I agree that Prebble's narration is as effective as ever;if you haven't heard his reading of Bonfiglioli's books, you really should; he gives the narrator's character texture and real dimension. However, not even Prebble could save this story.
Potential Spoiler Alert Here!! I was a very disappointed with this addition to the legend. Rather than build upon the existing story, the authors have decided on a bit of revisionist pseudo-history - effectively re-writing Stoker's original story by looking back and changing events and motives. The result is a plot that is more Rice than Stoker. The stink of cheap gothic romance is present here. The addition of a love plot and the reconstruction of the story through a different viewpoint aren't particularly artful or particularly effective. I felt myself groaning audibly at some of the lines, the twists in the plot as well as at the shallowness of the characters given the length of the book and the possibilities. Look out for the massive plot mistake regarding who spilled the beans to Stoker (almost like they changed their minds mid-stream) or forgot who they implied did the deed. Mina is a weak character, Jonathan has become something inconsistent with his earlier character, Dracula no longer a decent villain he clearly was before, Van Helsing's character is wildly inconsistent, ugh. I can't go on. By all means listen and add this to your library to know the full truth and to judge for yourself, but do not expect the joy and fear inspired by the original.
I'm a fan of the Preston/Child books and have followed along faithfully, but I am very disappointed in this story and in the audio version. The narration is uninspired and at times confusingly emphasized, almost as though he was unsure of the meaning of the sentence or the sentiment being expressed. A better narration might have made this less annoying (for example, any female character in the audio version; there is a keening whininess to the ???voice??? of women the narrator uses that makes this hard to listen to at points). The story is predictable and clich?? - the animal-name assassin (Jackal, Ferret, Dragon, Bunny...lame), the aggressive female CIA agent (who of course is sex mad!), the brilliant and physically fit nuclear scientist/special agent in search of vengeance...c'mon. If someone other than P&C tried to sell this to a publisher...well I wouldn't be writting this now. I thought that the zombie news reporter from the Pendergast novels was the low point for the duo....I may have been premature. They really phoned this one in. If you can stand to live through some nails-on-chalkboard faux cockney accent (mercifully brief) and you like some canned plot mystery that requires no thought, this is the novel for you! If, however, you prefer something good, search on! If you???re looking for an example of a good narrator, look at Kyril Bonfiglioli read by Simon Prebble ??? the perfect blend of content and narrative character.
I had high hopes here, but found this disappointing. The plot line is not bad, the characters have potential, but the story just drags. The wizardly words (building the vocabulary of this alternative world) is forced and hollow. Contrary to other reviewers I didn't find this anywhere near Pratchet in humor or plot. None of that casual funny yet universal truthiness (thanks Colbert!) of Discworld. In fact I didn't find it funny at all. The story could have been 3 hours...a much shorter book.
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