January 1937. Jack Miller has just about run out of options. His shoes have worn through, he can't afford to heat his rented room in Tooting, and he longs to use his training as a specialist wireless operator instead of working in his dead-end job. When he is given the chance to join an arctic expedition, as communications expert, by a group of elite Oxbridge graduates, he brushes off his apprehensions and convinces himself to join them.
As the young men set sail from a gloomy Britain on the verge of war, Jack feels the overwhelming excitement of not knowing what lies ahead. Little can he imagine the horrors that await him in their destination, Gruhuken, a place that cannot escape the savage echo of its past.
©2010 Michelle Paver (P)2010 Orion Publishing Group Limited
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"Dark Matter by Michelle Paver"
An excellent story, brilliantly told. Atmospheric and chilling, poignant and heartbreaking. Narration - spot on. One of the best audiobooks that I have listened to so far.
"Wonderful audio performance"
?Dark Matter?, Michelle Paver?s hotly anticipated adult novel, describes itself as a ghost story, and that it most definitely is, but it is also a poignant love story. Set firmly in the class-ridden society of the inter-War years, when exploring the mysterious Polar regions had the allure that space travel has for us today, Ms Paver?s book is nonetheless crisp, modern and accessible in style. Many have favourably likened the novel to the classic ghost stories of M.R. James. James, I find, chills me most when read aloud, and I recommend the audio version of ?Dark Matter?, read by Jeremy Northam, for the same reason. Jeremy?s intelligent and subtle yet incredibly powerful performances make him the ideal reader of ?Dark Matter?. This may well be his best audio performance to date.
Jack Miller, whose journal forms the narrative, is a loner, a misfit, a middle-class boy with a chip on his shoulder, too well-educated to have anything in common with his peers, and doomed by circumstances to a dead-end job. He is poor, desperate, and longs for another life, where he can use his intelligence. An Arctic expedition offers Jack a chance to change his life. After seeing a drowned man pulled from the Thames, and fearing a similar fate awaits him if he stays in London, he decides to take his chance, though once again he is the outsider amongst his Oxbridge companions.
Jack is a vividly drawn character, and a gift for an actor, as is the journal format. Think of it as one long soliloquy! Jeremy doesn?t merely read the book, he becomes Jack Miller. Jack is a character you will care about. He is prickly at times, a mass of insecurities, at first an unlikely hero, but he is also an ordinary man who is capable of great courage, as we find out.
It is when the expedition reaches Gruhuken that the novel and Jeremy?s performance really take hold. I recommend setting aside a goodly chunk of time to listen because you won't want to switch off!
"The scariest audio book I have ever listened to"
I usually listen to my books late at night, but this was one that almost had me running around turning all the lights on. This must be THE most scary book that I have downloaded from Audible to date. I'm no great fan of violence or gore, and with this book it's the suggestion of the horror awaiting the protagonist that really gets to you - the uncertainty of whether it is all in his (or your) mind. But no spoilers here! I also really enjoyed the atmospheric descriptions of the barren artic wastes and found the narration really good. All in all a highly recommendable read!
"Top 5 Horror"
I listened to this book a while a go now and really enjoyed it from start to finish. It really grips you with the atmosphere and the character(s) are very believable. This makes it easy to feel like you are in the book and believe me when I say that sometimes it is a relief to remind yourself you are not.
I would definitely recommend this to a friend and will be listening again! I am a massive fan of all things horror so for me this is quite a statement.
"Dark. And very cold. Brilliant."
Oh boy, I listened to this while London was experiencing the Big Chill and it totally spooked me. There were times when I found it so menacing I had to switch off . The atmosphere is very convincing thanks to Jeremy Northam's superb narration. Each scene was very clear to me visually and this made the 'menace' of the story even more threatening. But there's compassion here too, the main character is genuinely likeable and you feel - and fear - for him in his solitude. I absolutely loved it.
"Buy this book"
This was one of the best audiobooks I have listened to. The characters were believable, and the story was well developed. The sense of menace was built slowly, with a clever interlude when it seemed all might be ok. Any more information would spoil a great listen - I recommend this book to anyone who has ever finished reading and wished that the story continued.
"Storytelling at its best..."
This really is an excellent book, and far surpasses the basic storyline of a small group of people going to the islands of Svalbard to study weather patterns. All starts well, but it isn't too long before the first sense of foreboding is triggered by the question 'Did you speak to him?'
After this the sense of menace slowly mounts, until two wrong choices Jack makes from misguided altruism lead to the inevitable tragedy, albeit not the one expected.
This is a strongly written story, and so goosepimply atmospheric that at times I felt myself actually there by Jack's side, experiencing the horror of his two fatal and irrevocable mistakes. It was impossible to escape the feeling that this wasn't going to end well; in fact, it was one of the most poignant endings I've come across in a long time.
Excellently written, superb narration and highly recommended.
If you like having your spine tingled, buy this audio-book! You will not be disappointed.
"So haunting and atmosphere - a gem of a story"
It's hard for a book to really capture a spine-tingling ghost story, but this book does it fantastically. The harsh landscape is really captured in this writing, and the characters are excellent. My heart was really racing at times, and the mix of landscape and cultural mythology and factual history was utterly compelling. An excellent story and fabulous narration all combined to make this a real treasure.
Creepy story, very atmospheric and the reader's voice suited the story.
This is a very fine novel, beautifully and evocatively written. Jeremy Northam's superbly atmospheric narration makes it a terrific audiobook, in both senses of the word. Far more than a ghost story set in the Arctic, it is a profound meditation on loneliness, darkness, fear, love, loss, memory and death. Without being in the least sentimental, it is a deeply moving story, movingly read by a great actor.
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