During this expedition by sea and over land, Aidan becomes, by turns, a warrior and a sailor, a slave and a spy, a Viking and a Saracen, and finally, a man. He sees more of the world than most men of his time, becoming an ambassador to kings and an intimate of Byzantium's fabled Golden Court. And finally, this valiant Irish monk faces the greatest trial confronting any man in any age: the command of his own destiny.
©1996 Stephen R. Lawhead; (P)2001 Blackstone Audio, Inc.
"Not merely a gripping yarn - and it certainly is that - this is also a novel about faith and the tests life plants in its way. Lawhead, author of the popular Pendragon cycle of fantasies, here makes a sure move into mainstream fiction." (Booklist)
Im a busy Mama, always on the go! Lover of historical fiction and Sci fi horror.
Narration, narration, narration
The story could have been great, the dry tone made it so boring I couldn't finish it.. I would have chose to read this book rather then listen.
This is one of those kind of historical novels that gives you just enough background and tidbits of historical interest to make you want to know more than you will ever get out of the book. I spent more time researching these tangents than I did listening to the story! The story's plot really developed more along the protagonist's perspective than it did the time period of the setting. Because of this, I really expected to see much more character development than I did. The character did not display the gradual, reasonable shift in credo. It was sudden and dramatic and based on self-contradicting, narrow-minded trifles. That is, the exact same beliefs that gave him hope and direction at one point suddenly is the reason to abandon all hope and direction. And the rationale for that switch seems shallow and inconsistent. The story ends with an epilogue that occurs many years later. The characters show no indication having lived or grown or changed during the interim--they change so diametrically during a relatively short span of their lives, then nothing for the rest. This was somewhat disappointing as I'd hoped for some evidence of the protagonist's credo change being worth all that angst. The plot and characterization may have disappointed, but the historical leads made up for it--for I enjoyed learning more about The Great Schism (when Christianity split into the Western structure and the Eastern Orthodox structure) and The Byzantine. Not to mention all the minor tidbits: sultanates, Turkey, Vikings, monastery life, etc. I did struggle with Langton's narration. He had some voice mannerisms and affects that I had a hard time ignoring. It's worth giving it a listen if you enjoy the historical setting.
Actor/director/teacher. Split my time between Beijing and Seattle now. Listen to Audible on the subway and while driving or riding my bike.
A narrative written in the first person which lasts for twenty five hours needs two things above all--an excellent reader and an engaging and fascinating central character. Unfortunately this book has neither. Stuart Langton's delivery is flat and monotonous and almost completely lacking in differentiated vocal characterizations. And Aidan is a self obsessed fool with whom it is very difficult to identify. The fact that he admits as much on countless occasions and maunders on about his spiritual inadequacies did nothing to diminish my mounting dislike for him. As a result, the last third of the book, which contains most of the interesting action, still dragged on somewhat painfully.
I have read and enjoyed some of Lawhead's other books. This was a disappointment. Two of the three stars are a response to the interesting glimpse into the historical period and the chance to break out the maps and follow the journey through unfamiliar territory.
A really enjoyable historical fiction novel. This had all of the elements of great historical fiction; sympathetic and finely drawn characters, wonderfully detailed settings involving place and time, and intricate weaving of fiction based on factual historical information.
The narration was not bad. It did not detract from the novel, however , the narrators voice is not very flexible so many of the characters sounded the same.
A rich, complex character caught in a whirlwind of action. This book kept me on the "edge of my seat" and at times made my heart break.
Geez what a disappointment. 2 hours into it I could take no more. The writing is ponderous and the narrator just drones on and on. Love audio books and have years of listening experience. Seldom have I encountered such a dreary production.
This is a long book--and not easy to narrate, so kudos to Stuart Langton. It's in first-person, so it's commendable that he came up with a believable Irish voice for the main character--although Aidan's bitterness throughout much of the story is hard to swallow, you understand more of what he feels because of the narration. It starts out very slow--but you soon grow used to the pace as it's not a typical adventure tale.
Ultimately, this story, while a dramatic adventure saga in which the protagonist is a monk, a slave, a spy, a prince and emissary, is really more of an exploration of the age-old question of this world's suffering. "How could a supposedly loving, omnipotent God allow the suffering of the innocent?" Aidan, who starts out as a monk, decides that God is neither loving nor omnipotent and his bitterness drives much of his experience throughout the book. Really interesting, no matter what your personal beliefs are, since everyone has had to grapple with such questions.
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