If you are a fan of Rafael Sabatini, you will probably enjoy this book. I read it as a young lad and was enthralled.
However, the narrator of this version is probably not the best reader I've ever heard and detracted from the story. Also, the story is supposed to be set in Elizabethan times, but it sounded too much like the 19th century to me. This is probably the fault of Sabatini rather than the narrator, however.
All in all, the plot line is good enough to keep me interested, but a better performance would have made it more enjoyable.
Alas! Headline says it all. Very little difference between characters, hard to tell who is speaking, far less dramatic. Skip this one and find the Simon Vance version.
What a completely unbelievable story. The one criteria I have for science-fiction is that the story must be plausible. It is a given that this is a work of fiction and there will be things included that we will simply have to accept, but the whole story is simply unbelievable as a plausible apocalyptic narrative. The main character would not have survived and would hardly have been considered a leader if he had survived simply as a passive "observer" of life around him.
Earth may Abide, but I couldn't abide this story and quit about 60% of the way through. Too stupid for words.
I like anything Simon Vance narrates. He's a tremendous reader. There are two things I disliked about this book. First were the extra readers. Some of them were not bad, but the performance was uneven. Few come close to matching Vance. The second thing I disliked were the often preposterous scenarios. With science fiction, you usually have to accept some outlandish ideas, but the best science fiction (Asimov, for example) makes the outlandish believable. In this case, Herbert tries to meld medieval feudalism with advanced civilizations - the result is simply preposterous. We are supposed to accept the revival of gladatorial combat... or the goofy ending with the "Duke" proposing a political marriage with the emperor's daughter while maintaining a loving relationship with his sweet desert maiden, his concubine. Just weird ... hard to believe humans would act this way or think it normal after all the history we have in 'normal' human history to this point.
Obviously authors imagine all sorts of strange scenarios in works of fiction. The trick is making it believable, as if it "could happen". Herbert fails to achieve this consistently... he is best when he isn't bringing in the phony barons and dukes and earls and whatnot. His desert people and their society are great and much more believable.
Yes, Simon Vance is great. Wish he had read the whole book without the "help" of others.
The plot is what keeps me going in this book. There are many unexpected twists and turns. The characters spend a good deal of time discussing philosophy, especially that related to business ("trade") and the views of union members. Their conversations don't seem to be as real as one could wish, I have a hard time thinking that real people talk this way. But I, for one, find the discussion interesting.The love story keeps the story going as well, although Margaret seems to take an agonizingly long time to realize what is happening to her in her relationship with Mr. Thornton. She is a very perceptive woman about people around her - except for Mr. Thornton and herself. Perhaps that is true of all of us.In spite of Charles Dickens' dissatisfaction with the book (he was its first publisher), I enjoyed it immensely.
The performance is very good, Juliet Stevenson manages to create distinct characters with her voice, does a good job with the male voices and personalities, has distinct accents for people of differing areas and overall kept me engaged in listening.
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