Best-selling author Robert Jackson Bennett has won widespread critical acclaim for his unique brand of darkly inventive fiction. In The Troupe, 16-year-old George Carole joins vaudeville in search of Heironomo Silenus, the man he believes to be his father. But what he discovers casts a dark pall over his world: Silenus' troupe hides a dangerous secret - one that invites death to all in its vicinity.
©2012 Robert Jackson Bennett (P)2012 Recorded Books
I'm a big fan of SF/F/Horror, and all things in between and out.
Robert Jackson Bennett's the Troupe is my favorite new audiobook of the year. It called to mind Neil Gaiman’s American Gods, along with Ray Bradbury, and a dash of Stephen King.
Bennett recreates Vaudeville, and imbues it with a sense of magic that feels both historical and fantastical. Here’s some more about the plot: George, a teenage pianist, has been on the Vaudeville circuit for six months searching for his father’s troupe. All he wants is his father’s acceptance, but when he tracks down the players and begins to unravel the secrets Silenus and his companions carry, he’s plunged into a world of danger and magic beyond his wildest dreams. Because Silenus’s shows seem to have an effect on the very world itself, and there are other entities who’d like to bring down the curtain on it once and for all.
All the different members of the troupe are fully fleshed out, and all deliciously complicated. We meet Franny, the strongwoman; Collette, the beautiful singer and dancer; Kingsley, a bizarre puppeteer; and Stanley – Silenus’s mute right hand-man. Finally, there’s Silenus himself – a master showman who claims he’s been alive for centuries. They all have secrets of their own, as well as ambitions, and it’s a delight to spend time with them on the road, and to be surprised by their startling revelations. Knowing what I know now, I can’t wait to go back to it and watch their secrets and twists unfold all over again.
Luis Moreno does a magnificent job of bringing Bennett’s characters to life. I hadn’t heard him read before, and he delivers a subtle reading that manages to give Silenus’s voice a sense of charismatic showmanship, while making George’s a naive, sometimes arrogant teenager, and hits the right notes for all the characters in between. There were a few times in the production where odd pauses fell unexpectedly into the story, which was a little jarring – I’d occasionally look at my iPod to see if it had stopped playing. But all in all, Moreno’s reading is a real treat, and only adds more charm to this already fantastic and riveting story.
The Troupe is a must-listen, a book that will charm, thrill, and give you chills and once it wraps up, you’ll want to do the whole thing all over again.
Originally posted at the AudioBookaneers
I'm a web designer in Southern California that loves a good thick book - especially epic fantasy, sci-fi, and contemporary thrillers. My favorite authors include Stephenson, Erikson, and Sanderson.
The story, the characters, the world were all so interesting and different. I have absolutely zero interest in Vaudeville or theater, but that's really just the framework that this magnificent fabric of story is hung upon - in short, don't let that part turn you off.
I'm a big fan of thicker fantasy & fiction writing, but this book (which is relatively short compared to my usual far) really worked like a charm to break up a "reading rut" that I'd run into where I just wasn't finding anything interesting to dig into.
I didn't love the ending... but I also can't really imagine a better way to close up the book. In short, I guess I was just sad to see the story come to a close when I could have read another 400 pages (or hours?) of material based in this world.
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