First comes Harald Bloodhair, a savage warrior leading a Viking horde, who is encouraged to cruelty by his woman, Skade. But Alfred still has the services of Uhtred, his unwilling warlord, who leads Harald into a trap and, at Farnham in Surrey, inflicts one of the greatest defeats the Vikings were ever to suffer.
This novel, the fifth in the magnificent series of England's history tells of the final assaults on Alfred's Wessex, that Wessex survived to become England is because men like Uhtred defeated an enemy feared throughout Christendom.
©2009 HarperCollins Publishers; (P)2009 HarperCollins Publishers
Changing the narrator for this series was a mistake. Stephen Perring changes the pronunciation of characters and locations throughout the book.
The story is on par with the earlier books in the series - compelling, gripping, in a word, excellent. The narration, however, is much worse than that of Jonathan Keeble's in the first four books. It's not just the much poorer ability to "act" the characters, it's also the amazing difference in pronouncing names.
I don't know who evaluates who should narrate what, but the difference is appalling. Stephen Perring detracts from the story, while Keeble made it much more compelling, added value to it. What a shame.
Stephen Perring is not a bad narrator. In a contemporary novel, or something about a high-born English nobility type, his voice would probably seem very fitting. Compared to Jonathan Keeble's performance, where each character's personality was defined by their own unique voice as much through the narrator as by the author, Perring's performance just seemed pale and lifeless. Still an interesting continuation of the series. Don't be put off reading it.
I was turned off by the comments about the narrator and so left the series aside for about three months until I said the hell with it, I want to know what happens next and bit the bullet. And this narrator is fine. He's got a an appropriate English accent and with his telling the story just flowed (with lots and lots of blood). Don't be dissuaded. The narration and the story are fine.
There are 4 excellently narrated books in this series - plenty of opportunity for Stephen Perring to understand the character and place names established by the original narrator Johnathan Keeble. It is extremely disruptive to change narrators in the middle of a series. If it is unavoidable - not clear in this instance - then the LEAST the narrator and publisher should do is make the transition as smooth as possible. Stephen Perring made NO effort to ensure consistency of the pronunciation of character and place names. This is extremely irritating and very disappointing. It doesn't take much to do a little homework. Please take more care. This is a great series. I was planning to listen to all of it. Now I am not so sure. I see that there is another transition ahead to yet another narrator. Can I bear to listen to 12 more hours of Stephen Perring? We'll see.
I love this series, and this book is more of the same. I though the narrator was not quite as good as the narrator from the first books, Tom Sellwood, but never the less very good. I also thought this was going to be the final in the series, but there is still lots to come, so I will have to wait for the next one(s).
This is the second book I have enjoyed by Bernard Cornwell. The first I read , the Burning Land I listen to on my iPod. It was a great listen. Excellent narration by Stephen Perring. Very dramatic, fast, and characters easy identifiable. The brutality of that time well and truly realised. Superbly written.
"Where is Jonathan Keeble?"
I have listen to this series of books from the start, one after the other and love the story so far. But I was shocked to find out they had changed the narrator. Which is like changing the main characters in a film half way through. Totally disappointed as love the way Jonathan Keeble portrayed the characters. I'm so disappointed I cant listen to it any more.
Got Jonathan Keeble to narrate it.
Dont change the narrator half way through a series.
I could not help but be disappointed with this audio book. The performance while OK, was no where near the quality of the first three unabridged books in this series. Also for some reason the place names have been replaced with the modern versions, so Lundene is read as London, to me this has detracted from the ambiance of the recording.
The story is every bit as good as the previous books, but the performance has let it down.
"Change of narrator"
After 4 books with the same narrator, you get used to the accents and pronunciation of names and you are familiar with the characters. Suddenly on Book 5 there's a new Uhtred, with new companions with different accents! Very disconcerting.
"Lack of consistency"
Few would believe it to be acceptable for a tv series to change the voices of all of the central characters, so why do it here. This is a great book and a good continuation to the warrior chronicles story. However, it is let down by a lack of consistency both with accents and pronunciation. Jonathan Keeble did a superb job of bringing the characters to life in the first 4 books and I would have loved to have seen him narrate the entire series. I am sure there are all kinds of reasons why Stephen Perring was asked to narrate this book which, if the change in performer was unavoidable, then it is what it is. I would have expected Stephen Perring to listen to at least one of the previous books and attempt to remain consistent in terms of pronunciation and accent delegation. Uhtred had a great northern accent which really suited the character, be prepared, he is now a well spoken southern Englishman! Also you will not find a Danish accent in this book, Ragnor the younger is now a Northerner! Unfortunately the lack of consistency in performance has really taken some of the depth from the book. Also expect unexplained place name changes, Bebbenburg is no more! I can't understand why this has happened and why it has gone unexplained. If Cornwell has written this into the story then I am surprised he chose not to explain the change in place names. All of that said, please please persevere because you do get used to the change eventually and the Warrior Chronicles remains a great series.
"Why change narrator? and why change place names???"
This needs to be done again with the original narrator... It is supposed to be an old man, telling the story of his life and such a young voice just does not cut it. In addition, he cannot read the place names correctly and it just changes the whole tone of the book. Really ruined what is another great story.So many of the hardened fighting characters just sound like teenagers, and there is barely any distinction between some characters.
As I mentioned earlier... his voice is too young and too gentle. There is little effort to depict the hardened men that the book is based around, it sounds like a teenage cast rather than a bunch of savage fighting men, overzealous religious figures and as for the king... And a real irritant is the change in the place names. You can also lose track of who is who as there is not much differenciation between many characters, no real attempt to use accents.
"Change in narrator was disappointing"
Great continuation of the story but the change in narrators was jarring - very different accents and pronunciations... Shifting from Saxon to modern day town names etc. With Jonathan Keeble it felt like I was listening to someone narrate their life... With Stephen Perring it felt like I was hearing someone read a book to me. Shame.
"Narrator makes this difficult"
Not usally one for caring about the narrator but I found it more difficult to track which character was speaking with this narrator, as he seemed to read most character's with very similar voices. He also uses english accents for Danish characters, which I found distracting.
While I've nothing against the narrator of this story particularly.
The changes in accents and pronunciations from the previous four seriously ruined my enjoyment.
Much prefer the guy who narrated the previous books in the series. This fella is too soft spoken for me many times I nearly turn it off coz it just doesn't fit . Need a gritty voice for this I think, but that being said still love the books and keep em coming!
Great book from a great series but where is Jonathan Keeble?
Why half way through a series of books change narrator?
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