From the award-winning author of Hide Me Among the Graves, Last Call, Declare, and Three Days to Never, a phantasmagoric, thrilling, mind-bending tale of speculative fiction in which one man must uncover occult secrets of 1920s Hollywood to save his family.
In the wake of their Aunt Amity's suicide, Scott and Madeline Madden are summoned to Caveat, the eerie, decaying mansion in the Hollywood hills in which they were raised. But their decadent and reclusive cousins, the malicious wheelchair-bound Claimayne and his sister, Ariel, do not welcome Scott and Madeline's return to the childhood home they once shared.
While Scott desperately wants to go back to their shabby South-of-Sunset lives, he cannot pry his sister away from this haunted "House of Usher in the Hollywood Hills" that is a conduit for the supernatural. Decorated by bits salvaged from old hotels and movie sets, Caveat hides a dark family secret that stretches back to the golden days of Rudolph Valentino and the silent film stars.
A collection of hypnotic eight-limbed abstract images inked on paper allows the Maddens to briefly fragment and flatten time - to transport themselves into the past and future in visions that are both puzzling and terrifying. Though their cousins know little about these ancient "spiders" which provoke unpredictable temporal dislocations, Ariel and Claimayne have been using for years - an addiction that has brought Claimayne to the brink of selfish destruction.
As Madeline falls more completely under Caveat's spell, Scott discovers that to protect her, he must use the perilous spiders himself. But will he unravel the mystery of the Madden family's past and finally free them...or be pulled deeper into their deadly web?
©2015 Tim Powers (P)2016 Recorded Books
The story is classic Powers, intriguing and well researched. The narration is indifferent and gives no emotion to the story. I'm wondering if the computer narration in Kindle wouldn't be better.
This is another great Tim Powers novel with wonderfully weird characters and an inventive magic system. Unfortunately, out of the several hundred audiobooks I've listened to so far in my life the narration of this one has quite easily been the worst listening experience I've ever had. The problem isn't that he's speaking too slowly, the problem is that the tone and inflection are completely bizarre and wrong for the story and the characters. The narrator's mannerisms and the tone of his voice are extremely distracting and it took me a while at the start of the novel to be able hear the story beyond the extremely annoying narration. I don't understand how this narrator/narration could have possibly been paired with this story. What were the producers of the audio version thinking? How do narration disasters like this happen and why are they then foisted on a hapless public? It's really a shame because it ruins the enjoyment of an otherwise wonderful story. Had I not burned a credit on it I would have just gone to the print version.
Ignore the Bronson Pinochet groupies! Yes his narration is fabulous, but this narrator is just fine. I do think that it's a bit slow but since the previous reviewer's suggestion to listen at 1.25 fixes the problem with no distortion I suspect that the speed is an artifact of production error.
The usual entertaining Powers magic, and this time the fragmentation of time takes us back into silent-era Hollywood. Sorenson's performance is good, but too slowly paced--better if listened to at 1.25 acceleration.
I love everything Tim Powers writes, but the narrator simply ruined this audible version
The old Hollywood themes
Bronson Pinchot or Simon Prebble
I would never presume for this Author
Tim Powers may become one of my go-to authors--the kind I can trust to deliver a good story every time. Characters are well-developed, ideas are interesting, story is well written and well told.
His whining voice, poor vocal range, and poor delivery made the book almost unlistenable. It's a pity because the story is so good.
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