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Michael

Classics, history, historical fiction, marketing, Napoleonic stuff and of course 'Boys own Adventure'. This is my bent. Occasional self help as well.

ratings
382
REVIEWS
179
FOLLOWING
0
FOLLOWERS
21
HELPFUL VOTES
161

  • The Trial

    • UNABRIDGED (8 hrs and 56 mins)
    • By Franz Kafka, Mike Mitchell (translator)
    • Narrated By Scott Brick
    • Whispersync for Voice-ready
    Overall
    (35)
    Performance
    (31)
    Story
    (31)

    One of the great works of the 20th century, Kafka's The Trial has been read as a study of political power, a pessimistic religious parable, or a crime novel where the accused man is himself the problem. In it, a man wakes up one morning to find himself under arrest for an offence which is never explained. Faced with this ambiguous but threatening situation, Josef K. gradually succumbs to its psychological pressure.

    Ashton says: "questions are better than answers"
    "Not happy with this story"
    Overall
    Performance
    Story

    I thought this would have been a little more philosophical but it ended up being a metaphor for life I think. Nothing earth breaking and in time boring.

    0 of 2 people found this review helpful
  • Sharpe's Triumph: Book II of the Sharpe Series

    • UNABRIDGED (11 hrs and 40 mins)
    • By Bernard Cornwell
    • Narrated By Frederick Davidson
    • Whispersync for Voice-ready
    Overall
    (496)
    Performance
    (241)
    Story
    (243)

    The paths of treachery lead Sharpe's company to join the army of Sir Arthur Wellesley, the future Duke of Wellington, to take on the Mahratta horde. Sharpe must survive the carnage and live to tell the tale of what will be remembered as one of the greatest battles of the 19th century.

    Don says: "Great story - Poor narration quality"
    "A good keystone book for the series"
    Overall
    Performance
    Story

    How and why did Sharpe become an officer? In the previous book Arthur Wellesley had little time for Sharpe and plays a minor roll in 'Sharpe's Tiger', but now he and Sharpe are brought closer together. Why? How? This book answers the questions and does it quite well. One problem is that Frederick Davidson is not the best narrator of Sharpe. The recording is also a little off-putting.
    The battle scenes are well written but Bernard Cornwell has vast experience writing these phrases now after all although this is the second book in the series of 21 odd books, it is more likely one of his last written.
    I like the Sharpe series and have read every book including the short stories, support books and the internet traffic on the subject. I play re-enactment soldiers occasionally although I am cavalry and not a rifleman, but these books really bring the period to life and great escapism. Well worth the listen to but to be fair, better to read as this performance is not the best.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  • For Your Eyes Only and Other Stories

    • UNABRIDGED (6 hrs and 24 mins)
    • By Ian Fleming
    • Narrated By Samuel West
    Overall
    (11)
    Performance
    (10)
    Story
    (10)

    When sudden emergencies arise, James Bond is there to meet them. Whether dealing with the assassination of a Cuban thug in America, the destruction of an international heroin ring or a mysterious death in the Seychelles, 007 gets the job done in his own unmistakable style. Contains the short stories: From a View to a Kill; For Your Eyes Only; Quantum of Solace; Risico and The Hildebrand Rarity.

    Michael says: "Surprising nice neat stories"
    "Surprising nice neat stories"
    Overall
    Performance
    Story

    For film buffs, the only similarities are the titles. These stories, usually an hour long are nice short reads. As you already know Bond and the support characters there is no need to go back and give us their stories and so the narrative moves along nicely. I found the way Ian Fleming told the story of 'Quantum of Solace' was beautifully done. Samuel West is excellent narrating these stories and didn't skip a beat with any of the characters even the womens voices. I found 'A View to a Kill' a little tripe but the other stories enthralling. Now I am ready to move onto 'Thunderball'.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  • The Barbary Pirates: An Ethan Gage Adventure

    • UNABRIDGED (10 hrs and 54 mins)
    • By William Dietrich
    • Narrated By William Dufris
    • Whispersync for Voice-ready
    Overall
    (54)
    Performance
    (34)
    Story
    (34)

    Swashbuckling American explorer and ladies' man Ethan Gage has seen his fair share of danger, having braved the sands of Egypt, the perils of the Atlantic Ocean, and the harsh wilderness of early America. Once more, he finds himself in a desperate race, this time with the Barbary Pirates, a powerful band of Muslim outlaws from North Africa.

    Kevin says: "Difficult to listen to."
    "Unbelievable fun"
    Overall
    Performance
    Story

    If you are listening to these books, by now you will know what you are going to get. Totally unbelievable swashbuckling fun. Adventure to the max! Ethan Gage is a sort of unlikely hero who is trying to reform his ways and has picked up some skills along the way. Historical figures are portrayed nicely and much of what is portrayed in this book actually happened, possibly as William Dietrich has described. William Dufris is the best narrator of these books thus far. I listened to this book in one sitting on a long drive from Melbourne to Sydney and was not left wanting for a minute.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  • Blood Rain

    • UNABRIDGED (8 hrs)
    • By Michael Dibdin
    • Narrated By Michael Kitchen
    • Whispersync for Voice-ready
    Overall
    (41)
    Performance
    (31)
    Story
    (28)

    Inspector Zen receives the order he has been dreading all his professional life: his next posting is to Sicily. Set against the backdrop of the 3000 year old city of Catania, Blood Rain reveals Aurelio Zen at his most desperate and driven.

    David says: "Be prepared for a rain of blood!"
    "A great piece of writing"
    Overall
    Performance
    Story

    This story seems to leave Zen and follow other characters. You get the feeling that Zen is a support character. Little stories are threaded into this story and are fascinating in themselves. Then everything turns on a dime. Zen is back in the centre of the story, and what is happening can only happen to him with his luck. This story ties up nicely with a great cliff hanger. Not my favourite of his books but close to the top of the list.
    Pity the next three books are not on Audible:
    1. And Then You Die
    2. Medusa
    3. Back to Bologna
    I'll have to go 'old school' and turn pages to find out what happens to our intrepid hero.
    Michael Dibdin has really developed a great story line and his writing has really become a dream to listen to. Michael Kitchen is superb in his narration and I can't wait to get on with the next instalment of an Aurelia Zen Myster 'And Then You Die'.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  • Zen and the Art of Motorcycle Maintenance

    • UNABRIDGED (14 hrs and 22 mins)
    • By Robert M Pirsig
    • Narrated By Michael Kramer
    • Whispersync for Voice-ready
    Overall
    (26)
    Performance
    (24)
    Story
    (26)

    One of the great novels of the 1970s and a multi-million copy best-seller. Against astonishing landscapes, a father and his troubled teenage son journey together by motorcycle from Minnesota to California through shifting climates and changing moods. Behind this literal journey lies a turbulent philosophical one; an attempt, in the face of despair and insanity, to rediscover the fundamental nature of ‘quality’ in a world where it no longer exists.

    Michael says: "Quality, excellence, truth"
    "Quality, excellence, truth"
    Overall
    Performance
    Story

    Be careful if you try to work out what these words mean you might end up mad. Well if you believe the story in this book. I suppose if you look at a speck long enough you could go mad trying to explain and work it out. This book is an excellent introduction to Zen philosophy. You will not become an expert and you will not be able to fix a motorbike after reading it but what ever you do this attitude the book discusses could be the determining factor between doing something and being something. Might also improve your golf game. The book like any good philosophy book opens more questions than it answers. Some of the book went over my head but I was listening to this book as an introduction and so should expect that. This is a great book for a journey as it parallels a motorbike journey across North America. If anything this book should open to your eyes to becoming a master of what every you wish to pursue. An attitude rather than just learning knowledge. I enjoyed the book and was a little lost after finishing it. I don't think I will ever read/listen to it again but will recommend it to some people who I think might benefit from some enlightenment. Michael Kramer did an excellent job narrating the book.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  • 14

    • UNABRIDGED (12 hrs and 38 mins)
    • By Peter Clines
    • Narrated By Ray Porter
    • Whispersync for Voice-ready
    Overall
    (12081)
    Performance
    (10973)
    Story
    (11000)

    There are some odd things about Nate’s new apartment. Of course, he has other things on his mind. He hates his job. He has no money in the bank. No girlfriend. No plans for the future. So while his new home isn’t perfect, it’s livable. The rent is low, the property managers are friendly, and the odd little mysteries don’t nag at him too much. At least, not until he meets Mandy, his neighbor across the hall, and notices something unusual about her apartment. And Xela’s apartment. And Tim’s. And Veek’s.

    Magpie says: "Super solid listen!!"
    "Interesting, nicely paced, well developed story"
    Overall
    Performance
    Story

    I enjoyed this book but I don't think it is as great as others have made it out to be. Characters are developed well and you start to like them, well all but Andrew, but there is a reason for that which comes clear in the climatic stage of the story. Back story is kept tight and motivations are not overly layered. Nice sic-fi thriller. The action is well described but nothing to 'knock your socks off with'. Ray Porter is an excellent narrator and Peter Clines I think will be writing some great stuff soon. Worth a listen to on a long flight.

    1 of 1 people found this review helpful
  • Das Reich

    • UNABRIDGED (10 hrs and 33 mins)
    • By Max Hastings
    • Narrated By Nigel Carrington
    Overall
    (3)
    Performance
    (3)
    Story
    (3)

    Within days of the D-Day landings, the 'Das Reich' 2nd SS Panzer Division marched north through France to reinforce the front-line defenders of Hitler's Fortress Europe. Veterans of the bloodiest fighting of the Russian Front, 15,000 men with their tanks and artillery, they were hounded for every mile of their march by saboteurs of the Resistance and agents of the Allied Special Forces. Along their route they took reprisals so savage they will live forever in the chronicles of the most appalling atrocities of war.

    Michael says: "A case study of a Nazi Panzer Regiment France 1944"
    "A case study of a Nazi Panzer Regiment France 1944"
    Overall
    Performance
    Story

    I found this book to be a little like the TV sitcom 'Hallo Hallo' and a mix of clique Nazi behaviour and sometimes nothing new in behaviour of armies throughout history. Max Hastings asks these questions by the end of the book and although not excusing the Das Reich still shows that even the British Army is guilty of such behaviour at times if not on such a scale. Personally I don't believe international law has answered the question about irregulars, partisans, guerrillas and terrorists. One side has to play by the rules whilst the other seems to have carte blanche to carry on as they wish, as long as they are on the winning side. Max Hasting has decided to leave out some of the more dreadful details and un-collaborated evidence to keep the story flowing which helps to focus on the history. Das Reich was never going to win the hearts & minds of the French and their tactics of terror was used to effect throughout Europe especially in Russia, so what could you expect? As for the British and Allies. They really had no idea how to use the resistance properly, or what genie they had help to let out of the bottle. Nobody comes out of this story looking good. Perhaps the Americans but only due to their naivety. Like any soldier, when your enemy isn't in uniform, does not play by the rules and kills indiscriminately, everybody becomes the enemy. You tend to fight fire with fire.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  • The Dakota Cipher

    • UNABRIDGED (12 hrs and 24 mins)
    • By William Dietrich
    • Narrated By William Dufris
    • Whispersync for Voice-ready
    Overall
    (28)
    Performance
    (20)
    Story
    (20)

    Ethan Gage, the hero of Napoleon's Pyramids and The Rosetta Key, just wants to enjoy the fruits of victory after helping Napoleon win the Battle of Marengo and end an undeclared naval war with the United States. But a foolish tryst with Bonaparte's married sister and the improbable schemes of a grizzled Norwegian named Magnus Bloodhammer soon send Ethan on a new treasure hunt on America's frontier that will have him dodging scheming aristocrats and hostile Indians.

    Michael says: "Not the best in the series but the best performed"
    "Not the best in the series but the best performed"
    Overall
    Performance
    Story

    William Dietrich captures the large scale of North America in the early 19th century. His villains are ruthless indians and British nobleman + half sister. The sex scenes are not over done and possibly a little wishful thinking but it's fiction. William Dufris is excellent at performing the narration. He is the best thus far and even made the women sound realistic. Napoleon, well the last two narrators (Napoleon's Pyramids & Rosetta Key) made him more real, but lets not get picky.
    Good fun action book even though there is some slow parts and the end ties up too neatly for my liking. Meeting famous people makes it a little too Forest Gump or Flashman without the humour or twist of fate.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  • Samurai the Way of Bushido: The Way of the Warrior

    • UNABRIDGED (7 hrs and 54 mins)
    • By Henry Epps
    • Narrated By Ellery Truesdell
    Overall
    (2)
    Performance
    (2)
    Story
    (2)

    Samurai, usually referred to in Japanese as bushi or buke, were the military nobility of medieval and early-modern Japan. According to translator William Scott Wilson: "In Chinese, the character was originally a verb meaning to wait upon or accompany persons in the upper ranks of society, and this is also true of the original term in Japanese, saburau. In both countries the terms were nominalized to mean 'those who serve in close attendance to the nobility', the pronunciation in Japanese changing to saburai."

    Michael says: "One more famous Samurai and it's Seppuku"
    "One more famous Samurai and it's Seppuku"
    Overall
    Performance
    Story

    Ellery Truesdell is robotic and plain boring reading this book. I thought it might introduce me to the Zen like qualities of a Samurai warrior. It is a history. There are better books even in the Audible library. Half the book is taken up with famous Samurai. This gets tedious very quickly. Henry Epps does do an excellent job in the last chapters concerning Kamikaze in the later faze of WWII.
    Not the best book but if you are making a study of this subject this book can't hurt, but could be missed.

    0 of 1 people found this review helpful
  • Breakfast at Tiffany's

    • UNABRIDGED (2 hrs and 52 mins)
    • By Truman Capote
    • Narrated By Michael C. Hall
    Overall
    (1422)
    Performance
    (1303)
    Story
    (1313)

    Golden Globe-winning actor Michael C. Hall (Dexter, Six Feet Under) performs Truman Capote's masterstroke about a young writer's charmed fascination with his unorthodox neighbor, the "American geisha" Holly Golightly. Holly - a World War II-era society girl in her late teens - survives via socialization, attending parties and restaurants with men from the wealthy upper class who also provide her with money and expensive gifts. Over the course of the novella, the seemingly shallow Holly slowly opens up to the curious protagonist.

    Michael says: "Subtle yet Extravagant"
    "Nothing like the movie"
    Overall
    Performance
    Story

    Nicely written, well performed and interesting. The movie; beside Audrey Hepburn - who considered the film not her best work - is a waste of time. Well the song 'Moon River' is a classic and so is the little black dress, with perks. I understand that Capote despised the film version.
    This book is good, not great but a nice light read, or listen to. I think we all know someone in our lifetime similar to Holly Golightly and perhaps have fallen in love with them a little. "Fred", I don't think we ever find out his real name - not important, is of course ourselves looking back on youthful drama. In Seinfield TV sitcom it is claimed that Fred was gay (fifth episode for the sixth season. It aired on October 27, 1994), but I never found this in this book. Once again doesn't matter but it would explain why Fred never really pursued Holly, of course in the movie Audrey Hepburn and George Peppard -Paul Varjak (Fred) get together, well we are lead to that conclusion, but the book is more real and probably just as innocent as the movie although real. Can't explain that one, listen to the book and enjoy it.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful

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