Even villains need a hero.
Gerard lost his birthright in his small island kingdom when he married the court minstrel. He fled to the only place that offered protection from his father and his vengeful local deity - the service of the High Priestess.
Unfortunately, his superior officer, Silveo, takes an instant disliking to Gerard. Silveo has a reputation for cruelty, cunning, and a biting wit. He's a minority species, and rumors claim that he was once an assassin, who clawed his way to power from a childhood of poverty and abuse.
In spite of their differences, the Priestess insists that Gerard and Silveo cooperate to destroy the charismatic pirate, Gwain, and his mysterious organization, the Guild of the Cowry Catchers. Gwain has been killing off the Temple Police for years, and he seems likely to make a swift end of Gerard...if Silveo doesn't do it first.
This download includes the entire 5-book series. Warning: This story includes sexual scenes and situations.
©2011 Abigail Hilton (P)2010 Abigail Hilton
The Guild of the Cowry Catchers was the first audio book I ever listened to when it was in podcast form, and Abigail Hilton spoiled me rotten with the amazing production values this book had. Full cast audio, haunting (and sometimes hilarious) music, and full sound effects make this the finest production I've ever heard.
The remaster on some of the lines in the early books corrects any flaws in the initial podcast recording. Understand that this started out as an 'indy' podcast, and Abigail Hilton put out a product for free that I feel was far superior to the vast majority of 'professional' recordings. The Audible.com production is fully remastered, and is well worth the cost of admission based solely on that. Let me reiterate that this is the best production I've ever heard, and you will ask yourself going forward why every audio book isn't fully voiced with music and sound effects.
This book in 'paper' form (started as an exclusive e-book) made me purchase everything Hilton ever writes, this audio book production got me into audio books.
There are a whole bunch of scenes in this series which continue to strike me whenever I hear them, but the character of Silvio Lamire makes the statement in the 2nd book how he intends to "Walk in over sand, and walk out over bodies," concerning an island believed to harbor in individual the main characters are hunting. I won't spoil anything, but the realization of what that statement means is utterly chilling.
Go ahead and use any extra credits or cash to buy 'The Prophet of Panamindorah' and 'Secret Things' from Audible. 'Prophet' is set in the same universe as 'Cowry Catchers' just a different location, time period, and tone of the story. It's also got the music and sound effects, but is narrated solely by Abigail Hilton. 'Secret Things' is a collection of shorts which are prequels of the 'Cowry Catchers" main characters; half are full cast while the other half are narrated by Abigail Hilton.
In the 4th book Gerard is taken to a gambling den with his allies to deal with a local crime boss. After breathing in some 'questionable' drug-laden censer smoke he's taken outside for some fresh air. There he confides in an ally the feelings he has towards the man he has come to love (yes, you heard that right). In a moment of unintentional inebriation the normally stoic exterior of Gerard Holovar is ripped open for the reader to catch a glimpse of the depths of emotion he tends to keep bottled up through most of the story. This character is dragged through the emotional wringer over the course of this book in ways that most authors are utterly incapable of portraying. This scene in particular would be moving enough with just the vocal performance, but the musical selection accompanying it made the scene downright haunting as we watch a particularly strong character succumb to a moment of emotional weakness.
I must give a warning for everybody, there is a homosexual subplot in this novel in which two central male characters fall in love with each other. You WILL get hooked by this book before the subplot becomes apparent, and you will not be capable of putting it down once it does. Please don't be alarmed by this; the plotline, world building, and character progression are top notch, and you will understand what draws these two particular characters together as you experience this series of novels.
Warning #2, some people would consider the 5th book as sexually explicit in some parts. I personally don't think it's too bad, but tastes vary. Much like George RR Martin's 'A Song of Ice and Fire' series, this book series is not meant for children. Even without the sexually explicit content in the 5th book, the entire series is violent, dark, gory, and oh so entertaining in all the ways we tried to hide from our parents when we were teenagers.
I don't often say this, but this is one of the best things I've ever read in the past 20+ years of reading sci-fi and fantasy. If you believe certain aspects of this book seem 'icky' then I implore you to give it a chance. Welcome, by the way, to the ever growing army of slightly rabid Abigail Hilton fans.
Some of the key characters were complex and flawed. Looking into those issues added depth to the story. There is a homosexual plotline in the book, but other than the excessive inclusion of the physical/explicit components of the relationship I appreciated the authors subcontext of love being love regardless of the gender of those in the relationship.
I also enjoyed the light but well planned/timed use of humor, and the use of background music worked most of the time (with only a few missteps). The ensemble cast recording worked very well in general and added to the story... the only complaint was minor and that the narrators voice was thin and not as clear/easy to hear as the cast (especially noticeable when using headphones).
I'm not a big fan of explicit sexuality in novels... a few brief scenes I can deal with but I hate to see it taking up large parts of a story. Having sex is fun... reading about sex is dull and I've never read an author who could put enough lipstick on the literary pig to make it entertaining. In my opinion about 80% of the sex could have been cut out of this series and the net result would have been a dramatic improvement in the quality of the work.
Well, I've read the book collection before and due to how many characters there are — as well as what kind of setting the story takes place in — I wasn't sure how well it would translate into an audio version, but it totally worked! The full cast, the music [which I wasn't sure about at first, but really appreciated as the story went on], it all really helped bring this story alive in a way that built upon the written words. I thought I might get bored at certain parts BECAUSE I own and have read the books before [some more than once], but that never happened.
Hahhaha, for spoiler's sake, I won't say anything too detail-heavy, but I thought the audiobook/cast/whatever did a great job of treating sadder/rougher scenes carefully and with exactly the right mood I wanted them to have. Obviously because Abigail Hilton had her hand in this directly, I wasn't too worried about such scenes being done in a way that would make me uncomfortable or apathetic [which I appreciated]. This book, while it has its happy, happy, moments, it definitely also has its sad ones — ones that always seem to eat at my heart [and thanks to the audiobook, you can feel them even harder].
But this is a good thing. I don't enjoy feeling bad, but I think a good story has to make you feel several emotions and "The Guild of the Cowry Catchers" does a damn good job with this that is only amplified with an audio version.
Anything with Silveo being sassy and saucy. I though his voice actor well picked and fitting to how I expected him to sound "IRL". Every roll of that person's tongue and I could already picture over-sized hat feathers blowing in the wind most haughtily [and of course, those scenes with Silveo that were a bit darker, too, but I'm already being melodramatic so keep walking].
No idea. I'm definitely not magical enough to think of anything really cool or appropriate [sorry, sorry]. If this were a terrible 80s high school movie? Maybe something like "And Gerard thought his school day couldn't get any worse... but then it did."
This is my first time listening to an audiobook with a full cast and it's definitely an experience I'd like to have more of. I'd definitely look forward to anything else done in this same specific manner by this author/group as clearly, they did a good job here and I know they'd probably do a better one with the next one.
You never have to wait for anything if you bring a good book.
The story failed to pull me in. I gave it the old college try, but only made it about 1/3 of the way through and had to pull the plug.
Creating a lot of creatures is not the same as creating an interesting story. Produced, directed and narrated by the author - I wonder if it would have benefited from sharing a little more creative control.
Hilton did a pretty good job as the narrator, but some of the other characters seemed lifeless and amateurish.
I will be getting a refund on this one.
Guild of the Cowry Catchers, among a few other titles by similarly less known or new writers on the block, has proven to me that you don't have to read main stream sci fi or fantasy to be impressed by the quality of the story and the hard work an author puts into his or her work. Right now? It ranks higher than any fantasy fiction I've read that focuses on character development. If you are into character development you will get it here in spades for the main characters and even some of the supporting ones!
The story was good, but the voice acting and the conversations between two of the main characters really made the story shine and gave life to the characters that transcend the writing. As for the actual story, I was really into the theme of loss and redemption for those that seek it and those that find it for those that are afraid to seek it.
Without the Full Cast you are missing roughly 49 percent of the Cowry Catchers Experience. I am deadly serious here. I am usually a visual learner. I read something or see something then let my imagination take its course. But full cast audio, really really adds to the imagery to the point where the characters feel like they are alive, that they actually do have feelings instead of being constructs of the ink on a piece of paper.
The first time I read the book series, I was caught off guard by the latter developments of the third book. Sure the story was never rainbows and sunshine in terms of tone and age advisory, but I felt that audible could use a disclaimer or an age rating system that the author can place.
This story is an adult novel, not meant for children in their preteens or even for close minded adults. It is for readers with an active imagination that long for stories that break the conventions of the typical high fantasy or dark fantasy novels. It is for people that HATE HATE HATE HATE twilight type of teen "romance" fiction. It is for people that want substance to any romantic relationship and realistic reactions between several characters with troubled and disturbing pasts.
But even though I say those things, I won't sugarcoat what goes on in the novel in terms of the adult stuff. In short, there are seemingly homosexual relationships that either exist or develop through the course of the book series. There are weird things you don't typically see in a high magic fantasy novel. There is surprisingly light combat for a tale of high swashbuckling adventure (har har). There is a lot of talking between characters with great voice acting. Some of the musical and sound selections will feel odd or out of place. You will NEVER grow bored.
I loved the storyline, world, and characters. Found myself looking up maps and drawings of the different species.
Personally, I found the graphic scenes between Silvio and Gerrard were a bit off putting. I didn't mind much but not sure they added to the story. I ended up skipping past some of the later long romance scenes just to get back to the story.
Book one and two were good -- then the main characters started a romance that kept intruding into the story --
The sexual relationship between Gerard and Silveo became a major part of the story in books 3-5 --
It was fine
Books 1 & 2 were good, but I was sad I bought the five book set on Audio -- would not have purchase 3-5 if I had read ahead a bit
"A Completely Absorbing Story"
The characters were so believable and I was able to picture them easily. I found myself completely absorbed in this fantasy world.
All of the characters were excellent with their own characters and foibles. If I had to choose it would probably be either Gerard, Silveo or Twain but I cannot pick just one.
Perhaps the rising of the Phoenix and Silveo appearing from beneath his wing or the picture of Gerard in the mill trying to keep his head above water.
Come join in this fantasy world of intrigue, conflict, magic and love.
I would just like to say that the voice actors were magnificent and brought all the characters to life showing their individual talents,.
"Too much sex not enough story"
voices become boring story line fragmented too much time spent on soft sex. basic story fine. promised much delivered little.
"Good Story - Unnecessary Padding"
The story is a good old fashioned swashbuckling yarn of disinherited princes, dragons, revolution and pirates. It is marred somewhat by hours of discourse on the interpersonal relationships of the main protagonists - I think this is meant to add depth, it just adds hours to the listening. Would benefit from an abridged version.
The production is excellent with a cast of over 40 voice actors and relevant sound effects - more of a radio play than an audio book.
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