Two decades have passed since the three musketeers triumphed over Cardinal Richelieu and Milady. Time has weakened their resolve and dispersed their loyalties. But treasons and stratagems still cry out for justice: civil war endangers the throne of France, while in England, Cromwell threatens to send Charles I to the scaffold. Dumas brings his immortal quartet out of retirement to cross swords with time, the malevolence of men, and the forces of history. But their greatest test is a titanic struggle with the son of Milady, who wears the face of Evil.
(P)1997 Blackstone Audio, Inc.
I recently discovered Dumas' D'Artangion series, starting with the first one that is narrated by Simon Vance. I then skipped "Twenty Years After" and listened to "The Man in the Iron Mask", also narrated by Simon Vance. I decided to go back and listen to the one's I'd missed, starting with "Twenty Years After", narrated by Frederick Davidson. Well, in a work "Yuck". Mr. Davidson is a sad excuse for a narrator/reader/story teller. I gave it a chance, listening for two hours. Alas, I could not take Mr. Davidson any more and decided to check the book out of the library, as Simon Vance does not narrate a version of this book. I have placed Mr. Frederick Davidson on my do not listen to list forever.
Terrible, will never listen to a book narrated by Mr. Davidson again, NEVER.
I repeat all of Susanne's comments, verbatim. I am vastly disappointed. Like she, my one star is for the narrator, not the story.
Twenty Years After is a worthy successor to The Three Musketeers, unusual for a sequel. Dumas is excellent in aging and maturing the characters for the better or the worse based on the trajectory of the personality of each. The caliber of the books in the series varies. but the first 2 are great adventure stories.
However, the narrator is not up to the material. His monotone detracts both in the narrative & the personification of characters. In dialog, monotone is not the only problem. Almost all lines are delivered as if the character was condescending, bored or domineering. There is virtually no distinction between characters. I would recommend this rendition of Twenty Years After only to those who are willing to endure the narrator in order to hear the story.
It is far from lost on me that Fredrick Davidson put a great deal of effort and enthusiasm into this production. That said, his attempts at characterization, while spirited to say the least, were so very awful that I decided to spend the money on a different rendition of the story instead of suffer through the remainder of his performance. For instance, he portrays d'Artagnan with a caricature of a voice that might be appropriate for a stuck-up British dandy, similar in tone to Peter Sellers' role of Mandrake in the 1964 film "Dr. Strangelove." I kept expecting him to say "aHmmm... jolly good, yes" at any moment. His other character voices are bad, but d'Artagnan is insufferable. In addition to this, Davidson's pronunciation of French (as well as those words borrowed from other languages which frequently come up) is simply awful. Even the humblest actor should know better than to approach such a role with little or no preparation.
This story is a classic and my one star rating is solely based on the unacceptable voice acting. Please, get a copy of this amazing tale of adventure and gallantry. But DO NOT choose this one.
No. Nobody I know would suffer through this narrator.
John Lee, who did a marvelous job with The Three Musketeers.
Not in the slightest. I might have enjoyed the narrative that way, but at nearly 28 hours it would have been an absurdly long sitting. However, I couldn't stand the narrator's reading for more than a few minutes at a time, especially when there was dialogue -- he gave all the characters pretty unpleasant voices, and it seems the more central the character was, the less pleasant the voice he assigned.
D'Artagnan is portrayed as a shouting, unpleasantly brusque man with a half-strangled, nasal voice. While the narrator may have been trying to characterize him as a military type, instead he simply made sure that the most central character was the least pleasant to hear speak. The other central Musketeers are given similarly irritating voices. It's a good thing this book is Whispersync-ready, though, because you'll still have to follow along with the text sometimes to figure out who's speaking; sometimes one character's speech is given in the voice of another for a few sentences (or a few pages). At other points, I had to consult the text to see if strange emphasis were being used to make up a deficiency in translation, and eventually considered whether the narrator might not improperly understand what he was reading; the sense of some sentences was altered or even completely obscured by strange emphasis on small, structural words that should only be emphasized for specific purpose: "The robes OF the cardinal..." and the like. His phrasing was often unnatural and difficult to parse. Really, the narrator sucked most of the joy out of the audio for me. If I'd had the hands-and-eyes time to able to simply read it and leave John Lee's voices in my head for my mental performance, I would have. It was a chore to struggle through this version on my way to the next book in the series, despite the story being not nearly so much inferior, and now instead of looking forward to the next in the series, I'm wary of getting another awful narrator.
I recently finished this book after listening to "The Three Musketeers" narrated by John Lee. The story was excellent, but the narrator almost killed it for me. Besides the fact that he had trouble maintaining the same voices for characters from chapter to chapter, the voices which he chose seemed to detract from the characters. The editing was also somewhat sloppy because I occasionally thought that I could hear papers rustling and also the narrator tripped up slightly on several sentences which I felt should have been edited. Anyway, I would give the story 5 stars and the narrator 0.
Unfortunately, there is no choice in narrators for this book. I'm a big fan of John Lee's narations...this is not to that standard. The main characters have awfully grating interpretations to their voice, so I'm glad I'm only listening to this in the car and not on headphones. After a five hour drive today I place the rendition of D'Artagnan to an interaction of the voice of the father in the 80s show, ALF...a bit whiny, grating and annoying. Too bad the producer didn't make him change the voice. D'Artagnan doesn't even sound his age. The story is good, just don't try listening to this for several hours at a time. I'm getting through this, though, so I can move onto the next books, which are narrated by John Lee.
I beg to differ from the other reviewers. I believe the late Frederick Davidson (aka David Case) was without exception the best reader of audiobooks. Although I agree that this reading is slightly below his usual standard, Davidson below par is still better than most other readers at their best. The novel is the first sequel to The Three Musketeers and, although there is a bit less humor in this work, if you liked the original you will probably like this sequel.
If someone told me I would become hooked on these Musketeer fellas in my sixties I would have called them crazy indeed. I hesitated buying Twenty Years After because of a negative review. However, another reviewer assured me all would be well. It was.
If you intend to listen/read this entire series I urge you to not skip Twenty Years After (or any of the books). It’s like coming into the 3rd season of Mad Men or Game of Thrones; you will wonder who everyone is and what is going on. Dumas wrote this saga in serial form. Much later it was divided into multiple books and given titles.
As of today the second book available on Audible, Twenty Years After, is narrated by Frederick Davidson. After listening to John Lee’s brilliant narration of The Three Musketeers, I admit that Davidson’s d’Artagnan was hard to accept at first. But I reminded myself that this is “20 years after.” D’Artagnan is no longer the wide-eyed innocent from Gascony. He’s a man disappointed with his lack of funds. He’s tired of waiting to receive his due from the powers that be. This is a long book – four parts, nearly 28 hours – and within the first hour I was hooked. With the 3rd book in the series, Vicomte de Bragelonne: Ten Years After, I listened to Simon Vance. And, much as I love his narrations, I also had an adjustment period to his d’Artagnan.
I have listened to the entire series now, ending with the Man in the Iron Mask. It was a long, wonderful journey.
(One suggestion: For translated works I often download a copy (usually free for classics) on my Kindle, or I borrow a copy from my city library. I find it helpful to see foreign names and places in print. And I like to refer to a Table of Contents for the list of chapters.)
a decent narrator
the action and the humor
never. the worst narrator i have ever suffered through. seems to have no other "voice" than that of what he imagines a perpetually bored aristocrat might choke out.
frustration at the horrible narration
i listen to a lot of audiobooks. a lot. sometimes i don't finish because the content isn't worth the time. in this case, the content is quite good, and moves with pace. but the narration was so bad i finally gave up. i just couldn't stand listening to the narrator behave as though every voice in the story were a bored aristocrat. all the dialogue is overwrought, and even very funny scenes are flattened by the reading. since i could not find another version, i have switched to reading the book. all the other books in the D'Artagnan series are available narrated by simon vance, who is one of the best, and was indeed the reason i started the series - with The Three Musketeers. i enjoy vance's reading quite a lot and often buy audiobooks i would not otherwise due to his narration. i therefore bought all the books in the D'Artagnan series narrated by vance, without realizing that Twenty Years After is the second in the series, and if one skips it one is lost in much of the story that follows. as a result, i put up with davidson's narration as long as i could, and managed to get through the first third, at which point i gave up and am reading it instead.
"The only reason that it was not all five stars "
Was that I wanted to emphasisze my great pleasure in hearing the best narration I have, to yet, ever heard. The accents fitted the characters. How this level of expertise and talent were maintained throughout the story is well worth comment, it added to an already good tale in a terrific read. Thanks, Colin B
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