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Minstrel Audiobook

Minstrel: Tir Athair, Volume 1

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Publisher's Summary

Arriving in the royal city of Cynegil just after the good king's death, Liam and his traveling troupe face arrest for entertaining during a time of mourning. The new king, Riordan, offers them a choice: play for the court as he demands or be punished for the crime. With little recourse, they acquiesce. While the troupe entertains within the hall, Liam witnesses the dissension between the king and his twin brother, Shamus. When Shamus enlists Liam to record the kingdom's history from his own viewpoint, the king becomes suspicious. And when Liam becomes involved with Molly, the mysterious redheaded washerwoman, and Tristan, the royal soldier with a deadly secret and a skill for causing unfortunate accidents, his life becomes even more complicated. As the kingdom staggers beneath drought, famine, and conflict, Liam and Shamus must flee Cynegil with prices on their heads. Will they survive their journey or will they become just another ballad to be sung?

©2013 Marissa Ames (P)2014 Marissa Ames

What Members Say

Average Customer Rating

4.1 (46 )
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4.0 (43 )
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Story
4.4 (42 )
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Performance
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  •  
    Angela Goff 05-28-14
    Angela Goff 05-28-14 Member Since 2016
    HELPFUL VOTES
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    "A Well Wrought Tapestry"
    If you could sum up Minstrel in three words, what would they be?

    A gorgeously rendered tale of blackmail, intrigue, divided loyalties, gut instinct and hard-earned love. No shallow, swoony period piece this: Minstrel is a finely crafted story with complex, sympathetic characters who are as endearing as they are beautifully flawed. Their moral dilemmas, prejudices, shortcomings, inherent talents, and temperaments knit the plot into a solid, character-driven story that fascinates and entertains. The narration is also extraordinarily well done - I am a sucker for audiobooks where the narrator does all the voices, believably and clearly, with distinct tones for each; and this one most certainly delivers. All in all a well told tale. Would heartily recommend.


    What was one of the most memorable moments of Minstrel?

    I adore the main character, Liam. Just simply adore him.


    7 of 7 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Michael 05-11-14
    Michael 05-11-14
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    "A Ballad Well Worth Hearing"
    Would you listen to Minstrel again? Why?

    Yes. The story is engaging, and the performance is top notch.


    What did you like best about this story?

    The characters. Ames does a wonderful job of creating complex and sympathetic people.


    What about Matt Thurston’s performance did you like?

    The narration is solid and the character work is excellent.


    Did you have an extreme reaction to this book? Did it make you laugh or cry?

    I laughed quite a bit. I will also admit to getting a bit misty at a couple of points.


    Any additional comments?

    This is a delightful novel, well written and performed. I fully recommend letting yourself get lost in Tir Athair for twelve hours or so.

    6 of 6 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Pip 05-06-14
    Pip 05-06-14
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    "Quite a lovely experience"
    Would you consider the audio edition of Minstrel to be better than the print version?

    They are both excellent. The audio edition had all of the flair that I could have asked for without the strain on my eyes though. Matt Thurston really sells these artfully written characters in a delightful way.


    Which character – as performed by Matt Thurston – was your favorite?

    Definitely Fergal. Matt's female characters always bring a special something to the party. Tristan was my favorite male voice.


    Did you have an extreme reaction to this book? Did it make you laugh or cry?

    This book definitely kept me on my toes. I simply couldn't press pause. It was about as frustrating as watching the cringe-worthy struggles of Ross and Rachel without being able to do anything about it.
    It is this sense of realistic character traits that make this tale an amazing one for me.


    6 of 6 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Brian R. Luedtke California 05-06-14
    Brian R. Luedtke California 05-06-14
    HELPFUL VOTES
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    "Tired of bad fantasy? This will make you love it!"
    Where does Minstrel rank among all the audiobooks you’ve listened to so far?

    I don't tend to like to many audiobooks. The narration is usually bland and flavorless and I find myself painting more vivid pictures of scenes and characters within my own mind. Narrators also trip over sentences that sound better in your head than they do when spoken. This is NOT the case with Minstrel. Extremely well-written and expertly narrated this title quickly reached the top of my audio library. The story is more than sound and the character portrayals are spot-on to what was in my head. Both elements come together beautifully.


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

    This is Matt's best performance to date. I have followed him in other media; videos, narration, and podcasts where his well-intonated and enunciated speech clearly stood out from others. Finally something comes along where you can hear his voices and characters, and he can put personality to dialogue in his unique way.


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

    At first I intended to listen to this in segments, during off times where I might have some free time. However, by the end of the first chapter you are caught in story and narration, and you just don't want to stop. It's long, but that didn't stop me.


    Any additional comments?

    This is only a sample of what is capable from independent authors and voice actors. Marissa Ames and Matt Thurston raise the bar and should inspire all of those who wish to create their own amazing stories.

    8 of 9 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Ladonna D. Cole Tennessee 06-09-14
    Ladonna D. Cole Tennessee 06-09-14 Member Since 2014

    la

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    "Great Audio Experience"
    What did you love best about Minstrel?

    Minstrel was my first audible audio book and the opening music caught my attention. The story opens with street performers trying to capture an audience. Well, mine was captured by their witty rapport and lovable characters. I wasn't sure what to expect since this was my first Ames book, but my attention was captured by the gradual build of suspense and the authenticity of the setting. The suspense built so subtly and artistically that I didn't even realize how invested I was in the characters until I found myself craving time to get back to the book. When it was over (such a satisfying ending, though not what I expected) I craved more. Marissa Ames has a new reader and Thurston has a new fan. Me!


    What other book might you compare Minstrel to and why?

    Ames' rich textures remind me of Anne McCaffrey's Pern series.


    What does Matt Thurston bring to the story that you wouldn’t experience if you just read the book?

    The narrator did such a fine job with his accents, I knew exactly who was speaking without a need for dialogue tags.


    Was there a moment in the book that particularly moved you?

    I was particularly moved by the relationship between the prince and the minstrel, and the fine line that was danced on by each one.


    2 of 2 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Skott V Shaw 06-09-14
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    "Engaging Story in a Realistic Setting"
    What made the experience of listening to Minstrel the most enjoyable?

    The narrator's ability to give personality to the various characters was believable and true to life. The interactions among the people were what I imagine life to be like at that time. The separation of class, the levels of power and abuse of that power, and the political nature of life at court. The story itself was clearly researched well and a believable depiction of life during that time.


    What was one of the most memorable moments of Minstrel?

    Without spoiling anything, the portrayal of the ruling family and the splendid "grey areas" of their interactions and treatments towards each other.


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

    I have listened to Matt Thurston before and he is very good at coaxing real life out of written word.


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

    Yes! I found myself driving the long way to places so I would have more time to listen to it in the car.


    Any additional comments?

    After listening to this book, I am excited about the other books in this series and can't wait to see what Marissa Ames writes in the future.

    2 of 2 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Mary Mac 08-14-14
    Mary Mac 08-14-14
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    "A Riveting Story"

    A narrator makes or breaks a book, and in this case Matt Thurston performs it well. He really brings the characters to life. I thoroughly enjoyed listening!

    Though labeled as "fantasy", Minstrel is significantly more than that. If it weren't for the fact that Ames' Celtic-inspired country exists only in her head, I would claim it as a historical romance. The painstaking research and attention to detail make Tir Athair as believable and realistic as medieval Britain or Ireland and it is such a delicious world to discover! An epic tale worthy of competing with King Arthur and his knights of the Round Table.

    1 of 1 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Karmin D 08-11-14
    Karmin D 08-11-14
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    "LOVED!"
    What made the experience of listening to Minstrel the most enjoyable?

    Narrator was engaging and the story was excellent.


    What does Matt Thurston bring to the story that you wouldn’t experience if you just read the book?

    I read the book before I listened to the audio version, but Thurston brought the characters to life more than my mind could. I loved that he made them feel even more real.


    Any additional comments?

    Extremely cool story and unlike most fantasy I read (where there are wizards and evil deities and so forth). I really enjoyed all the twists and secrecy and "ooooh" moments.

    The characters are fresh and engaging and Thruston does a great job bringing them into the real world. Ames's story-telling is fantastic and I can't wait to get listen to book 2.

    1 of 1 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Michael A. Walker Austin, TX 06-28-14
    Michael A. Walker Austin, TX 06-28-14
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    "History buffs will enjoy the details of this yarn"
    What did you love best about Minstrel?

    Matt Thurston's voice acting fits this finely crafted tale perfectly, and brings to life the characters Ames' so carefully constructed (even the female characters). Matt's mastery of European accents adds to the experience and keeps one from simply listening to a narration of a tale and makes it as if you are actually listening to a conversation between the characters themselves.

    Ames' knowledge of the old world really shines. As one who prides himself as a history buff, I really enjoyed the attention to detail that she displayed in keeping the reader tied into a world anchored in the real world atmosphere of the Renaissance period.


    Any additional comments?

    You won't be disappointed in the either the listening or the reading of this fine story.

    1 of 1 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Dannashooked 06-25-14
    HELPFUL VOTES
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    "Adventure and love without being fluffy!"
    If you could sum up Minstrel in three words, what would they be?

    Adventure, love, depth.


    What does Matt Thurston bring to the story that you wouldn’t experience if you just read the book?

    I did read part of the book but I kept stumbling over the different names, with Matt Thurston's great reading it brought out the beauty of the words and made them live.


    Did you have an extreme reaction to this book? Did it make you laugh or cry?

    No but I was quite riveted during parts of the book...just ask my kids...


    Any additional comments?

    I love a book with some good adventure without being gruesome and gory. This fit the bill, historical accuracy, believable characters and descriptive writing filled it out and made it more than just a fluff read. It started off ok (not too griping) but then once you get attached to the characters and your emotionally involved as the real action starts it becomes very gripping (so the first part took me way longer to read than the latter). I like to read multiple books at a time and at one point I snuck away and grabbed my book and started reading only to be disappointed that it was the other story and not this one that had been spinning around in my head as I made dinner. The only bummer is the wait for the next in the series...

    1 of 1 people found this review helpful
Sort by:
  • Laura Jamez
    6/12/14
    Overall
    Performance
    Story
    "Outstanding tale"
    Would you recommend this audiobook to a friend? If so, why?

    It has everything you could possible want in a tale : Love, mystery, betrayal, heart stopping action sequences. Everyone should own this.


    What did you like best about this story?

    The world created by Marissa Ames contains characters that are multi-dimensional, in a world that is totally believable and it was easy for me to loose all sense of time whilst listening.


    What does Matt Thurston bring to the story that you wouldn’t experience if you had only read the book?

    Matt brought the characters to life, his accents matching the visuals in my head perfectly. His voice had a soothing quality, and the subtle way he built tension allowed me to appreciate the story so much more than if I had only read it.


    Was there a moment in the book that particularly moved you?

    I can't pinpoint any one moment in the book that moved me as there are way too many to say, you'll just have to listen to it and find your own moments.


    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  • Wombat
    UK
    5/31/14
    Overall
    Performance
    Story
    "This Minstrel will make your heart sing"
    If you could sum up Minstrel in three words, what would they be?

    That would be impossible. The story, which I loved already from the ebook, is given such life by Matt Thurston that this listener experienced a myriad of emotions. Three words for such a resonating read? Can't be done.


    What other book might you compare Minstrel to, and why?

    It rather reminded me of Karen Maitland's 'Company of Liars', not because of any plot similarities, but rather due to a beautiful evocation of the worlds and the finely-drawn characters that inhabit it.


    Which character – as performed by Matt Thurston – was your favourite?

    Molly. Truly remarkable work from Mr. Thurston in bringing to life quite a difficult, complex character.


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

    No (although I did read the eBook in one massive go). Taken in one chunk, the exquisite nuance of Mr. Thurston's delivery would be dulled. It is far better to take a leisurely pace, and savour a voice that, according to my mother, caresses the ears.


    Any additional comments?

    Roll on Vassal, the next in the series!

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful

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