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Phoenix Rising Audiobook
Phoenix Rising
Written by: 
Pip Ballantine, Tee Morris
Narrated by: 
James Langton
Phoenix Rising Audiobook

Phoenix Rising: A Ministry of Peculiar Occurrences Novel

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Publisher's Summary

Evil is most assuredly afoot - and Britain’s fate rests in the hands of an alluring renegade... and a librarian.

These are dark days indeed in Victoria’s England. Londoners are vanishing, then reappearing, washing up as corpses on the banks of the Thames, drained of blood and bone. Yet the Ministry of Peculiar Occurrences - the Crown’s clandestine organization whose bailiwick is the strange and unsettling - will not allow its agents to investigate. Fearless and exceedingly lovely Eliza D. Braun, however, with her bulletproof corset and a disturbing fondness for dynamite, refuses to let the matter rest... and she’s prepared to drag her timorous new partner, Wellington Books, along with her into the perilous fray.

For a malevolent brotherhood is operating in the deepening London shadows, intent upon the enslavement of all Britons. And Books and Braun - he with his encyclopedic brain and she with her remarkable devices - must get to the twisted roots of a most nefarious plot... or see England fall to the Phoenix!

©2011 Pip Ballantine & Tee Morris (P)2011 HarperCollins Publishers

What Members Say

Average Customer Rating

4.0 (1025 )
5 star
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Overall
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Story
4.3 (919 )
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3 star
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2 star
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1 star
 (18)
Performance
Sort by:
  •  
    Tessa Sullivan Seattle WA United States 12-04-12
    Tessa Sullivan Seattle WA United States 12-04-12 Member Since 2006
    HELPFUL VOTES
    1
    ratings
    REVIEWS
    24
    2
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    Overall
    Performance
    Story
    "Story & Narrator Synergy"
    Would you listen to Phoenix Rising again? Why?

    Yes! The story alone is wonderful, lots of fun, with good scene setting and amusing quips. If I had read a textual copy of this story, I would have enjoyed it. But listening to Langton tell the story makes the experience sublime. His voice is perfect for the combination of amusing melodrama and various flavors of Victorian characters. From the oh-so-proper British upper class Books to the rough-around-the-edges New Zealander Braun to the London street urchins, Langton really brings out the colorful characters of Phoenix Rising.


    What did you like best about this story?

    The narrator's voices & pacing.


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

    My first one, but not my last. I've also listened to the sequel, The Janus Affair, and enjoyed it just as much.


    Any additional comments?

    Because this is the first book in the series, there are a few places where the exposition drags a bit, but it is sort of necessary to set the stage, given this universe is quite different from real life and also from "normal" sci-fi.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Dennis FORT PIERCE, FL, United States 11-15-12
    Dennis FORT PIERCE, FL, United States 11-15-12 Member Since 2014

    Currently a local truck driver who has hours to listen to my audio books. I am hooked, some of my fellow drivers enjoy them also

    HELPFUL VOTES
    180
    ratings
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    226
    207
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    Performance
    Story
    "A look into British society with a twist of action"
    Would you listen to Phoenix Rising again? Why?

    A good story line alittle slow at first but well written no once was enough but I do look forward to one more to see where everyone ends up


    Who was your favorite character and why?

    I like both the main characters equally


    What about James Langton’s performance did you like?

    He was a pro and did a great job he nailed the moods of each character


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

    The end at the grave yard for the fallen agent


    Any additional comments?

    A serious look into Queen Vics times, we don't realize just how far we have come toward
    equality of all peoples

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Richard Woodworth 11-11-12

    Taking the road less traveled

    HELPFUL VOTES
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    Story
    "Excellent earPod goodness"
    If you could sum up Phoenix Rising in three words, what would they be?

    real page turner


    What did you like best about this story?

    attention to world building detail


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

    this is the first but really enjoyed the performance


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

    blockbuster


    Any additional comments?

    has all the goodness of action/adventure and the cherry on top....steampunk 8-)

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Jamie Seattle, WA, United States 10-17-12
    Jamie Seattle, WA, United States 10-17-12 Member Since 2012

    I'm an avid reader but when driving or exercising, listening to a great book and a great performance makes time fly!

    HELPFUL VOTES
    36
    ratings
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    Overall
    Performance
    Story
    "Clever and Fun"
    If you could sum up Phoenix Rising in three words, what would they be?

    Fun steam punk.


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

    Mr. Langton's performance of Wellington Books is spot on; he perfectly embodies Books.


    Any additional comments?

    Light and fun, this is a good brain-candy kind of book.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Augustus T. White 10-09-12

    ATW

    HELPFUL VOTES
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    Overall
    Performance
    Story
    "Clanking good staempunk"

    My first steampunk, but it more than met my expectations for the genre. Lightweight, of course, but consistently fun. Narration by James Langton was a wonder, as it skipped about the British Empire from Welsh to Australian to public school English. One critical reviewer is probably right in that Langton's Kiwi accent seems off, but the amazing melodramatic default-narrator voice more than makes up for it. In fact, its the narration that makes this book -- that and the snide references to 19th century British pop culture. I suspect I only "got" about half of those, but they do add to the fun. The plot? Uh ... why, yes, I suppose it does have a plot. But it doesn't really get in the way of the other stuff, and it does move along in a sprightly sort of way, with appropriate quantities of flash bang -- like the deadly battle of assassins fought out on stage, with prop weapons, during a performance of the finale of Verdi's Macbeth. Definitely worth the price of admission.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  •  
    D. sherman, TX, United States 10-08-12
    D. sherman, TX, United States 10-08-12
    HELPFUL VOTES
    1
    ratings
    REVIEWS
    1
    1
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    FOLLOWING
    0
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    Overall
    Performance
    Story
    "Too silly"
    What did you like about this audiobook?

    No, for me there was nothing I could find to enjoy. Might work for a younger reader.


    How has the book increased your interest in the subject matter?

    No


    Does the author present information in a way that is interesting and insightful, and if so, how does he achieve this?

    Maybe


    What did you find wrong about the narrator's performance?

    Not for me


    Do you have any additional comments?

    No

    1 of 2 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Hope Broken Arrow, OK, United States 10-01-12
    Hope Broken Arrow, OK, United States 10-01-12 Member Since 2010

    Hope

    HELPFUL VOTES
    28
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    Overall
    Performance
    Story
    "Great adventure, fantastic narration and steampunk"
    What did you love best about Phoenix Rising?

    This was the first steampunk genre I have listened to or read, it has made me a fan leading me to download the second in this series before I had even finished the first. The characters are entertaining and well developed and the narration was perfect for the personalities of agents Books and Braun. My favorite part was the steampunk inventions, it was a great intro for a first timer into the steampunk genre,


    Who was your favorite character and why?

    Agents Books and Braun are together my favorite characters, their chemistry and odd couple bickering make the pair fun to listen to and drew me into the story even more.


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

    Langton made the personality of the characters shine and helped make agent books that much more charming.


    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  •  
    sherry Kirkland, WA, United States 09-28-12
    sherry Kirkland, WA, United States 09-28-12 Member Since 2013
    HELPFUL VOTES
    63
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    Overall
    Performance
    Story
    "Fun!"

    When I first started listening, I thought I wouldn't get through. The book begins with a high-action sequence that the narrator reads as slowly as a bunny book for two-year-olds. Fortunately, narrator, characters, and action improve. All triteness of plot becomes forgivable in the enjoyment of the slowly building partnership between the two main characters. Their quips, characters and interactions begin working together like an efficient steampunk machine--or better, since this machine doesn't fall apart.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Matthew 09-28-12
    Matthew 09-28-12 Member Since 2016
    HELPFUL VOTES
    12
    ratings
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    65
    18
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    Overall
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    Story
    "Worth a read"

    This was my first 'read' of a steampunk book, although I've been aware of the genre for a while. Phoenix rising grabbed me early and never got boring. The writing is excellent, and the mix of steam-driven computers, Babbage-inspired mechanical gizmos and Victorian era mystery is convincing. James Langton does a good job voice acting the characters, and nearly got me to listen to the whole thing non-stop, to the dismay of my wife. I'd recommend this novel to mystery and fantasy alike.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  •  
    neuro2166 09-17-12
    neuro2166 09-17-12 Member Since 2010
    ratings
    REVIEWS
    88
    5
    Overall
    Performance
    Story
    "Pretty good fun"
    What did you like best about this story?

    This story was original.


    Any additional comments?

    This was an overall nice read. But I am still not sure why we needed the orgy episode?

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
Sort by:
  • Sheryl Mason
    Auckland, - New Zealand
    10/10/14
    Overall
    Performance
    Story
    "Brilliant action steampunk adventure"
    What made the experience of listening to Phoenix Rising the most enjoyable?

    All audiobooks bring characters to life more than the written word. Apart from the seriously bad New Zealand accent of the female lead, this was well read and easy on the ear. Will someone please tell narrators that New Zealanders sound more English than the Australian accent that they are usually given?


    What was one of the most memorable moments of Phoenix Rising?

    The beginning. The first chapter. It starts off with a bang (literally) and sets the pace for nearly the whole book.


    What about James Langton’s performance did you like?

    See above about listening and the accents.


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

    None that could be named without spoiling. Several parts spooked me a bit.


    Any additional comments?

    This was a thoroughly enjoyable listen. I already have the second one and have requested more to be added to the Audible site.

    3 of 3 people found this review helpful
  • Amazon Customer
    Planet Earth
    1/20/14
    Overall
    Performance
    Story
    "Very unexpected"
    If you could sum up Phoenix Rising in three words, what would they be?

    Really enjoyable romp


    What did you like best about this story?

    When I began listening to this I seriously wandered if I had wasted my money but by chapter three I was well & truly hooked


    Have you listened to any of James Langton’s other performances? How does this one compare?

    This is my first James Langton listen but I thought his performance was excellent.


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

    No I listened to this at work over a period of three or four days.


    Any additional comments?

    I bought this on a whim and I have to say I really enjoyed it, the story was strong, Eliza & Wellington were very believable characters, a well constructed tale well told, I will be listening to more of this series.

    3 of 3 people found this review helpful
  • Jayne
    cassop, United Kingdom
    9/6/12
    Overall
    "Rip Roaring Adventure"

    What an unusual, funny and quriky book, this book is not what I would normally choose but I found it engrossing, Eliza and Welly are 2 great characters, I loved all the inventions, it's like a victorian James Bond story, full of humour and a little bit saucy as well.
    I shall definitely be purchasing the second story for more fast paced thrills and spills.

    4 of 5 people found this review helpful
  • Matthew Hayes
    London, UK
    3/2/16
    Overall
    Performance
    Story
    "Great story; shame about the writing"

    Steampunk meets the X Files

    Phoenix Rising is well narrated, has an engaging central duo and a well-paced story with dramatic set-pieces. Good news and probably enough to persuade me to download the next book in the series.

    All of the above is nearly ruined by some rather clunky writing (over-use of the phrase "quite the", frequent Americanisms mis-use of some words e.g. "mnemonic" for "memento"). The characters range from the anachronistically modern (Eliza Braun) to crude caricatures (most of the baddies) and the occasional forays into (soft core) pornography more embarrassing than erotic.

    Still, the book's good points slightly outweigh its bad points and, if you are a fan of steampunk, you'll probably enjoy this.

    1 of 1 people found this review helpful
  • Teddy
    London
    7/22/16
    Overall
    Performance
    Story
    "A bit slow moving"
    Would you recommend this book to a friend? Why or why not?

    Not really, Eliza D. Braun is not at all a likeable character, which tends to put me off a book - Not the existence of an unlikeable character (nasty, self-centred, and manipulative) but for them to be one of the main protagonists is not an encouragement to continuing with the book.


    Would you be willing to try another book from Pip Ballantine and Tee Morris ? Why or why not?

    Probably not, given the likely hood of such an unlikeable protagonist cropping up again is not an encouragement to continue with the series.


    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  • Amazon Customer
    uk
    7/9/16
    Overall
    Performance
    Story
    "A corker of a read!"

    It took me a little to get into this but once there I was hooked. This is a book about an unlikely duo, a young experienced agent who is a bit gung-ho and is investigating an old, cold case and the librarian.. sorry no.. the Archivist she's teamed up with as a punishment. Their complementary skills and contrasting styles and a tale filled with pace and excitement lead to a cracking good read.

    Now where's book two and three?

    ---------

    As a final comment I'd like to include that it's definitely an adult book because of one particular scene, you might not want to share it with younger readers till you've got past that point.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  • mark
    enniskeane, Ireland
    6/1/15
    Overall
    Performance
    Story
    "Enjoyable steampunk story."

    It was an engaging story with an excellent narrator. I enjoyed the pace and the character builds.
    Will be buying the next in series. Well worth a listen.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  • jk broster
    Nottingham, England
    5/1/15
    Overall
    Performance
    Story
    "OK"
    What could have made this a 4 or 5-star listening experience for you?

    There is far too much in this book that is utterly anachronistic - turns of phrase and general behaviour and attitudes of the central protagonists being the main problems.


    Would you be willing to try another one of James Langton’s performances?

    It piqued my curiosity enough to try the next in the series.


    You didn’t love this book--but did it have any redeeming qualities?

    The central premise is interesting - it is basically a Victorian X-Files (but without the supernatural)


    Any additional comments?

    Not terrible, but there is some far better steam-punk about - Alan K Baker, Mark Hodder and Chris Wooding all spring to mind.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  • Sacha
    4/3/15
    Overall
    Performance
    Story
    "Fun"

    Very very enjoyable and pretty funny too!
    Slows a little halfway through but quickly picks up again towards the end!

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  • M
    4/20/15
    Overall
    Performance
    Story
    "Steampunk potboiler with an American accent"

    I found it quite hard to stay with this until about a third of the way in. I think it was worth the effort however, as the cinematic style made it easy to see the special effects you'd get in a film of the book. In tone, it reminded me of Bryan Talbot's "Grandeville" series, although sadly lacking the explanatory depth that makes his universe such a fun place to spend time in. One grating note throughout was the attempt to capture British English, making frequent use of key phrases (for example "he was quite the...") that we don't actually use over here, and never have. Some of the grammatical constructions were wrong too, and an editor with a better ear for the language would have been helpful. Finally, and I do understand what a quibble this is, "Big Ben" is not the tower. It is merely the bell inside the tower, so the object described as about the third of Big Ben's height would only have been a few feet tall. It is not a mistake an actual Londoner would have made.

    0 of 1 people found this review helpful

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