1859; war looms over the United States. Intelligence agents converge on the Kingdom of Deseret in the Rocky Mountains. Sam Clemens, leading the U.S. Army's expedition aboard his amphibious steam-truck, the Jim Smiley, has a mission: to ensure that the Kingdom, with its air-ships and rumored phlogiston guns, brain children of the Madman Orson Pratt, enters on the side of the United States and peace. He races against Captain Richard Burton for Her Britannic Majesty Queen Victoria, and Edgar Allan Poe, secret agent of the clandestine southern leadership, who travels in disguise as an exhibitor of Egyptian antiquities.
Against them all are arrayed the counterintelligence agents of the Kingdom, Roxie Snow, and the Deseret Marshal Orrin Porter Rockwell. But why are Deseret's Danite militiamen hunting Rockwell? And why does the Madman seem to be playing his own game?
©2012 D.J. Butler (P)2014 D.J. Butler
There were so many things wrong with the narration that it is hard to know where to begin. First, the narrator has no sense of correct cadence and intonation in spoken English. There were far too many pauses that disrupted sentence flow. The intonation was so "sing-song" that nearly every sentence sounded like either a question or a faintly-surprised exclamation. The sing-song intonation was present for nearly every character, despite their accent or dialect. And the accents were just wrong. I never heard an Irishman who spoke in the caricatured parody of an Irish accent attempted by the narrator. All of the accents were either grossly or subtly off. The accent used for Samuel Clemens was particularly annoying; it made him sound idiotic. Another awful decision was to deliver both the dialog and the third-person narrative in the accent of the supposed point-of-view character. The bad accents were nasty enough during the dialog. Hearing the third-person narrative delivered with that bad accent was at best confusing. I struggled to keep the thread of the story because every time I went back to the audiobook, I kept thinking about the many, many flaws in the narrator's delivery. I really don't know if the story was intriguing, exciting, or boring and stilted. The terrible narration completely buried the story for me.
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