At first I thought this series was going to be tedious as it seems to be a simple story, but very long. I am beginning to appreciate the detail with which the author spins the tale. He obviously has some engineering background and he goes to great lengths to give the reader insight on how certain things are manufactured in the alternate earth. By the same token, he develops his characters well and even focuses attention on what could be considered minor characters. I reviewed the previous volumes and noted that Audible should allow "listener/readers" access to the maps and other illustrations that are in the printed versions of the books. There should be some way that a purchaser of an audio book can receive the ancillary devices the author deemed necessary in the printed version. This is the only weak link in any audio book - not just this series. The narrator is extremely talented. It is amazing how he provides for all the different voices of the characters whether male or female, human or non-human, Australian, etc. I am now committed to every book coming in this series. It is a superior epic type of tale.
This book is similar in scope to another book by the same author, Empire of the Summer Moon, in that it covers not only the biography of General Jackson, but it is an exhaustive reference of the period. The research that Gwynne did on both of these books staggers my mind. Moreover, to write this non-fiction in such an exciting narrative is very special. I learned a lot about the Civil War in Virginia that I did not know before reading this book. The author took great effort in showing how Lee and Jackson were much better field commanders than their northern counterparts in the first years of the war. This book reveals all the personal quirkiness of Jackson's personality, which really makes the general come alive. He wasn't simply the one dimensional military genius that many believe, but a nerdy science teacher who rose to the occasion for his state. I enjoyed the stories about his ineptness in certain areas which contrasted with his battlefield mastery. The narrator did an outstanding job of reading the book and capturing the nineteenth century atmosphere. I look forward to Gwynne's next book!
I have had this book for several years, but hadn't gotten around to reading it. Like a lot of southern literature, this book starts off with an incident, in this case a telephone call, that spurs the memory of the protagonist, Will Cooper. Will's story is told in retrospect and with marvelous detail. Sometimes a bit too much detail that is not relevant to the story (I guess that's why there is an abridged version of the book available). Frazier seems like a modern day Faulkner and he uses 19th Century language as if he, himself, was living in that century. That is what gives all of his books the charm and authenticity of the period that they reflect. Will Patton's performance is, as usual, outstanding. He definitely has the southern voice to sell the author's intentions. I gave the overall and story four stars because I thought the story got to rambling and the central romantic involvement was a bit too unfulfilled for my taste, although it probably resembles real life. If you are a fan of Faulkner or southern Appalachian history, you should find this book entertaining and informative.
This book was an extremely pleasant surprise for me. It is much in the same vein as "To Kill a Mockingbird" or "A Separate Peace." It is the telling of a middle aged man's look back to a pivotal summer of his childhood. The author has an assortment of colorful and very rich characters that seem to come alive in your mind. The narrator's performance was outstanding and he captured the spirit of the novel perfectly. The author mentions in an interview after the novel concludes that he thought the novel was meant to be read aloud. I agree. There are many audio books that don't translate well to the audio format. They seem a bit confusing and may not have illustrations, charts, or maps to help clarify the story as the printed books have. I totally agree with the author that this is a story that is meant to be told aloud as an oral history. The story does not have a lot of unnecessary detail that has the listener wondering when the author is ""going to get on with it". It may be a bit emotional or sentimental for some people, but I thought it was an outstanding effort overall and well worth your credit and your time.
The author does a nice job of weaving the few known facts about Saul/Paul into a good novel. Clearly, the author had to take liberties since there is scant information known about the apostle. The story was enjoyable and the narrator did a good job. I'm sure that the author conducted a lot of research to keep a book based largely on conjecture believable. For that, I applaud this effort. As a Christian, I was looking for something that would further my understanding of the early church movement and the interaction of the apostles. While no one knows for sure how accurate this account could be, it is probably in the ball park. I gave it four stars as it was very good, but not outstanding. I gave the narrator four stars as he did not change his voice as different characters spoke like the very best narrators do. Would I recommend this book to anyone interested in how Christianity spread from inside the walls of Jerusalem to the outer parts of the world? YES!
I don't know what I was expecting, but this wasn't it. I guess I was expecting something like Extant or 2001 - something in science fiction. This book really isn't science fiction. No monsters or other stuff like that. It's about what happens when an astronaut that has been stranded on Mars survives one day at a time. Think Robinson Crusoe. The story is a perfect balance of suspense, technical resourcefulness, and subtle humor. The narrator is one of the best I have ever heard on audio! I hope the author writes another book - maybe even a sequel to this one. I was not ready for it to be over!! This is the perfect gift for anyone who is an engineer, scientist, or who just likes a great story.
I read Unbreakable by Laura Hillenbrand and thought it was a great book. I was looking for something else that might be similar and I stumbled upon this and was not disappointed. This book is incredible and I use that word because had it been a novel, it would not have been believable. The story's focal point is the encounter between a German fighter ace and a young B-17 pilot on his first bombing mission over Germany. The author does eight years of research on the pilots involved and weaves a tale that is not only informative, but exciting and inspiring as well. In order for the reader to appreciate the full story of the one time encounter, ten minutes long, the author creates a context that gives the pilots' background and aviation experience. I loved the story and am very appreciative of the author keeping this event alive. In a world of violence and criminal evil, it is nice to read of decent men with ethics and morality that transcend their own time and place. I gave the performance only four stars. The narrator did a good job with the material and interpreted the voices of the characters nicely. There were times that his breathing was distracting. This surprised me as most of the narrators Audible or the publishers use somehow take out that distracting inhaling. It's not there the entire time, which is why I was even more surprised as to how the director let this slip through. But don't let that keep you from purchasing this book, the story more than makes up for a careless narrator.
This book has the eruption of Krakatoa as the focal event. However, the author spends most of the time creating a historical context of that day. He gives the history of vulcanism, plate tectonics, telegraphy, journalism, radical Islam, Dutch imperialism, East Indies anthropology, etc. So if you're looking to simply find out what happened on August 27, 1883, you may be disappointed. This book is very much like The Big Burn which also creates a context for the forest fires of the American west. If you like a lot of historical factoids and stories, then you will like this book. If you want a book that is simply about the eruption and the days just before and after, you may not like this book. I liked it because the history that the author weaves is rather fascinating as one can see the story being played out in today's world. I give it four stars, rather than five due to the author's way of running down rabbit trails with stories that don't really have anything to do with the eruption, but were interesting none the less. The author read his own material, and he did a very good job. Of course, there were no voices of different characters like a novel, so he did a good job of reading the material. I am glad that I read it as I know a lot more about that area now than I did.
This is an all Australian production from the author and setting to the narrator. This author has a nice writing style that uses a lot of short phrases to respond to narrative or environment. I found that pretty funny at times and enjoyed it. The author's sense of humor was subtle, but it was there. I thought the story itself was drawn out and it started slowly. I suppose that it had to start out slow, but it really took a long time as I kept wondering what the dang book was about! But it did pick up and the story unleashed itself in the final few hours of the audio. The story seemed to reflect the main character's outlook on life as a generally burned out detective. The Australian dialect was key to the book, but was sort of hard to get at times. I would recommend this book to anyone who likes to explore police procedurals from other countries. The narrator did a very nice job presenting the story and was easier to understand as I got more familiar with the Australian accent. I gave it four stars out of five.
This series keeps "sailing" along. I am fascinated by the author's ability to keep it going with no depreciation in quality. This story was very action packed and I thought for a while it might be the last one, but the story will go on it appears. Some reviews complain of repetitions, but there are so many characters and places my memory needs to be refreshed at times. I wish there was a companion book or website that had a glossary of places and names. Maps would help as well. Now I am anxiously awaiting the next book!
I went to Iceland and toured it recently and I thought this would be a nice complement to that trip. I was right. I don't want to give away the story here - almost anything is a spoiler - but suffice it to say that the author uses seemingly unrelated incidents in the book to resolve the mystery. It's kind of quirky in that regard, but ultimately satisfying. Having been to Iceland it was easy for me to recognize the settings and appreciate the characters. Audible has this book a part of a series, but it seems to be a stand alone story in my opinion. The narrator did a nice job with the Icelandic names and place names. So the bottom line - this book is unusual for a mystery, but satisfying. I gave it four stars because the first half of the book was a bit confusing. I'm not sure if there was another way to write it, but I'm glad I stuck with it.
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