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Stephen

Shatin, Hong Kong
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  • 36
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  • Retribution

  • The Centurions III
  • By: Anthony Riches
  • Narrated by: Mark Noble
  • Length: 15 hrs and 53 mins
  • Unabridged
  • Overall
    4.5 out of 5 stars 18
  • Performance
    5 out of 5 stars 18
  • Story
    4.5 out of 5 stars 18

The author of the best-selling Empire series reaches the action-filled climax of his epic story of the uprising of the Batavi in AD 69. Victory is in sight for Kivilaz and his Batavi army. The Roman army clings desperately to its remaining fortresses along the Rhine, its legions riven by dissent and mutiny, and once-loyal allies of Rome are beginning to imagine the unimaginable: freedom from the rulers who have dominated them since the time of Caesar.

  • 3 out of 5 stars
  • Too much explicit violence

  • By Stephen on 05-29-18

Too much explicit violence

Overall
3 out of 5 stars
Performance
4 out of 5 stars
Story
3 out of 5 stars

Reviewed: 05-29-18

I was looking forward to the third instalment of this trilogy, having been swept up in the multi-faceted story, strong character development, clear prose style and great narration. Unfortunately, apart from the narration which remains very good, this book was a disappointment. It devolved very quickly into an explicitly violence which seemed to be the main point of the book. I couldn’t actually finish it, giving up about 4/5 of the way through.

  • SPQR III: The Sacrilege

  • By: John Maddox Roberts
  • Narrated by: John Lee
  • Length: 7 hrs and 45 mins
  • Unabridged
  • Overall
    4.5 out of 5 stars 269
  • Performance
    4.5 out of 5 stars 238
  • Story
    4.5 out of 5 stars 238

When a sacret woman's rite in the ancient city of Rome is infiltrated by a corrupt patrician dressed in female garb, it falls to Senator Decuis Caecilius Metellus the Younger, whose investigative skills have proven indispensable in the past, to unmask the perpetrators. When four brutal slayings follow, Decius enlists the help a notorious and dangerous criminal.

  • 5 out of 5 stars
  • Different narrator, same ol' Decius

  • By Derek Partridge on 06-27-13

Contrived and disappointing conclusion

Overall
3 out of 5 stars
Performance
5 out of 5 stars
Story
3 out of 5 stars

Reviewed: 09-16-14

Is there anything you would change about this book?

Yes. The story was very entertaining and provided plenty of historical atmosphere, but the ending was very disappointing. SPOILER ALERT: The truth behind the mystery was revealed towards the end of the book in a long letter written by one of the murdered characters. This struck me as a plainly lazy way to round out a murder mystery. Also, the letter that named the murderers and revealed a treasonous plot was conveniently handed over to one of the plotters (a real historical character) in a final scene that seemed like the ancient Roman equivalent of a movie car chase. It was quite corny and very hard to believe.

Would you be willing to try another book from John Maddox Roberts? Why or why not?

Yes. Parts 1 and 2 of the series were excellent, so I am prepared to believe that the substandard conclusion of part 3 was anomalous.

What about John Lee’s performance did you like?

Lee was an excellent and most convincing narrator.

Did SPQR III: The Sacrilege inspire you to do anything?

No.

Any additional comments?

I am looking forward to the many subsequent instalments in this series.

2 of 2 people found this review helpful

  • The History of Ancient Egypt

  • By: Bob Brier, The Great Courses
  • Narrated by: Bob Brier
  • Length: 24 hrs and 25 mins
  • Original Recording
  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars 2,136
  • Performance
    4.5 out of 5 stars 1,988
  • Story
    5 out of 5 stars 1,983

Ancient Egyptian civilization is so grand our minds sometimes have difficulty adjusting to it. It lasted 3,000 years, longer than any other on the planet. Its Great Pyramid of Cheops was the tallest building in the world until well into the 19th century and remains the only Ancient Wonder still standing. And it was the most technologically advanced of the ancient civilizations, with the medical knowledge that made Egyptian physicians the most famous in the world.

  • 5 out of 5 stars
  • Incomprehensibly complete

  • By Nassir on 07-09-13

Tombs, tombs, tombs

Overall
3 out of 5 stars
Performance
3 out of 5 stars
Story
2 out of 5 stars

Reviewed: 08-07-14

Is there anything you would change about this book?

I would have appreciated a bigger picture narrative and assessment of ancient Egypt, rather than one that focuses so much on archaeology.

What was the most interesting aspect of this story? The least interesting?

There is far too much focus on the minutiae of the archeological record.

Do you think The History of Ancient Egypt needs a follow-up book? Why or why not?

Yes; a book that gives a better overview of Egyptian politics, economics and society.

6 of 10 people found this review helpful

  • The Silver Pigs

  • By: Lindsey Davis
  • Narrated by: Christian Rodska
  • Length: 9 hrs and 12 mins
  • Unabridged
  • Overall
    4 out of 5 stars 326
  • Performance
    4.5 out of 5 stars 198
  • Story
    4 out of 5 stars 200

One fine day, A.D. 70, Sosia Camillina quite literally runs into Marcus Didius Falco on the steps of the Forum. It seems Sosia is on the run from a couple of street toughs, and after a quick and dirty rescue, P.I. Falco wants to know why.

  • 4 out of 5 stars
  • Wonderful adventure...

  • By Matthew F on 05-17-09

Show some respect, commoner!

Overall
4 out of 5 stars
Performance
5 out of 5 stars
Story
3 out of 5 stars

Reviewed: 02-14-12

Any additional comments?

I love historical fiction, especially when it is set in the Roman Republic or Empire. This is the first Didius Falco novel I have read, and I found it generally entertaining. I quite like Falco himself, and the way in which the author depicted Rome and Roman Britain. Everything was going nicely until Falco (a plebeian gumshoe detective in 70 AD) started interacting directly with senior members of the imperial family, including the Emperor himself. Falco seemed not the slightest bit awed or even outwardly respectful. He was even fairly rude to them. Not only that, but Falco also spurned, in a most rude way, a high honour bestowed on him by the Emperor. His behaviour was not exactly irrational (there were some barely good reasons), but his behaviour was difficult to believe in the historical and social context of ancient Rome. I found this aspect of the book significantly detracting from the aura of historical realism that surrounded an otherwise 'ripping yarn' from classical Rome.

6 of 6 people found this review helpful

  • The Time Traveller's Guide to Medieval England

  • A Handbook for Visitors to the Fourteenth Century
  • By: Ian Mortimer
  • Narrated by: Jonathan Keeble
  • Length: 11 hrs and 45 mins
  • Unabridged
  • Overall
    4.5 out of 5 stars 1,146
  • Performance
    4.5 out of 5 stars 966
  • Story
    4.5 out of 5 stars 963

Imagine you could travel back to the 14th century. What would you see? What would you smell? More to the point, where are you going to stay? And what are you going to eat? Ian Mortimer shows us that the past is not just something to be studied; it is also something to be lived. He sets out to explain what life was like in the most immediate way, through taking you to the Middle Ages. The result is the most astonishing social history book you are ever likely to read: evolutionary in its concept, informative and entertaining in its detail.

  • 5 out of 5 stars
  • Detailed, Interesting and Entertaining

  • By Marc-Andr? on 05-13-10

Best travel book ever

Overall
5 out of 5 stars
Performance
5 out of 5 stars
Story
4 out of 5 stars

Reviewed: 06-03-11

I have always enjoyed medieval history and historical fiction. My favourite setting is England, and my favourite century is the fourteenth. This is a travel guide to England in the fourteenth century, and it really brought the time and place brilliantly to life. It is all in the present tense, and really does succeed in putting you right there among villeins, yeomen, sheriffs, forest outlaws, minstrelry, the 'great pestilence' (black death), manorial courts, etc etc. Loved every minute of it.

4 of 5 people found this review helpful

  • Lisey's Story

  • By: Stephen King
  • Narrated by: Mare Winningham
  • Length: 18 hrs and 56 mins
  • Unabridged
  • Overall
    4 out of 5 stars 3,312
  • Performance
    4.5 out of 5 stars 2,213
  • Story
    4 out of 5 stars 2,214

Lisey Debusher Landon lost her husband, Scott, two years ago, after a 25-year marriage of the most profound and sometimes frightening intimacy. Scott was an award-winning, best-selling novelist, and a very complicated man. Early in their relationship, before they married, Lisey had to learn from him about books and blood and "bools". Later, she understood that there was a place Scott went, a place that both terrified and healed him, could eat him alive, or give him the ideas he needed in order to live.

  • 5 out of 5 stars
  • Vintage, Mature SK

  • By A. Jack on 07-03-07

Disappointing

Overall
1 out of 5 stars

Reviewed: 02-07-07

I bought this because it was written by Stephen King and I have greatly enjoyed pretty much everything he has written, including the much-maligned "Cell". What a disappointment this book turned out to be.

First of all, this is basically a love story. That's ok, I was interested in how King might approach the genre. The trouble is, the main character (Lisey Landon) is just plain boring. She appears to have no life, interest, or friends of her own. Her only relationships seem to be with her sisters.

Even 2 years after his death, Lisey is still obesessing over Scott every waking minute, and in her dreams. This gets really tedious. The tedium is only partly alleviated by the stalker with whom Lisey needs to deal, and by the flashbacks to Scott's childhood where some seriously King-style supernaturalism is going on in the form of were-wolfism, parallel existences, and some nasty but mysterious beast called 'Long Boy'.

Like many other reviewers I found the constant overuse of catch-words and catch-phrases ('smucking', 'bad gunkie', 'strap it on', etc ad nauseam) intensely irritating. Unlike some, I was able to follow the somewhat overcomplicated structure of many of the flashbacks, though there were times I came too close to literally losing the plot.

I also came close on several occasions to giving up on this book before the end. I didn't because it was King, and I was sure he would spring a surprise and turn the whole experience around. It didn't happen. I should have given up and used those hours for something else.

18 of 22 people found this review helpful