier in recent years.
I only gave the narration four stars. Frank Muller is just about the best American reader there is, but he's still an American. He reads the European characters as well as any American could, but not as well as a Brit would have.
I'm a Texan who had the happiness of living in England for several years. I don't think all Americans appreciate the hundreds of different accents and dialects that we just combine in to a 'British Accent'. I assure you, regional and class accents are a huge deal in UK.
While he can't read every book, I sure wish Patrick Tull had read this one,
I have almost three hundred books in my Audible library. This is the second book that I have returned.
This is the second book by Sawyer I've read, the first was that one about the spider creatures who come to earth looking for a paleontologist. That was pretty good, even though the ending was sad.
This book was down right depressing to listen to, despite having an excellent narrator. The Alien message seems like nothing more than a excuse to put a married couple in a horrible situation.
This was a decent short story crammed into a full length novel.
I'm a retired USAF officer from Texas, and life long fan of the Royal Navy. I even had the happiness of serving (on land) with the Royal Navy a number of times during my Air Force career while stationed in England.
I even instructed for a month on board 'HMS Dryad', which is of course a land based training school, not a ship at all. But I was always tickled by the RN practice of calling their land bases 'ships'.
I've read all the classic RN 'age of sail' novels. I was excited when this book showed up on Audible.
The good news first: It's an interesting story with some fun twists. I grew to care about the characters. In fact, I knew military officers who had all of the problems that plague the characters in this book.
The well connected up and coming candidate angling to replace the older Captain of the Ark Royal was very realistic. In the USAF we called that kind of officer a 'fast burner'. I bet every military has them, including this future RN.
Good officers with drinking problems are very common, Nuttall scored a direct hit with this character.
The mid-grade officer whose marriage is threatened by long deployments is very common, and very heartbreaking!
I liked the way Nuttall handled his aliens. Unlike almost every other SciFi space war novel, these aliens don't want to talk to us. Very probably they can't talk to us, they may not even have the concept of 'talking' as far as the characters and readers know.
For some reason the aliens want to kill us and break our stuff. Why? What the heck are they after?
Sometimes the aliens seem much smarter than us, but then they'll do something that to us seems stupid. Why? Nuttall's aliens are much less of an actor in a rubber suit than most SciFi aliens. Are they devilishly clever or what?
I like Nuttall's aliens, they were very interesting.
The things the other reviewers complain about are all there.
I got really sick of 'gave them a bloody nose'! I kept saying 'forget giving them a bloody nose, they are fish! Gut them"!
Some of the conversations were pretty disjointed by the inserted mental self-dialogs.
It's tiring working on a ship. It's been tiring working on a ship since the first caveman hollowed out a log and rowed across a lake! In Nelson's time ships crews worked four hours on four hours off for years at a time! And they didn't even have sleep machines! Enough about being tired. Man up, space squids!!!!
It bothered me that the RN fighter squadrons of the future are commanded by 'Wing Commanders'. The RN does not have a rank or position of 'Wing Commander'. The RAF does, and for a while I thought that the Ark Royal's air detachment was in fact from the RAF.
I'm pretty sure that a typical RN fighter squadron is commanded by a person with the rank of 'Commander', or perhaps 'Lt Commander'.
That kind of bothered me.
I was disappointed in the narration. The RN officers I knew did not grunt like constipated old men, and they never shouted at each other. I've never sailed with the RN, but I really got the impression that the RN officer corps personifies the very reserved, dignified British gentleman's manner of speech. RN veterans please correct me if I'm wrong about this.
I can say for certain that RN officers are much less demonstrative than USAF officers from Texas! At least when they are sober. ;)
Britten has dozens and dozens of regional and class accents, and the Brits are very accent conscious. The narrator had only his own accent, his attempts to replicate other class and regional accents sounded very forced.
I came to overlook Mr. Nuttall's and Mr. Lister's little quirks because I wanted to see what was going to happen next! Isn't that what makes a good story?
If you liked 'Battle Star Galactica' and/or 'Master and Commander' you very well may like 'Ark Royal'!
EPILOGUE: I just finished volume two of this series, 'The Nelson Touch'. I'll review it separately, but you should know that the second volume is better edited, and has a tighter and more clever storyline. The narrator does a better job as well.
I'm looking forward to the third volume in this series.
This wasn't a horrible book, but it was surprisingly dull compared to all the other books in this series.
The 'aliens' are even more human like than in the rest of Ringo's universe, to the extent they can be easily converted to human religion. To be fair, the characters are likeable and interesting.
Do NOT read this book until you've read most or all of the Aldenata series. To enjoy it at all you'll need to be pretty familiar with the Aldenata universe.
If you are a Ringo fan but can't get through the endless talking talking talking comprises most of this book, at least listen to the last five minutes, there is some interesting foreshadowing there.
Mahaffey does one of the best jobs of combining hard science, complete with numbers, with fascinating human stories I've ever heard.
This isn't a text book, it's a smart funny guy who happens to be a subject matter expert telling you history in a very human way.
The first accident in the book is literally a train wreck, and each subsequent story of nuclear errors, accidents, and disasters have a 'can't take your ears off of this train wreck' quality.
This is sort of like 'Cosmos' for nuclear power production history.
Or it least it would be if Carl Sagan or Niel Tyson had senses of humor and didn't talk down to the audience.
The book is written in the first person, so there is only one character.
Weiner does a great job reading this book, with the glaring exception of pronouncing the word 'Tritium'. For some reason he pronounces 'trit-E-um' as 'trisham'! I actually had to stop the audio and go to the web to double check that there wasn't really an element called 'trisham'!
I don't blame Weiner for this, I blame Blackstone's producer for not catching this glaring error.
I've been listening to audio books since the late 70s, and I've alway found Blackstone readings to have inferior production values. I will say that the production quality in this book is much better than past Blackstone recordings, but they still have work to do match the quality of studios like Recorded Books LLC.
I would have if I could have.
This is not a partisan rant, the history of nuclear power, good and bad, is related with emphasis on the 'bad'.
After telling you the 'bad' Mahaffey provides the hard facts and numbers to help readers keep a sense of perspective when thinking about future energy alternatives for the U.S. and the world.
I'm a 'hard science fiction' fan, and have never been attracted to the fantasy/magic/vampire type of novels.
I somehow stumbled upon Larry Correia's blog, where I read an absolutely hilarious rant concerning some kind of war between writers involving identity politics.
I'm a John Ringo fan. Based on Larry's blog, Larry is cut from the same cloth.
Despite my misgivings about fantasy novels, I took the plunge and spent a credit on "MHI". I'm glad I did.
This book is still pretty 'science fictionany'.
If you have read Ringo's Aldanada novels, MHI is very similar. Just substitute really hard to kill monsters invading earth for Ringo's really hard to kill aliens invading earth, and go with the flow.
Like Ringo's heros, Correia's heros are really hard to kill. Correia's heros frequently get the crap beat out of them, and like in Ringo's novels,Correia's universe includes a method by which a hero can be kind of regenerated without long hospital stays between beatings.
Correia is a talented writer with a great sense of humor. That's a good thing, because there is a lot of blood and gore in this novel, without the large dose of ironic humor this would have been a really depressing 20 hours of listening.
I like long audio books, and this is a long one, in a good way. I enjoyed MHI a lot, it's certainly a credit well spent.
To fully appreciate this book one needs to have read most of the earlier books in the series, I'd recommend doing that. If the first two books hook you then you'll like this one for sure.
I'm a huge fan of the Patrick O'Brian 'Master and Commander' series. There is ship boarding sequence in 'Eye' that O'Brian would have loved.
It was great when the O'Neil family gets back together.
I kind of got a little tired of this universe and so delayed downloading 'Eye'. It was wonderful to see Ringo bring back most of the really interesting characters and put them all on the same team.
It was great that for once I didn't have to suffer through hundreds of pages of humans getting their butts kicked, although by the end of this book our species is clearly not out of the woods.
I personally find Ringo's obsession with smoking, dipping, and breast ogling to be a bit tiresome, but I can put up with this minor fobble of his.
I'm a retired Air Force Navigator and really enjoyed his discussion of the psychology of 'tactical call signs'. He was spot on with this aspect of military life, or my name isn't Hootman!
'The Martian' is one of the most enjoyed science fiction books I've ever read, and I've been reading them for over 50 years!
The story is both exciting and fun. The characters are all great, especially 'The Martian'!
There's lot of real science in it. The physics is all based on real earth physics, no magic, no aliens, no FTL, no holodecks. Just fun and adventure!
The performance and production quality are outstanding.
I normally don't buy books shorter than 12 hours, but the famous magician Brian Brushwood recommended it. Brian was right!
Eleven star recommendation!!
GTT has a lot of specific election and demographic data about Texas, it is a good reference for that sort thing.
The early history of Texas and the details about the various Texas Native American tribes.
The author is clearly a liberal Democrat. That's fine for most of the book, but it distorts his telling of the history of post WWII Texas.
To give you one example, he connects Lee Harvey Oswald with vague 'conservative groups'. He never mentions that Oswald was literally a card carrying Communist.
The narrator has an excellent reading voice, but he was let down by an incompetent producer. Sommer has no idea how to pronounce the many Tejano based personal and place names we use in Texas.
It took me a while to figure out who this 'Juan Sagwin' person was for example. I'd never heard of 'U-va-lee' Texas, which is really pronounced 'U-vall-dee'. Many names and place names are mangled this way.
It's the job of the audio book producer to catch these kinds of mistakes, not the narrator.
Everyone likely to read this review has heard of the Dambusters and seen the movie.
This book takes you behind the scenes from the conception of the weapon through the decision to proceed with the technical development, through the testing, through the formation of 617 squadron, the training of the squadron, the execution of the mission , and the mission's aftermath.
The author provides a lot of personal detail on all the key players, enough to give one a real picture of these individuals as ordinary humans who on this one night rose to become extraordinary heroes.
The production quality and narration are both first rate. This book itself and the narration are NOT dry recitations of facts.
The author and reader really convey the feelings and emotions of the people involved.
Years ago I was a navigator in an airplane called the F-111 from RAF Upper Heyford in England. The F-111 is a supersonic military airplane specifically designed to fly exactly the kind of low level attack mission that 617 Squadron performed that night.
The F-111 had four high performance radars, two terrain following autopilots, a complex weapons delivery computer, and a high precision internal navigation system.
617 didn't have anything like what we had. They flew a night low level into a very capable air defense network.
They had a large high altitude bomber. They had only the most primitive navigation technology, and really nothing but the pilot's eyes to keep the huge Lancaster bomber out of the trees and power lines.
The book goes in to a lot of detail about the ingress and egress phases of the mission. To me, as a former navigator, they were nail biting.
The Dambuster's mission would have been a real challenge to pull off in an F-111. How these crews every managed to do it with Lancasters is beyond me.
This is a good book for people interested in the details of what it might be like to be an astronaut or cosmonaut assigned to a long duration space station mission.
The book has an emotional, flowery tone that can be just a bit cloying, but the level of real detail and fascinating detail make up for that.
The audio book production quality is excellent, the narrator does a great job.
Recommended for readers interested in the American and Russian space programs.
Report Inappropriate Content