Alfred Hitchcock was a strange child. Fat, lonely, burning with fear and ambition, his childhood was an isolated one, scented with fish from his father's shop. Afraid to leave his bedroom, he would plan great voyages, using railway timetables to plot an exact imaginary route across Europe. So how did this fearful figure become one of the most respected film directors of the 20th century?
"Excellent intro to a great film director's legacy"
In Foundation the chronicler of London and of its river, the Thames, takes us from the primeval forests of England's prehistory to the death of the first Tudor king, Henry VII, in 1509. He guides us from the building of Stonehenge to the founding of the two great glories of medieval England: common law and the cathedrals. He shows us glimpses of the country's most distant past - a Neolithic stirrup found in a grave, a Roman fort, a Saxon tomb, a medieval manor house.
"The Most Annoying Narrator EVER"
Peter Ackroyd, one of Britain's most acclaimed writers, brings the age of the Tudors to vivid life in this monumental audiobook in his History of England series, charting the course of English history from Henry VIII's cataclysmic break with Rome to the epic rule of Elizabeth I.
"A Great Listen for Any Anglophile"
In a magnificent feat of re-creating sixteenth-century London and Stratford, best-selling biographer and novelist Peter Ackroyd brings William Shakespeare to life in the manner of a contemporary rather than a biographer. Following his magisterial and ingenious re-creations of the lives of Chaucer, Dickens, T. S. Eliot, William Blake, and Sir Thomas More, Ackroyd delivers his crowning achievement with this definitive and imaginative biographical masterpiece.
"Shakespeare by Peter Ackroyd"
England's turbulent seventeenth century is vividly laid out before us, but so too is the cultural and social life of the period, notable for its extraordinarily rich literature, including Shakespeare's late masterpieces, Jacobean tragedy, the poetry of John Donne and Milton, and Thomas Hobbes's great philosophical treatise, Leviathan. Rebellion also gives us a very real sense of the lives of ordinary English men and women, lived out against a backdrop of constant disruption and uncertainty.
"Good but not great"
He was the very first icon of the silver screen and is one of the most recognizable of Hollywood faces, even a hundred years after his first film. But what of the man behind the moustache? Peter Ackroyd's biography turns the spotlight on Chaplin's life as well as his work, from his humble theatrical beginnings in music halls to winning an honorary Academy Award.
"This Long Time Chaplin Fan Wanted More"
The Life of Thomas More went straight to #1 on the London Times best seller list when published in the United Kingdom. It remained in that position for over a month, garnering the kind of praise that is rarely given. Thomas More was not only a great man of the church, he was also arguably the most brilliant lawyer the English-speaking world has ever known.
"Fantastic novel; passable narration"
In this BBC Radio adaptation of Peter Ackroyd's spectacular one-man show, Simon Callow portrays both Charles Dickens and many of his best-loved characters, from Mr. Micawber and Bill Sikes to Oliver Twist and Nancy. Readings from his novels interweave with the author's own words and an incisive, compassionate narrative. Dickens' idyllic childhood in Chatham was swapped for his family's penurious existence in London.
Author Peter Ackroyd has won the Somerset Maugham Award, the Whitbread Novel of the Year, and the Guardian Fiction Prize, and was shortlisted for the Booker Prize. Based on Geoffrey Chaucer’s immortal work, this retelling of The Canterbury Tales follows a party of travelers as they tell stories amongst themselves about love and chivalry, saints and legends, travel and adventure. Through allegory, satire, and humor, the tales help pass the time during their journey.
"So little has changed!"
Joseph Mallord William Turner was born in London in 1775. His father was a barber, and his mother came from a family of London butchers. "His speech was recognizably that of a Cockney, and his language was the language of the streets." As his finest paintings show, his language was also the language of light. Turner’s landscapes - extraordinary studies in light, colour, and texture - caused an uproar during his lifetime and earned him a place as one of the greatest artists in history.
Peter Ackroyd's Hawksmoor was first published in 1985. Alternating between the eighteenth century, when Nicholas Dyer, assistant to Christopher Wren, builds seven London churches that house a terrible secret, and the 1980s, when London detective Nicholas Hawksmoor is investigating a series of gruesome murders on the sight of certain old churches, Hawksmoor is a brilliant tale of darkness and shadow.
"Great subject matter - just doesn't deliver."
If your tastes run to Victorian mysteries and murder, you’ll enjoy Peter Ackroyd’s special blending of fact and fiction in this magnificent recreation of the bizarre murders that rocked Victorian England. Drawing on surviving police records and court transcripts, Ackroyd paints a fascinating portrait of a savage murderer, the terror that rippled across London, and the innocent woman charged with the crimes.
Peter Ackroyd follows his hero, "the sweetest-tempered of all the Victorian novelists", from his childhood as the son of a well-known artist to his struggling beginnings as a writer, his years of fame, and his lifelong friendship with the other great London chronicler, Charles Dickens. In addition to his enduring masterpieces, The Moonstone - often called the first true detective novel - and the sensational The Woman in White, Collins produced an intriguing array of lesser-known works.
"If you enjoy Wilkie Collins, this is a must read."
The Venetians' language and way of thinking set them aside from the rest of Italy. They are an island people, linked to the sea and to the tides rather than the land. This latest work from the incomparable Peter Ackroyd, like a magic gondola, transports its listeners to that sensual and surprising city. His account embraces facts and romance, conjuring up the atmosphere of the canals, bridges, and sunlit squares, the churches and the markets, the festivals and the flowers.
"Repeats himself A LOT..."
Peter Ackroyd's insightful new biography positions Shakespeare in the close context of his world. In this way, Ackroyd not only richly conjures up the texture of Shakespeare's life, but also imparts an amazing amount of vivid, interesting material about place, period and background. Walk with Ackroyd through sixteenth century London and Stratford as he uncovers the intimate circumstances of Shakespeare's life.
"It was okay"
Poet, forger, and genius, Thomas Chatterton died in 1770, aged 18. His death was thought to be suicide: But what really happened? Two hundred years later, Charles Wychwood and Harriet Scrope become obsessed with decoding the clues in an 18th-century manuscript. Their investigation raises some intriguing questions....
A century before, as 19th-century artist Henry Wallis paints his celebrated portrait of Chatterton lying dead in an attic room, he, too, becomes fascinated by the mystery. Then Chatterton himself steps forward, with his own story....
Geoffrey Chaucer, who died in 1400, lived a surprisingly eventful life. He served with the Duke of Clarence and with Edward III, and in 1359 was taken prisoner in France and ransomed. Through his wife, Philippa, he gained the patronage of John of Gaunt, which helped him carve out a career at Court. His posts included Controller of Customs at the Port of London, Knight of the Shire for Kent, and King's Forester. He went on numerous adventurous diplomatic missions to France and Italy.
Ackroyd portrays London from the time of the druids to the beginning of the twenty-first century, noting magnificence in both epochs, but this is not a simple chronological record. It is a comprehensive account, animated by Ackroyd's concern for the close relationship between the present and the past as well as by what he describes as the peculiar "echoic" quality of London whereby its texture and history actively affect the lives and personalities of its citizens.
This haunting and atmospheric novel opens with a heated discussion, as Shelley challenges the conventionally religious Frankenstein to consider his atheistic notions of creation and life. Afterward, these concepts become an obsession for the young scientist. As Victor begins conducting anatomical experiments to reanimate the dead, he at first uses corpses supplied by the coroner. But these specimens prove imperfect for Victor's purposes.