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Pavane | [Keith Roberts]

Pavane

Considered Keith Roberts' masterwork, this novel consists of linked short stories (six measures and a coda) of a 20th century in which the Roman Catholic Church controls the Western world, and has done so since Queen Elizabeth of England was assassinated in 1588. The Protestant Reformation never happened, and the world is kept in a Dark Age of steam-power transportation, with no allowance for electrical power, by a tyrannical Rome.
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Publisher's Summary

Award-winning author, narrator, and screenwriter Neil Gaiman personally selected this book, and, using the tools of the Audiobook Creation Exchange (ACX), cast the narrator and produced this work for his audiobook label, Neil Gaiman Presents.

A few words from Neil on Pavane: "When Old Earth Books told me they are reissuing Pavane, which was originally published in 1968, I told them: 'I read one story from Pavane when I was nine, and it scarred me…. I read the whole book as a teenager and learned where that story had come from, and the shape of the whole story and I felt the scars heal….' Pavane was Keith Roberts' masterpiece: profound and still remarkable."

Considered Keith Roberts' masterwork, this novel consists of linked short stories (six measures and a coda) of a 20th century in which the Roman Catholic Church controls the Western world, and has done so since Queen Elizabeth of England was assassinated in 1588. The Protestant Reformation never happened, and the world is kept in a Dark Age of steam-power transportation, with no allowance for electrical power, by a tyrannical Rome. Pavane shows the harshness of life in this society and details the generational struggle for independence by the citizens of Dorset, England. It's through this series of moving tales that Roberts interweaves a discussion of Destiny and History that take the book out of the ordinary. And the author's great love of his native country makes this the most English of novels, and one of the finest in fantastic literature.

To hear more from Neil Gaiman on Pavane, click here, or listen to the introduction at the beginning of the book itself.

Learn more about Neil Gaiman Presents and Audiobook Creation Exchange (ACX).

©1968 Keith Roberts (P)2011 Wildside Press LLC

What Members Say

Average Customer Rating

3.7 (338 )
5 star
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4.1 (301 )
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Performance
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  •  
    Cheryl Douglasville, GA, United States 08-15-14
    Cheryl Douglasville, GA, United States 08-15-14 Member Since 2014
    HELPFUL VOTES
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    "Boring Alternate History"

    I agree with many that Keith Roberts’ writing was excellent and that he has a very good literary style. Unfortunately, the story or plot itself is very, very boring and I don’t feel it was worth a credit or worth reading.

    There are several stories in the novel that Roberts’ attempts to interrelate. The first story was interesting and the second wasn’t bad. After that, I kept reading hoping that the plot would then develop with the next story and that it would get even better. No such luck. It was downhill all the way after story two. I would not recommend the novel, Pavane.

    The narrator, Steven Crossley, was excellent.

    3 of 3 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Amazon Customer 11-07-11 Member Since 2013
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    "LeCarre not Baldacci"

    This is a story that unfolds slowly, with no dramatic event(s) at the end of every chapter as is so common in modern pulp fiction. I enjoyed it very much; but then, I enjoy John LeCarre novels - work that some find ploding. It is not Baldacci. (Whose writings I enjoy but would not need or want to reread). The meaning of the word 'pavane' well sums the development of the story.

    Pavane is much better characterized as alternative history than science fiction. There are no gizmos that don't exist in today's world. But ... there is a bit of fantasy.

    PS I use the term "pulp fiction" in the best sense. Hawthorne and Dafoe were pulp fiction writers of their time.

    8 of 10 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Stephen 12-16-11
    Stephen 12-16-11
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    "Seminal alternative history"
    If you could sum up Pavane in three words, what would they be?

    Listen to this.


    What did you like best about this story?

    In Pavane, Keith Roberts painted in beautiful, bittersweet detail complicated characters in a complex world that could, but mercifully does not, exist.


    Which character – as performed by Steven Crossley – was your favorite?

    Eleanor. Kudos to Steven Crossley.


    If you were to make a film of this book, what would be the tag line be?

    Come now to a place that never was.


    Any additional comments?

    Until such time as human struggles are not defined by religious beliefs, this will remain an important, groundbreaking work of fiction.

    7 of 9 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Doug D. Eigsti Colorado Springs, Colorado United States 03-14-14
    Doug D. Eigsti Colorado Springs, Colorado United States 03-14-14 Member Since 2013

    Increasing my ops tempo by allowing storytellers to whisper in my ear(buds).

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    "Religious Themed Science Fiction"

    This is a series of connected stories set in an alternate universe where the Protestant Reformation never happened. It is a biting critique of the Roman Catholic Church (RCC), but has the ring of truth. The excesses and abuse of power , let alone ecclesiastical authority, are well known and this is an extrapolation of actual history. The surprise here is that the characters come alive in your ear. Their actions, motivated by unrequited love or honor, are authentic. This would benefit from multiple listenings. .This novel will help make the case that Science Fiction can deal with grand themes as well as any book I can think of.

    Steven Crossley give a fine performance. His portrayal of the many female characters is well played and his tone for the males is always clear; every character getting his own voice, instantly recognizable. His skill is very much evident here.

    1 of 1 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Cici 11-29-12
    Cici 11-29-12
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    "haunting. It will stick with me."
    What did you love best about Pavane?

    The mysterious nature of the interwoven stories. The characters.


    What did you like best about this story?

    That it didn't solve everything. I so enjoyed it, I bought it for my father on his Kindle. We can discuss it together.


    Which scene was your favorite?

    The semaphore communication system is intriguing. We communicate around the world from our smart phone on twitter.... the semaphores reminded me of what life used to be like. slower, methodical, somewhat limited, somewhat less frenetic.


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

    yes. I ended up saving it at times... telling myself, "you can listen to the book again, after you've done this dreaded thing that you're avoiding." Then I'd hurriedly do the dreaded thing so I could return to the story.
    Yet, I wanted to rest between chapters/stories as well. To let their philosophy sink in. To mourn some of the characters, or what I'd learned about the time perios.


    Any additional comments?

    So very glad that it's been reissued. I would not have discovered it unless I saw Neil Gaiman Presents' list of his favorite books to re-issue.

    1 of 1 people found this review helpful
  •  
    ozgribbo Australia 03-02-15
    ozgribbo Australia 03-02-15 Member Since 2012
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    "Truly a classic"

    I read this very shortly after it came out and rediscovered the paperback a few years ago. Was delighted to see it in an audio version and wasn't disappointed. I'm generally not a fan of "alternative" universes, but this one works. Loved it

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Andrew FAIR OAKS, CA, United States 01-15-15
    Andrew FAIR OAKS, CA, United States 01-15-15 Member Since 2009

    I'm a web developer based out of Sacramento, I listen to books while I work, and love audible.

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    "Decent Classic Sci-Fi Alt History"
    Any additional comments?

    A very interesting classes Sci-Fi/Fantasy short story collection all set in an alternate history. I'm not going to go into the plot as others have already done this.

    The stories are all loosely connected in one way or another. And I found some to be a lot better than the others, I personally thought the last story was the best of the lot. They are all well written, it's just that one tends to enjoy some stories over others.

    A recommended read for all fans of Sci-Fi.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Spike72 San Antonio, TX USA 01-01-15
    Spike72 San Antonio, TX USA 01-01-15 Member Since 2010
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    "Enjoyable episodic alternate history"
    Would you listen to Pavane again? Why?

    Not likely. There are just too many books to read.


    What did you like best about this story?

    I felt Roberts created a reasonable, though not necessarily likely alternate future where the Roman Catholic Church was not challenged by the Tudors or Germany. Technology and society grew in different directions which played out through the book.


    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Paul M. Floyd 12-15-14 Member Since 2013
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    "some chapters better than others..."
    If you could sum up Pavane in three words, what would they be?

    A series of stories down through the years assuming there was no Reformation in England.


    What did you like best about this story?

    The first 3 chapters were excellent.... I quickly got into the stories. But the last couple of chapters with the older woman who was rebelling was less convincing.


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

    His voice was good and his performance was exceptional.


    If you were to make a film of this book, what would the tag line be?

    England with the Reformation....


    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Jennifer San Francisco, CA, United States 03-13-14
    Jennifer San Francisco, CA, United States 03-13-14 Member Since 2005
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    "thoughtful bursts of story"

    This is one I have listened to one story at a time. Each takes me into the the alternative world through a different lens, complete in its own framing and development. A thoughtful book which is a counterpoint to action-oriented fantasy/science fiction.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful

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