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The Top 20 Fictional Villains<p><br/>

Let's face it - a worthy villain makes a good book great. So we've rounded up the Top 20 adversaries to fiction's protagonists, including, of course, literature's most famous cannibal....


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  • The Talented Mr. Ripley

    • UNABRIDGED (9 hrs and 35 mins)
    • By Patricia Highsmith
    • Narrated By Kevin Kenerly
    • Whispersync for Voice-ready
    Overall
    (703)
    Performance
    (605)
    Story
    (609)

    In this first novel, we are introduced to suave, handsome Tom Ripley: a young striver, newly arrived in the heady world of Manhattan in the 1950s. A product of a broken home, branded a "sissy" by his dismissive Aunt Dottie, Ripley becomes enamored of the moneyed world of his new friend, Dickie Greenleaf. This fondness turns obsessive when Ripley is sent to Italy to bring back his libertine pal, but he grows enraged by Dickie's ambivalent feelings for Marge, a charming American dilettante.

    Darwin8u says: "A high-wire, high-risk, high-reward masterpiece"
    Tom Ripley: They don't call envy one of the seven deadly sins for nothing. And in Patricia Highsmith's now-classic, sociopath Tom Ripley takes covetousness to a new—and disturbing level. Orphaned at age five and raised by his cruel aunt Dottie, the suave and delusional Ripley sets out to take over one man's life - literally.
  • 1984: New Classic Edition

    • UNABRIDGED (11 hrs and 26 mins)
    • By George Orwell
    • Narrated By Simon Prebble
    • Whispersync for Voice-ready
    Overall
    (3770)
    Performance
    (2335)
    Story
    (2368)

    George Orwell depicts a gray, totalitarian world dominated by Big Brother and its vast network of agents, including the Thought Police - a world in which news is manufactured according to the authorities' will and people live tepid lives by rote. Winston Smith, a hero with no heroic qualities, longs only for truth and decency. But living in a social system in which privacy does not exist and where those with unorthodox ideas are brainwashed or put to death, he knows there is no hope for him.

    Jay Stone says: "Enduring Classic"
    Big Brother: For someone who's always watching us, we never actually see him. This remoteness is at the core of Big Brother's villainy. He is all-knowing and all-powerful in his absolute control of the party which he rules with censorship, torture, and fear. But is he actually real?
  • Dracula [Audible Edition]

    • UNABRIDGED (15 hrs and 28 mins)
    • By Bram Stoker
    • Narrated By Alan Cumming, Tim Curry, Simon Vance, and others
    • Whispersync for Voice-ready
    Overall
    (2222)
    Performance
    (2025)
    Story
    (2048)

    The modern audience hasn't had a chance to truly appreciate the unknowing dread that readers would have felt when reading Bram Stoker's original 1897 manuscript. Most modern productions employ campiness or sound effects to try to bring back that gothic tension, but we've tried something different. By returning to Stoker's original storytelling structure - a series of letters and journal entries voiced by Jonathan Harker, Dr. Van Helsing, and other characters - with an all-star cast of narrators, we've sought to recapture its originally intended horror and power.

    N. Houghton says: "Gothic Horror Never Sounded So Good"
    Dracula: There is some speculation that Count Dracula was modeled after the real life 15th-century Romanian prince, Vlad the Impaler. In case you're unfamiliar, Mr. Vlad was known for the incredibly brutal punishments he imposed during his reign. Like Vlad, Dracula is driven by his goal for violent world domination. Unlike Vlad, Dracula returned from death as a vampire. Bonus evil points!
  • American Psycho

    • UNABRIDGED (10 hrs and 12 mins)
    • By Bret Easton Ellis
    • Narrated By Pablo Schreiber
    Overall
    (115)
    Performance
    (17)
    Story
    (17)

    Patrick Bateman moves among the young and trendy in 1980s Manhattan. Young, handsome, and well educated, Bateman earns his fortune on Wall Street by day while spending his nights in ways we cannot begin to fathom. Expressing his true self through torture and murder, Bateman prefigures an apocalyptic horror that no society could bear to confront.

    Mike Calvo says: "Really Twisted!"
    Patrick Bateman: Christian Bale popularized Bret Easton Ellis' yuppie and depraved serial killer in the film adaptation of American Psycho. An investment banker by day and murderer by night, his mindless crimes include rape, torture, and even cannibalism. But what's even more frightening? His complete lack of moral conscience.
  • The Strange Case of Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde

    • UNABRIDGED (2 hrs and 57 mins)
    • By Robert Louis Stevenson
    • Narrated By Martin Jarvis
    • Whispersync for Voice-ready
    Overall
    (155)
    Performance
    (124)
    Story
    (119)

    This is the disturbing tale of the dual personality of Dr. Jekyll, a physician. A generous and philanthropic man, he is preoccupied with the problems of good and evil and with the possibility of separating them into distinct personalities. He develops a drug that transforms him into the demonic Mr. Hyde, in whose person he exhausts all the latent evil in his nature.

    Tad Davis says: "The best one yet"
    Edward Hyde: When it comes to villains, the most repulsive and formidable are evil for evil's sake. Edward Hyde reaches this extreme in The Strange Case. A poisonous extraction of Dr. Jekyll, Hyde commits his first unconscionable act by trampling a young girl. Later, he strikes out against a man solely for his kindness. Hyde also proves our toughest villain to defeat, as he is an inherent part of the novel's protagonist. How do you destroy something if doing so also means destroying yourself?
  • The Bad Beginning, A Multi-Voice Recording: A Series of Unfortunate Events #1

    • UNABRIDGED (2 hrs and 31 mins)
    • By Lemony Snicket
    • Narrated By Tim Curry, Full Cast
    Overall
    (752)
    Performance
    (283)
    Story
    (281)

    Like a car alarm, bagpipe music, or a doorbell ringing in the middle of the night, hearing this all-new audio edition of The Bad Beginning will only upset you. This unique multi-voice recording brings the first book in Lemony Snicket's alarming A Series of Unfortunate Events to such terrible life that no one should really have to experience it.

    Diana - Audible says: "Books Will Save You"
    Count Olaf: He has the most menacing unibrow in all of children's fiction, as well as a frightening tattoo of an eye on his ankle and the ability to disguise these distinguishing features so that everyone - except the children he's tormenting - falls under his treacherous spell. In trying to steal the fortune of the Baudelaire orphans, Olaf's early crimes include kidnapping and hanging baby Sunny in a birdcage outside of a tower window, and trying to marry 14-year-old Violet to take control of the children's inheritance...and he only gets more cruel as Lemony Snicket's Series of Unfortunate Events continues.
  • Wuthering Heights

    • UNABRIDGED (13 hrs and 11 mins)
    • By Emily Bronte
    • Narrated By Janet McTeer, David Timson
    • Whispersync for Voice-ready
    Overall
    (654)
    Performance
    (284)
    Story
    (293)

    When Mr. Earnshaw brings a black-haired foundling child into his home on the Yorkshire moors, he little imagines the dramatic events which will follow. The passionate relationship between Cathy Earnshaw and the foundling, Heathcliff, is a story of love, hate, pity, and retribution, the effects of which reverberate throughout the succeeding generations.

    Stephanie says: "Classic"
    Heathcliff: Poor Heathcliff got a raw deal. Born an orphan, Wuthering Heights' central character is swindled by his foster brother and doomed to fall in love with his foster sister, only to lose her to the heir of a neighboring estate. No wonder he's so brooding and vindictive all the time. That said, are these sad circumstances enough justification to destroy the lives of your enemies and their heirs? Heathcliff thinks so.
  • The Lion, the Witch, and the Wardrobe: The Chronicles of Narnia

    • UNABRIDGED (4 hrs and 21 mins)
    • By C.S. Lewis
    • Narrated By Michael York
    • Whispersync for Voice-ready
    Overall
    (3537)
    Performance
    (924)
    Story
    (958)

    Lucy is the first to find the secret of the wardrobe in the professor's mysterious old house. At first her brothers and sister don't believe her when she tells of her visit to the land of Narnia. But soon Edmund, then Peter and Susan step through the wardrobe themselves. In Narnia they find a country buried under the evil enchantment of the White Witch.

    Caitlin says: "Great audiobook!"
    The White Witch: Four words for you: always winter, never Christmas. What could be more evil than that? With a team of secret police, a sizable power-hungry streak, and a conniving ability to charm and deceive, Narnia's White Witch is the ultimate villainous dictator.
  • BBC Radio Shakespeare: Othello (Dramatized)

    • ORIGINAL (3 hrs and 7 mins)
    • By William Shakespeare
    • Narrated By Ray Fearon, Anastasia Hille, Full Cast
    Overall
    (33)
    Performance
    (7)
    Story
    (8)

    BBC Radio has a unique heritage when it comes to Shakespeare. Since 1923, when the newly formed company broadcast its first full-length play, generations of actors and producers have honed and perfected the craft of making Shakespeare to be heard.

    Carol says: "Good Way to Understand Shakespeare"
    Iago: Shakespeare's Iago is the quintessential manipulator. He betrays Othello's trust and tricks Othello into murdering his wife, Desdemona. His motivation may be racism, it may be jealousy, it may be ambition, or it may just be pure evil. But Iago refuses to say, shrouding this malevolent force in a veil of mystery.
  • The Informationist: A Vanessa Michael Munroe Novel, Book 1

    • UNABRIDGED (12 hrs and 22 mins)
    • By Taylor Stevens
    • Narrated By Hillary Huber
    • Whispersync for Voice-ready
    Overall
    (1328)
    Performance
    (732)
    Story
    (744)

    Vanessa “Michael” Munroe deals in information - expensive information - working for corporations, heads of state, private clients, and anyone else who can pay for her unique brand of expertise. Born to missionary parents in lawless central Africa, Munroe took up with an infamous gunrunner and his mercenary crew when she was just fourteen. As his protégé, she earned the respect of the jungle's most dangerous men, cultivating her own reputation for years until something sent her running. After almost a decade building a new life and lucrative career from her home base in Dallas, she's never looked back. Until now....

    Denise says: "UGH!!!"
    Pieter Willem: We can't help standing on edge when mercenary Pieter Willem comes on the scene - to torture, rape, and torment young mercenary-in-training Vanessa "Michael" Munroe. Powerfully built and chillingly sadistic, he forces Monroe to learn how to kill, an instinct she must fight from turning herself into a monster like Pieter.
  • The Poet

    • UNABRIDGED (15 hrs and 21 mins)
    • By Michael Connelly
    • Narrated By Buck Schirner
    • Whispersync for Voice-ready
    Overall
    (3432)
    Performance
    (2085)
    Story
    (2073)

    Our hero is Jack McEvoy, a Rocky Mountain News crime-beat reporter. As the story opens, Jack's twin brother, a Denver homicide detective, has just killed himself. Or so it seems. But when Jack begins to investigate the phenomenon of police suicides, a disturbing pattern emerges, and soon suspects that a serial murderer is at work.

    Tom says: "Is Connelly the Best Crime Writer Or What?"
    The Poet: As if Edgar Allan Poe's words weren't scary enough at times, The Poet uses them to craft fake suicide notes for the people he's murdered. A pedophile and a serial killer who specializes in brutalizing cops, The Poet manages to elude the greatest investigators alive with his cunning, savage crimes.
  • 2001: A Space Odyssey

    • UNABRIDGED (6 hrs and 42 mins)
    • By Arthur C. Clarke
    • Narrated By Dick Hill
    • Whispersync for Voice-ready
    Overall
    (1106)
    Performance
    (661)
    Story
    (668)

    It has been 40 years since the publication of this classic science-fiction novel that changed the way we look at the stars and ourselves. From the savannas of Africa at the dawn of mankind to the rings of Saturn as man adventures to the outer rim of our solar system, 2001: A Space Odyssey is a journey unlike any other.

    Douglas says: "The Movie Makes More Sense Now"
    HAL 9000: The red-eyed supercomputer from Arthur C. Clarke's sci-fi classic goes on a virtual rampage and racks up a nice body count, earning it the distinction of being the only inanimate entity to make our list of villains. Though we must use our imagination to determine why HAL ingeniously premeditates murder in 2001, the follow-up novel chalks it up to contradictory programming.
  • Paradise Lost

    • UNABRIDGED (10 hrs and 45 mins)
    • By John Milton
    • Narrated By Anton Lesser
    Overall
    (175)
    Performance
    (58)
    Story
    (60)

    In words remarkable for their richness of rhythm and imagery, Milton tells the story of man's creation, fall, and redemption, "to justify the ways of God to men". Here, unabridged, and told with exceptional sensitivity and power by Anton Lesser, is the plight of Adam and Eve, the ambition and vengefulness of Satan and his cohorts.

    David says: "Great Epic Poem Narrated Well"
    The Devil: Satan is the original villain. From the Bible to Faust to countless horror movies, the Devil is forever reinvented, but maintains that pure evil he has always embodied. But of all the incantations, John Milton's Satan in Paradise Lost is the greatest, most poetic form. After all, what's more evil than Better to reign in Hell than serve in Heaven?
  • Goldfinger

    • UNABRIDGED (8 hrs and 28 mins)
    • By Ian Fleming
    • Narrated By Simon Vance
    Overall
    (320)
    Performance
    (190)
    Story
    (192)

    James Bond is challenged by a maniacal superfiend: the world's cleverest, cruelest criminal. Complications abound. A beautiful golden girl turns up dead, and a friendly game of two-handed canasta turns into a deadly game of survival with ever-rising stakes: 15 billion dollars worth of U.S. government bullion. But 007 knows that Auric Goldfinger's rules remain brutally simple: heads I win, tails you die.

    DARBY KERN says: "One of Fleming's better books"
    Oddjob: Built like a mountain and nearly as indestructible, Goldfinger's henchman Oddjob can break almost anything with his bare hands and feet, including a stone fireplace mantel! But his deadly talents don't end there: he's handy with bow and arrow, and his metal bowler hat with its razor sharp brim has been known to give men something closer than a close shave. But it's his appetite for kitty cats (served on a dinner plate) that especially qualifies him for our list. Oddjob's ultimate fate at the hands of an exhausted James Bond is a little different than the shocker the film provides, but we won't spoil the fun by mentioning it here.
  • The Wonderful Wizard of Oz

    • UNABRIDGED (3 hrs and 52 mins)
    • By L. Frank Baum
    • Narrated By Anne Hathaway
    • Whispersync for Voice-ready
    Overall
    (1937)
    Performance
    (1794)
    Story
    (1786)

    One of the best-known stories in American culture, The Wonderful Wizard of Oz has stirred the imagination of young and old alike for over 100 years. Best Actress nominee Anne Hathaway (Rachel Getting Married, Alice In Wonderland), fresh from filming one of this year’s most anticipated films, The Dark Knight Rises, lends her voice to this uniquely American fairy tale.

    Thug4life says: "Great for family car ride"
    The Wicked Witch of the West: She's the second witch on this list, but by no means any less ruthless. And she has no shortage of accomplices either. Wolves, bees, and winged monkeys are just a few of this envious witch's deadly assassins - and starvation and fire several of her ploys for putting enemies to death.
  • Oliver Twist

    • UNABRIDGED (16 hrs and 7 mins)
    • By Charles Dickens
    • Narrated By Simon Vance
    • Whispersync for Voice-ready
    Overall
    (329)
    Performance
    (202)
    Story
    (201)

    After escaping from the dark and dismal workhouse where he was born, Oliver finds himself on the mean streets of Victorian-era London and is unwittingly recruited into a scabrous gang of scheming urchins. In this band of petty thieves, Oliver encounters the extraordinary and vibrant characters who have captured audiences' imaginations for more than 150 years.

    Karen says: "Amazing narration!"
    Fagin: Fearful of getting caught himself, the cunning and devilish Fagin recruits poor children to do his dirty work, forming a band of his own personal thieves. With his rat-like fangs and unprovoked fits of vicious rage, Fagin is the stuff of a child's worst nightmare, and Dickens' greatest villain.
  • The Valley of Fear: A Sherlock Holmes Novel

    • UNABRIDGED (6 hrs and 26 mins)
    • By Sir Arthur Conan Doyle
    • Narrated By Simon Prebble
    Overall
    (46)
    Performance
    (26)
    Story
    (26)

    In The Valley of Fear, the great detective Sherlock Holmes has been summoned by a coded message to the house of a man called Douglas. But he and his faithful friend Dr. Watson arrive to find they are too late---Douglas has been murdered, with a mysterious calling card left by his side. Scotland Yard is stumped, but Holmes, detecting the diabolical workings of his arch-enemy Professor Moriarty, has some ideas of his own.

    Jefferson says: "An Uninspired Holmes & Garish American Gangsters"
    Moriarity: Professor Moriarty appears in only two of the original 60 Sherlock Holmes stories. It's a testament to his evil nature that even with such slim face time, he is considered to be the true super villain of the Holmes tales. In fact there is strong suspicion that his place at the head of a vast network of bad guys means that it's actually Moriarty protecting and nurturing every criminal Holmes faces.
  • A Clockwork Orange

    • UNABRIDGED (7 hrs and 45 mins)
    • By Anthony Burgess
    • Narrated By Tom Hollander
    • Whispersync for Voice-ready
    Overall
    (823)
    Performance
    (441)
    Story
    (443)

    A vicious 15-year-old droog is the central character of this 1963 classic, a frightening fable about good and evil, and the meaning of human freedom. In Anthony Burgess' nightmare vision of the future, where the criminals take over after dark, the story is told by the central character, Alex, who talks in a brutal invented slang that brilliantly renders his and his friends' social pathology.

    Steve says: "Great book, great narration, but not for everyone"
    Alex: A little bit of the old in-out and ultraviolence put A Clockwork Orange's humble narrator Alex at the top of any list of literary villains. Alex commits violence for violence's sake, and though he plays at repentance, by the end of the novel, he is the same evil, unsympathetic, unforgiving Alex he was at the onset.
  • The Silence of the Lambs

    • UNABRIDGED (10 hrs and 44 mins)
    • By Thomas Harris
    • Narrated By Frank Muller
    Overall
    (671)
    Performance
    (597)
    Story
    (603)

    A serial murderer known only by a grotesquely apt nickname - Buffalo Bill - is stalking women. He has a purpose, but no one can fathom it, for the bodies are discovered in different states. Clarice Starling, a young trainee at the FBI Academy, is surprised to be summoned by Jack Crawford, chief of the Bureau's Behavioral Science section. Her assignment: to interview Dr. Hannibal Lecter - Hannibal the Cannibal - who is kept under close watch in the Baltimore State Hospital for the Criminally Insane.

    Parusski says: "Much more than the movie"
    Hannibal Lector: Fiction's most frightening villain is a cannibalistic serial killer whose penetrating psychological insight is just as horrifying as his flesh-eating ways. A true evil genius, Hannibal Lector requires few words to torment his victims. If you thought Anthony Hopkins was chilling as Lector, listen to Frank Muller's portrayal of the infamous menace...
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