Down River is a finalist in my personal "World's Dumbest Book" compeitition. There is not one believeable character in it, the plot is little more than an amalgamation of obvious misdirections from the author. Just pick the least likely outcome in every situation and you will know what will happen next. The narrator runs around the book bossing everyone around and beating people up, making dopey choices that are positioned as coming from some saintly moral high ground. Amazingly, all the characters generally follow his orders as he pursues his ridiculous "investigation" untils it lands on its deliberately unlikely conclusion. I'd have to ruin the plot for you to shoot this book up any further. Just thought my fellow audible friends needed a little counterpoint to the inexplicable pile of 5 star reviews this stinker has gotten.
Narrator is fine.
I am not sure why there are so many rave reviews of this book. The story is too ponderous and depressing to be an escape, and too pulpy to be of any literary value. The incantations from Shakespeare at the beginning of sections were so pretentious I found myself giggling. Characters are not well developed and didn't keep my interest, so I found myself only mildly curious about what was happening to them.
Also, those who call this a vampire story I think are missing the point. It is an "end of the world" story featuring murderous mutant blood-drinking super-monsters as the agents of that change. Not that I am an expert on vampire stories, but I think of them as vaguely gothic and, they tend to juxtapose sex and murder, or so I thought. None of that here, anyway.
I think Brick's narration is fine and he keeps your interest with his usual overwrought style.
I did finish the book, so that says something, I guess. The story is reasonably well told, by the author and the narrator. It is a little better than it might have been, but a lot worse than it could have been!!
I am slightly amazed that a book at this stultifying a level of mediocrity has lasted this long. The underlying argument never rises above a remedial level, the characters are dull and not believeable, and the long speeches never rise to the level of real dialogue.
One almost feels that people like it because it makes them feel like intellectuals without having to invest in any actual thought.
Brick does a good job here, especially given the tripe he has to work with.
The Traveler series is a strange one, indeed. The author's call-in at the beginning of book 2 is hilarious. He is presumably on a cell phone, calling us from "off the grid" to warn us of a coming world bereft of love and compassion. But the series is chock-full of one-dimensional characters and gratuitous violence from both sides. Not exactly an ode to love and compassion. The historical context is entertaining from a reverse perspective, sort of like Dan Brown without the benefit of research. I won't call it a stinker because it kept my interest, but listening to it's like eating a big bag of junk food.
Scott Brick, whom I consider to be a good reader, seems to have trouble with accents in this one. The Brits all sound like Crocodile Dundee and the Italian guy sounds like Count Chocula.
You will not find a better audiobook than The Company. It is so long that one might expect a sprawling, flabby tale. In fact, it feels like not a word is wasted. There seems to be a lot of hunger out there for historical fiction; but, often what passes for it addresses history and context with the depth of a USA Today article. Here is a book whose context is very recent history, but the completeness of the subject matter, and the passion of the historical perspective is very satisfying. One niggle: the pedophile subplot is perhaps a bit gratuitous. Do we need that to disapprove of the actions of a police state? Scott Brick is as fine a reader as there is, and completely up to the material.
I can't believe this is the same Frederick Forsyth who wrote Day of the Jackal and Fist of God. The reader is fine, he deserved better.
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