We are currently making improvements to the Audible site. In an effort to enhance the accessibility experience for our customers, we have created a page to more easily navigate the new experience, available at the web address www.audible.com/access.
The Astonishing Life of Octavian Nothing, Traitor to the Nation, Volume 1: The Pox Party | [M.T. Anderson]

The Astonishing Life of Octavian Nothing, Traitor to the Nation, Volume 1: The Pox Party

He is a boy dressed in silks and white wigs and given the finest of classical educations. Raised by a group of rational philosophers known only by numbers, the boy and his mother, a princess in exile from a faraway land, are the only people in their household assigned names. As the boy's regal mother, Cassiopeia, entertains the house scholars with her beauty and wit, young Octavian begins to question the purpose behind his guardians' fanatical studies.
Regular Price:$35.93
  • Membership Details:
    • First book free with 30-day trial
    • $14.95/month thereafter for your choice of 1 new book each month
    • Cancel easily anytime
    • Exchange books you don't like
    • All selected books are yours to keep, even if you cancel
  • - or -

Your Likes make Audible better!

'Likes' are shared on Facebook and Audible.com. We use your 'likes' to improve Audible.com for all our listeners.

You can turn off Audible.com sharing from your Account Details page.

OK

Publisher's Summary

National Book Award, Young People's Literature, 2006

He is a boy dressed in silks and white wigs and given the finest of classical educations. Raised by a group of rational philosophers known only by numbers, the boy and his mother, a princess in exile from a faraway land, are the only people in their household assigned names. As the boy's regal mother, Cassiopeia, entertains the house scholars with her beauty and wit, young Octavian begins to question the purpose behind his guardians' fanatical studies. Only after he dares to open a forbidden door does he learn the hideous nature of their experiments - and his own chilling role in them.

The first of two volumes, this deeply provocative audiobook reimagines the past as an eerie place that has startling resonance for listeners today.

©2006 M.T. Anderson; (P)2007 Random House, Inc. Listening Library, an imprint of the Random House Audio Publishing Group

What the Critics Say

"Highly accomplished." (Booklist) "Fascinating and eye-opening....this powerful novel will resonate with contemporary readers." (School Library Journal)

What Members Say

Average Customer Rating

3.3 (71 )
5 star
 (21)
4 star
 (11)
3 star
 (19)
2 star
 (6)
1 star
 (14)
Overall
3.4 (28 )
5 star
 (7)
4 star
 (9)
3 star
 (5)
2 star
 (2)
1 star
 (5)
Story
3.7 (26 )
5 star
 (8)
4 star
 (11)
3 star
 (1)
2 star
 (2)
1 star
 (4)
Performance
Sort by:
  •  
    Shelly M. Felton Gainesville. FL 03-29-07
    Shelly M. Felton Gainesville. FL 03-29-07 Member Since 2005

    shellian731

    HELPFUL VOTES
    139
    ratings
    REVIEWS
    186
    17
    FOLLOWERS
    FOLLOWING
    1
    0
    Overall
    "Compelling"

    This book is extraordinary: graceful, imaginative writing; excellent narration; fascinating story. But for those wishing for a lightheartedly merry romp through imaginaryland, you should consider another book. The novel explores grim aspects of our nation's early history - it is gripping, but also heartbreaking. Read it! But not when you're down in the dumps.

    7 of 7 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Ryan Somerville, MA, United States 09-20-10
    Ryan Somerville, MA, United States 09-20-10 Member Since 2005

    Gen-Xer, software engineer, and lifelong avid reader. Soft spots for sci-fi, fantasy, and history, but I'll read anything good.

    HELPFUL VOTES
    1487
    ratings
    REVIEWS
    335
    270
    FOLLOWERS
    FOLLOWING
    401
    14
    Overall
    "YA fiction at its very best"

    A fantastic book. Set in Boston before and during the opening of Revolutionary War, Octavian Nothing tells the odd story of a young boy of African origin, who is raised with the finest classical education by a college of philosophers as part of a noble experiment. Yet, there is much about the world he has been kept ignorant of, including the fact that the men who would establish a new democracy prosper from the labor of slaves who look like him and have no intention of freeing them. Though this might have been a pedestrian premise in the hands of another author, Anderson's colorful characters, keen wit, and delightful use of 18th century language make for a rich, unique narrative, its fanciful-sounding tone artfully masking a moving, serious work.


    Like the very best YA authors, Anderson never sells short the reader's intelligence, putting Octavian in situations where the truth isn't always pretty and questions without answers lead Octavian to even more challenging questions and ideas. Some of these are probably a little over the head of the average 13 year old (or likely to annoy the kind of overprotective parents who can't accept that their kids might be able to reason for themselves), but Anderson handles the weightier concepts with subtlety, allowing them to exert their gravitational pull on the reader's mind without interfering with the story. Which is entertaining, full of twists, poignant, and wonderfully written. The kind of book someone can read in adolescence, then enjoy again in a few years as an adult, with a different take.

    If you enjoy American history from a different angle, language, and storytelling at its finest, don't overlook this one. M.T. Anderson rocks.

    4 of 4 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Laura LA, CA, USA 06-05-09
    Laura LA, CA, USA 06-05-09 Member Since 2006
    HELPFUL VOTES
    2
    ratings
    REVIEWS
    37
    1
    FOLLOWERS
    FOLLOWING
    0
    0
    Overall
    "Octavian Something"

    This is a wonderful, heartbreaking tale of a young Prince in pre-revolutionary America who comes to find out he is also a slave and the subject of an intense scientific study. Smart and insightful, it examines the best and worst of the American character and humanity as a whole. Plus,it's great as an audio book.

    2 of 2 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Patrick Tomlin 06-06-11
    HELPFUL VOTES
    1
    ratings
    REVIEWS
    1
    1
    FOLLOWERS
    FOLLOWING
    0
    0
    Overall
    "Octavian Something"

    Although I have been a member of Audible for three years, this is the first review I've felt compelled to give. Octavian Nothing is a powerful--and powerfully humane--story about the triumph of the individual spirit in the face of soul-withering oppression. Although fiction (and YA at that!), it is grounded in and illuminates a little-known chapter in the now near-mythological period of the colonies, as our nation-to-be tests the boundaries between loyalty and independence and finds itself on the eve of revolution. Give the book time--no small request, of course, in the digital age. Octavian Nothing unfolds slowly but surely, aided in no small part by Peter Francis James's wonderfully sure narration. By the end you will be fully in the grips of a master writer and storyteller. No spoilers here, but there are parts that are purely heartbreaking; I was late to work on more than one occasion just to hear how things concluded.

    And while you're at it, go ahead and download the second volume, which fulfills the promises of this one.

    1 of 1 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Christina 09-29-12
    Christina 09-29-12
    ratings
    REVIEWS
    2
    2
    Overall
    Performance
    Story
    "Horrible"
    What could have made this a 4 or 5-star listening experience for you?

    This book was extremely boring and the narrators voice was really irritating. One of my least liked books on Audible.


    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  •  
    B. Tetrault Fresno, CA USA 10-17-09
    B. Tetrault Fresno, CA USA 10-17-09 Member Since 2009

    Geeky, Homeschooling Mom to three geeklets.

    HELPFUL VOTES
    11
    ratings
    REVIEWS
    29
    6
    FOLLOWERS
    FOLLOWING
    0
    0
    Overall
    "I really wanted to like this book.."

    I just couldn't. I just felt nothing for the characters, and in the end, was unable to finish it.

    2 of 4 people found this review helpful
  • Showing: 1-6 of 6 results

    There are no listener reviews for this title yet.

Report Inappropriate Content

If you find this review inappropriate and think it should be removed from our site, let us know. This report will be reviewed by Audible and we will take appropriate action.

Cancel

Thank You

Your report has been received. It will be reviewed by Audible and we will take appropriate action.