Sometime back in 1996 I was browsing the fiction section in Barnes and Noble and for some reason this book jumped out at me. I took it home and read it almost in one sitting. Its been one of my favorites ever since. The audio version of the book is excellent. George Guidall has a very easy voice to listen to and it is easy to get lost in the world of 1896 New York City.
Caleb Carr writes life like characters you care about whose lives you get involved in and whose destinies you become invested in. We even get to meet Theodore Roosevelt and, to a lesser extent, his family.
This book is a historically accurate thriller. It deals with gruesome subjects and at times the way people acted and reacted in this book made me sad. Sometimes they made me angry. I also laughed out loud a few times.
Ill end this with an interesting quote from the author:
"The biggest challenge was to study the psychological literature of that day so that none of my characters would know more than they could have known in terms of psychology."
Often I cringe at the idea of an author narrating his own work, but Mr. Blatty reads his book very well and he has a rich voice that seems to have been made for narration. I read the book when I was a kid and mostly remember the story from the film, so I cant speak to what was "revised and expanded" although I think I recall an interview with Blatty where he said that for the film he added a lot of the more shocking language at the request of the Director, so maybe thats it, as Regan is quite potty-mouthed here.
Having played guitar for almost 25 years now, I began listening to this book with high hopes and was not disappointed. I learned stuff I would never have known otherwise, laughed out loud several times, and grinned with satisfaction a few times when Tim Brookes confirmed things I only thought I knew, and how I was able to guess what film he was talking about when he tells the story of the movie theme that REALLY started the British Invasion!
Often when a writer reads his own work I am disappointed with the performance and wonder if vanity or budget were what drove the decision not to hire a professional, but I have no beef with it here at all. The reading is lively Mr. Brookes has a pleasant voice to listen to.
My only complaint is that I wanted more, and I suppose that would be more compliment than complaint.
Im not generally a fan of Fantasy. When I was a kid I read Tolkien and Lewis but that was about all the fantasy I could handle. A couple years ago I started listening to the Wheel of Time series and really liked it a lot, so when The Way of Kings became available I almost couldnt wait for my next credit so I could listen. I figured that if Brandon Sanderson could finish up Wheel of Time I probably couldnt go wrong downloading The Way of Kings. Unfortunately, like most fantasy, I just can't seem to get my head around it. There is nothing wrong with it, I guess, but not for me. Judging from the reviews Mr. Sanderson gets for his other work, I can only assume the problem lies with me. If your relationship with the genre is touch and go, I'd recommend going.
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