This audiobook edition of Sherwood Smith’s famous fantasy combines Crown Duel with its sequel, Court Duel, as the author originally intended. The result is an engrossing adventure of epic proportion, its two parts respectively following young Countess Meliara from blood-soaked battlefields to the peacetime political wranglings that define life in Remalna’s royal palace. Performer Emma Galvin personifies Meliara as she endures the death of her father, political revolt, and captivity, lending the countess a voice that is fittingly dour and hardened, while nevertheless sonorously regal. Galvin captures the old-world enchantment and alluring atmospherics that color Smith’s fantasy world of Sartorias-deles, while likewise betraying the heart-palpitating emotion and intrigue that propels Meliara’s plight.
Young Countess Meliara swears to her dying father that she and her brother will defend their people from the growing greed of the king.
That promise leads them into a war for which they are ill-prepared, which threatens the very people they are trying to protect. But war is simple compared to what follows, in peacetime. Meliara is summoned to live at the royal palace, where friends and enemies look alike, and intrigue fills the dance halls and the drawing rooms.
If she is to survive, Meliara must learn a whole new way of fighting - with wits and words and secret alliances. In war, at least, she knew in whom she could trust. Now she can trust no one.
©1997 Sherwood Smith (P)2013 Audible, Inc.
I read this story as a teenager and loved it so much! I was delighted to find an audio version, and I was not disappointed when i listened to it. Yes, the narration is stilted in some places, but overall, it's a glorious opportunity to re-engage with this splendid tale! I also loved the 3+ hours of extra stories from Vidanric's point of view!
Author, Narrator, Reader, Listener
I loved the story! Though I generally like Emma Galvin's narration, she was not at her best with this one. Too many awkward pauses in the middle of phrases, stilted reading of the old fashioned language. The story was good enough to make up for it, but I'd have loved to hear this done by a narrator (or producer) with more passion for putting out the best product. It seemed like the recording was done in too much of a hurry for it to be smooth.
I read this every couple years. I first read it when it came out, when I was in middle school. Now I read it as a comfort read. I love Sherwood Smith's world building.
Stilted, unvarying, acceptable. Her voice is fine, but she needs to relax more. There were a lot of awkward pauses and weird phrasing. For the price, I could live with it.
Love the story, love the characters, can't stand the narrator. I could get past the American accent, the strange pronunciation of place and personal nouns, what I can't get past is her inability to scan a sentence properly. She pauses in all the wrong places, runs together where she should pause, and generally ruins the flow of the story. If I didn't already love the story I'd probably give it up in disgust.
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