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Sylvia | [Bryce Courtenay]

Sylvia

From master storyteller Bryce Courtenay comes a colorful, lusty story set in the 13th century, an epic tale of a Europe torn by religious intolerance. The story centers around Sylvia Honeyeater, who sings like an angel and can literally charm the birds from the trees. The narrative also features the Pied Piper of Hamelin, Francis of Assisi, the Muslim Sultan and his harem, and the fervor that becomes the Children's Crusade and then, later, the Crusades.
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Publisher's Summary

From master storyteller Bryce Courtenay comes a colorful, lusty story set in the 13th century, an epic tale of a Europe torn by religious intolerance. The story centers around Sylvia Honeyeater, who sings like an angel and can literally charm the birds from the trees. The narrative also features the Pied Piper of Hamelin, Francis of Assisi, the Muslim Sultan and his harem, and the fervor that becomes the Children's Crusade and then, later, the Crusades.

©2006 Bryce Courtenay; (P)2006 Bolinda Publishing Pty Ltd

What Members Say

Average Customer Rating

3.6 (138 )
5 star
 (37)
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3 star
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Overall
3.9 (59 )
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Story
3.9 (58 )
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2 star
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1 star
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Performance
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  •  
    G. stone boulder creek, ca 06-11-07
    G. stone boulder creek, ca 06-11-07 Member Since 2006
    HELPFUL VOTES
    308
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    "a departure for Bryce"

    I have listened to every one of BC's books available on Audible and have always been charmed by his sense of character, adventure, and history. He also paints vivid scenery throughout all his stories. Imagine my excitement when I perused here and found he had another novel! This book, I felt, lacked all of the afore mentioned qualities. Here we have a tale of religious zealotry which dwelt far to heavily on philosophy. Also, I was not impressed with his incorporation of historical and mythical? figures such as the pied piper (Gregory McGuire does a better job in Wicked), although I'm not against the idea, he just didn't pull it off. I also didn't like the narrator, she was okay until she spoke in the first person and then she had a really (I'm not kidding) high pitched and reedy tone. Icckk! She also pronounced all of her Vs as Ws since the story took place in Germany, which I found exceedingly irritating. I missed Humphry Bower, perhaps the best audible narrator I've ever heard. The reason I'm writing this review is that I find BC to be the very best author I have found on Audible , especially for long books, and this just didn't measure up. So for fans, I'd pass... P.S. Where can I get good recommendations to rival BC?

    37 of 37 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Kelly Loder Wichita KS 07-18-07
    Kelly Loder Wichita KS 07-18-07 Member Since 2006

    BookWorm

    HELPFUL VOTES
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    "Not typical Bryce"

    If your looking for something to live up to the Potatoe Factory trilogy forget Sylvia. This book is hard to follow & bombarded with religous zealoty. I hated this book!!! The narrator's voice drove me mad & the story line was boring & hard to follow. I never write reveiws (as you can probably tell) but I would hate for someone to try this thinking they were getting typical, wonderful, full of life & humor Bryce. Not so with this one. Don't waste your credit.

    12 of 12 people found this review helpful
  •  
    mary j aboughadareh Reston, VA USA 06-07-08
    mary j aboughadareh Reston, VA USA 06-07-08 Member Since 2007
    HELPFUL VOTES
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    "Huge disappointment"

    My 7th BC book and what a surprise. It was the same miracles, prayers, songs, story on and on till the unsatifying end. I would have aborted, but I had become a great fan of BC. If I had read this one first, I never would have read the other 6. If you've never read BC DO NOT start with this one.

    5 of 5 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Carol Kurrajong, Australia 03-10-08
    Carol Kurrajong, Australia 03-10-08
    HELPFUL VOTES
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    "Just did not do it for me!"

    I guess its hard to tread in the footsteps of the classics but this book was bler!!
    It is potentially an interesting tale based on a strange historical event but somehow the thread of base and frequently tainted sexuality seemed to undermine the story and it ended up sounding a tad sleazy and at times as if the crude bits were added for effect.May be it is just me but I felt a little put off at times.

    5 of 5 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Lulu KANSAS CITY, MO, United States 04-12-11
    Lulu KANSAS CITY, MO, United States 04-12-11 Member Since 2006
    HELPFUL VOTES
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    "Awful"

    Melodramatic, long winded and dull. I know this is a well-respected author, but I won't read anything he writes again. Several times, the plot seems to be about to kick in, but it never does. And the ending just made me angry at myself for wasting so much time on a book that has no climax. He could have elected to end it on any single page of the book, in the middle of a paragraph, a sentence, or on the 2nd syllable of a 3 syllable word, and the ending would have been just as meaningful. I should have stopped reading after the first chapter. I didn't, to my regret. I cannot recommend this book.

    3 of 3 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Jan Australia 02-08-13
    Jan Australia 02-08-13
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    "Horrible narration"
    Is there anything you would change about this book?

    The narrator's attempt to imitate German accent and way of speaking English is pretty disgraceful. I admit, I heard myself some of my countrymen speaking this way, but it's just a handful of all of us who migrated to so many English-speaking countries and embraced English as their own language.
    The narrator has a pleasant voice, but she made every possible effort to spoil this story with this mocking / caricaturing way she choose to present it to us.
    VERY DISAPPOINTING - to say the less.


    1 of 1 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Ruth M. Penson Los Angeles, CA United States 09-15-12
    Ruth M. Penson Los Angeles, CA United States 09-15-12 Member Since 2006

    Ruth

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    "good story; bad narrator!"
    Would you try another book from Bryce Courtenay and/or Edwina Wren?

    Love all of Courtenay's work!! Would happily listen to Wren if she would NOT use such phony accents.


    Who would you have cast as narrator instead of Edwina Wren?

    Wren is a good narrator when she speaks normally, but her accents her very poor and annoying!!


    1 of 1 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Debra Youngstown, Ohio, United States 07-30-12
    Debra Youngstown, Ohio, United States 07-30-12

    i'm 60 years old.. an avid reader, terrible speller and self pronounced knowitall.. i usually read epic novels like James Mitchner and i stay away from romance novels.

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    "accent annoying"
    Who would you have cast as narrator instead of Edwina Wren?

    The narrator's voice was pleasant and expressive but the contrived German accent almost ruined the whole thing for me.


    1 of 1 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Vicki Delfos 11-05-12 Member Since 2009
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    "A really good read."
    What did you love best about Sylvia?

    The fact that Sylvia kept questioning herself regarding her performance.


    Who was your favorite character and why?

    The Pied Piper of Hamlin. He was Sylvia's constant support who did not judge what she did.


    Have you listened to any of Edwina Wren’s other performances before? How does this one compare?

    No


    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Barb Munson, PA, United States 10-14-12
    Barb Munson, PA, United States 10-14-12 Member Since 2012
    HELPFUL VOTES
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    "Ears hurt"
    What made the experience of listening to Sylvia the most enjoyable?

    The story itself.


    Who was your favorite character and why?

    Sylvia Honeyeater-she overcame so much.


    Who would you have cast as narrator instead of Edwina Wren?

    Someone with a soft clear voice and NO ACCENT!


    Was this a book you wanted to listen to all in one sitting?

    No, I actually stopped on chapter 9 and downloaded Bryce Courteney's "Fishing for the Stars". I read "The Persimmon Tree" before this book, and felt the need to get back to Nicholas.


    Any additional comments?

    for Bryce this was a departure and I can’t blame him for trying something new—the narrator was not the best—she kept trying to add a German accent to the script's characters, it led to a high pitched tone and it didn’t work. It actually hurt my ears when I used my headphones.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  • Showing: 1-10 of 11 results PREVIOUS12NEXT
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  • Richard
    London, United Kingdom
    3/22/09
    Overall
    "Huge Disappointment"

    After really enjoying several of Bryce Courtney's book this one was exceedingly poor. I am not certain if the book itself is any good as the reading of it is flat and monotonous. I can't for one moment understand why the narrator speaks perfect "English" but when anyone speaks it is in a comic style German accent reminiscent of the sitcom Allo Allo.
    Have tried about 6 hours of it but can't go on

    3 of 3 people found this review helpful
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