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J.

Moorhead, MN, United States | Member Since 2013

46
HELPFUL VOTES
  • 27 reviews
  • 37 ratings
  • 0 titles in library
  • 1 purchased in 2015
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  • Dominion

    • UNABRIDGED (20 hrs and 48 mins)
    • By C.J. Sansom
    • Narrated By Daniel Weyman
    Overall
    (80)
    Performance
    (75)
    Story
    (75)

    1952. Twelve years have passed since Churchill lost to the appeasers and Britain surrendered to Nazi Germany. The global economy strains against the weight of the long German war against Russia still raging in the east. The British people find themselves under increasingly authoritarian rule - the press, radio, and television tightly controlled, the British Jews facing ever greater constraints.

    J. says: "Interesting Alternitive History"
    "Interesting Alternitive History"
    Overall
    Performance
    Story

    Somewhat in the Turtledove tradition. Historical figures intermingle with just plain folk in a Britain that gave into Hitler. Story about how incremental compromises on good and right can lead to a civilized society doing horrific things. The explanation for why it is so important to smuggle one of the characters out of the country is not very convincing. Would have liked to see more of Churchill leading the resistance.

    3 of 3 people found this review helpful
  • The Skystone: Camulod Chronicles, Book 1

    • UNABRIDGED (21 hrs and 3 mins)
    • By Jack Whyte
    • Narrated By Kevin Pariseau
    • Whispersync for Voice-ready
    Overall
    (217)
    Performance
    (196)
    Story
    (197)

    Everyone knows the story-how Arthur pulled the sword from the stone, how Camelot came to be, and about the power struggles that ultimately destroyed Arthur's dreams. But what of the time before Arthur and the forces that created him?

    Jim R. Whitt says: "Fascinating new series"
    "A promising start but disappoints"
    Overall
    Performance
    Story

    See my review of book two of the series. Not sure I can stick it out nine volumes.

    0 of 1 people found this review helpful
  • The Singing Sword: Camulod Chronicles, Book 2

    • UNABRIDGED (22 hrs and 27 mins)
    • By Jack Whyte
    • Narrated By Kevin Pariseau
    Overall
    (113)
    Performance
    (99)
    Story
    (102)

    We know the legends: Arthur brought justice to a land that had known only cruelty and force; his father, Uther, carved a kingdom out of the chaos of the fallen Roman Empire; the sword Excalibur, drawn from stone by England's greatest king. But legends do not tell the whole tale. Legends do not tell of the despairing Roman soldiers, abandoned by their empire, faced with the choice of fleeing back to Rome, or struggling to create a last stronghold against the barbarian onslaughts from the north and east.

    Ryan says: "Jack Whyte's masterpiece finally gets on Audible"
    "Interesting approach to Aurthorian legion, but..."
    Overall
    Performance
    Story

    This is not your T.H.. White or Disney Camelot. Though fictional, it is rooted in historical fact and depicts an Arthurian legion denuded of its magical trappings. In that sense Whyte's version is refreshing. Even before the first book of the series is done, however, the reader begins asking. "Can't we move things along a bit faster?" By the end of this second volume it's clear Whyte is needlessly stretching what should be at most a trilogy into a meandering and plodding saga of nine (and counting) books each about 25 hours in length. Aside from its slow pace, the dialogue has an anachronistic flavor and the supporting characters are one dimensional. Pariseau is a competent narrator and I like his reading of John Barth's work, but Arthurian legion demands a Brit.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  • Napoleon: A Life

    • UNABRIDGED (32 hrs and 55 mins)
    • By Andrew Roberts
    • Narrated By John Lee
    • Whispersync for Voice-ready
    Overall
    (293)
    Performance
    (255)
    Story
    (253)

    Andrew Roberts' Napoleon is the first one-volume biography to take advantage of the recent publication of Napoleon's thirty-three thousand letters, which radically transform our understanding of his character and motivation. At last we see him as he was: protean multitasker, decisive, surprisingly willing to forgive his enemies and his errant wife Josephine.

    Tad Davis says: "What a dynamo!"
    "Napolean, more than just a military genious"
    Overall
    Performance
    Story

    If you're looking just for a military history of Napoleon's campaigns, you might be disappointed. Roberts does a fine job recounting campaigns and battles, but there's little new military history here. The audio book is not a great vehicle for battle narratives since one needs a map to make any sense of troop distribution and movements. Though all of Napoleon's battles are covered, they take up relatively little of this book. Roberts is at his best when covering Napoleon's political and diplomatic schemes as well as the anecdotal accounts of his relations with his men. lovers and marshals. Robert's appraisal of Napoleon is balanced pointing out his military innovations, but admitting that Napoleon enjoyed more than his share of good luck. Napoleon often exhibited genius on the battlefield, but Roberts shows us that he was perhaps more a master of political spin. There are many controversies surrounding Napoleon, perhaps the greatest being whether his death was the result of natural means or poison. Roberts offers compelling reasons to believe the former. I sometimes find John Lee's narration to be plodding, but in this recording, he is flawless.

    5 of 5 people found this review helpful
  • Zoo Station

    • UNABRIDGED (10 hrs and 1 min)
    • By David Downing
    • Narrated By Simon Prebble
    • Whispersync for Voice-ready
    Overall
    (187)
    Performance
    (155)
    Story
    (153)

    Anglo-American journalist John Russell lives in Berlin and is approached to do some work for the Soviets. He reluctantly agrees and soon becomes involved in other dangerous activities, like helping a Jewish family and an idealistic American reporter. When the British and the Nazis notice his involvement with the Soviets, Russell is dragged into the world of warring intelligence services.

    Richard says: "As Good as Alan Furst"
    "In the vain of Alan Furst"
    Overall
    Performance
    Story

    If you like Alan Furst stories you'll take to this series. Set in pre-war Germany when Brits were still free to move about and spy on Nazis. Not as opaque as Furst can be, but very much one's Everyman Brit who comes caught up in British and Soviet spy rings. As always, how can you go wrong with Prebble doing the reading.

    1 of 1 people found this review helpful
  • The Histories

    • UNABRIDGED (28 hrs and 35 mins)
    • By Herodotus
    • Narrated By Bernard Mayes
    Overall
    (286)
    Performance
    (131)
    Story
    (130)

    Herodotus is not only the father of the art and the science of historical writing, but also one of the Western tradition's most compelling storytellers. In tales such as that of Gyges, who murders Candaules, the king of Lydia, and usurps his throne and his marriage bed, thereby bringing on, generations later, war with the Persians, Herodotus laid bare the intricate human entanglements at the core of great historical events.

    Steven says: "Difficult but enlightening"
    "Maps would help"
    Overall
    Performance
    Story

    It's hard to call yourself an historian and not to have read Herodotus, the Father of History. Every time I'd pick up the written version, I found the beginning so slow (and so steeped in fable as to be of questionable historical value) that I would set it aside as a chore to be tackled when I really needed to do penance. Listening to the audio version has strengths and weaknesses of its own. One gets through the fables and the travel book accounts of the first book more easily, though I found times where my attention lapsed. There are so many odd names of persons and places, that it's difficult to keep them straight without seeing their spelling or location on a map. This might be one of those books that are best listened too and read simultaneously. Keep an ancient atlas with you as well. The story picks up with the recounting of Persia's invasion of Greece and the resistance made by Sparta and Athens. It's then one realizes just how much of our understanding of the Persian Wars trace back to Herodotus. Many later texts on the period draw on him almost exclusively. Parts of the work are worth many re-reads, but as I say, keep some maps at hand. As for Bernard Mayes's narration, yes he comes off as a Greek oral traditionalists, but his dry voice make dry sections seem particularly desiccated.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  • Devils

    • UNABRIDGED (28 hrs and 2 mins)
    • By Fyodor Dostoevsky
    • Narrated By George Guidall
    Overall
    (38)
    Performance
    (38)
    Story
    (36)

    Exiled to four years in Siberia, but hailed by the end of his life as a saint, prophet, and genius, Fyodor Dostoevsky holds an exalted place among the best of the great Russian authors. One of Dostoevsky’s five major novels, Devils follows the travails of a small provincial town beset by a band of modish radicals - and in so doing presents a devastating depiction of life and politics in late 19th-century Imperial Russia.

    Lawrence says: "Excellent translation and narration"
    "Even George can't save this one."
    Overall
    Performance
    Story

    I read this classic twice thinking I'd missed something. In the end I just had trouble paying attention enough to keep track of the story. Given how terrorism is now a daily occurrence, one would think a book about anarchists would be topical. Dostoevsky is examining philosophical debates surrounding nihilism that was a pressing topic in Russian intellectual circles of his day. For me, however, (and I'm guessing for you as well), this book is too dated to engage modern readers. This is the first book Guidall has narrated that I have not liked. Guidall selects his projects well and having his name on the cover is usually a book's best reference. Suffer from insomnia? Buy this book and let George's melodious voice rock you to sleep knowing there's not much of a plot you'll be missing.

    1 of 3 people found this review helpful
  • The Golem and the Jinni: A Novel

    • UNABRIDGED (19 hrs and 43 mins)
    • By Helene Wecker
    • Narrated By George Guidall
    • Whispersync for Voice-ready
    Overall
    (3703)
    Performance
    (3409)
    Story
    (3404)

    Helene Wecker's dazzling debut novel tells the story of two supernatural creatures who appear mysteriously in 1899 New York. Chava is a golem, a creature made of clay, brought to life by a strange man who dabbles in dark Kabbalistic magic. When her master dies at sea on the voyage from Poland, she is unmoored and adrift as the ship arrives in New York Harbor. Ahmad is a jinni, a being of fire, born in the ancient Syrian Desert. Trapped in an old copper flask by a Bedouin wizard centuries ago, he is released accidentally by a tinsmith in a Lower Manhattan shop.

    Tango says: "Enchanting Debut Novel - Delicious!"
    "A good book made great by Guidall"
    Overall
    Performance
    Story

    Before there were latex sex dolls there were female Golems. Fine, I'm stretching things, but what would happen if you found that you'd fallen in love with an animate piece of clay? Wecker not only brings to life her Golom, but immigrant society in 19th C. America; sort of a historical fantasy. An interesting story with a feminine perspective on love and loyalty. Guidall is one of the few male narrators who do women and dialects very well.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  • John le Carré Value Collection: Tailor of Panama, Our Game, and Night Manager

    • ABRIDGED (16 hrs and 10 mins)
    • By John le Carré
    • Narrated By John le Carré
    Overall
    (43)
    Performance
    (36)
    Story
    (37)

    Night Manager: Enter the new world of post-Cold War espionage. Penetrate the secret world of ruthless arms dealers and drug smugglers who have risen to unthinkable power and wealth. Our Game: With the Cold War fought and won, British spymaster Tim Cranmer accepts early retirement to rural England and a new life with his alluring young mistress, Emma.... Tailor of Panama: Le Carre's Panama is a Casablanca without heroes, a hotbed of drugs, laundered money and corruption. It is also the country which on December 31, 1999, will gain full control of the Panama Canal.

    J. says: "Carre' reads Carre'"
    "Carre' reads Carre'"
    Overall
    Performance
    Story

    Generally I think it is a terrible mistake to let writers narrate their own books. Not so here. While I've gotten used to listening to Carre' through the voice of the late David Case (aka Fredrick Davidson) Carre's disenchantment with the powers of the Western World suits the cynical outlook of his characters. Carre' is as good a vocal actor as he is a writer of the cerebral thriller. Unlike the Smiley series, The Tailor of Panama is almost a comedy.

    4 of 5 people found this review helpful
  • The Fourth Protocol

    • UNABRIDGED (13 hrs and 52 mins)
    • By Frederick Forsyth
    • Narrated By David Rintoul
    Overall
    (151)
    Performance
    (102)
    Story
    (101)

    Plan Aurora, hatched in a remote dacha in the forest outside Moscow and initiated with relentless brilliance and skill, is a plan within a plan that, in its spine-chilling ingenuity, breaches the ultra-secret Fourth Protocol and turns the fears that shaped it into a living nightmare. A crack Soviet agent, placed under cover in a quiet English country town, begins to assemble a jigsaw of devastation.

    Calum says: "Good story, too much detail in some areas"
    "Cold War Thriller"
    Overall
    Performance
    Story

    Rogue elements in the Politburo seek to destabilize Great Britain and let the Americans take the blame. Forsyth is in top form here making the far-fetched come off as perfectly plausible. A great read.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  • A Place of Greater Safety

    • UNABRIDGED (33 hrs and 52 mins)
    • By Hilary Mantel
    • Narrated By Jonathan Keeble
    Overall
    (44)
    Performance
    (41)
    Story
    (39)

    It is 1789, and three young provincials have come to Paris to make their way. Georges-Jacques Danton, an ambitious young lawyer, is energetic, pragmatic, debt-ridden - and hugely but erotically ugly. Maximilien Robespierre, also a lawyer, is slight, diligent, and terrified of violence. His dearest friend, Camille Desmoulins, is a conspirator and pamphleteer of genius. A charming gadfly, erratic and untrustworthy, bisexual and beautiful, Camille is obsessed by one woman and engaged to marry another, her daughter.

    Amazon Customer says: "Disaster"
    ""Historical" diatribes posing as a novel."
    Overall
    Performance
    Story

    The French Revolution is a great backdrop for a novel, just ask Mr Dickens. Mantel should be commended for attempting to be true to history in her copious use of letters and documents of key figures in order to give them an authentic voice when it comes to dialogue. The problem is that most of this book is just dialogue and precious little explanation as to what the hell is going on. I'm a professional historian myself and yet I had difficulty wading through the didactic exchanges of these revolutionaries in order to piece out where we were in the evolution of the Revolution. Even more problematic, in Mantel's effort to rely on writings of these figures in order to put words in their mouths, she forgot that a novel needs a plot. The only satisfaction the reader gets out of this long and dreary piece is seeing everyone get it in the neck. --- Oh, don't accuse me of being a spoiler, you know what happened to these guys, right?

    5 of 5 people found this review helpful

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