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Simon Bowler

South Brisbane, QLD Australia
  • 7
  • reviews
  • 35
  • helpful votes
  • 104
  • ratings
  • The Fry Chronicles

  • An Autobiography
  • By: Stephen Fry
  • Narrated by: Stephen Fry
  • Length: 12 hrs and 28 mins
  • Unabridged
  • Overall
    4.5 out of 5 stars 423
  • Performance
    4.5 out of 5 stars 306
  • Story
    4 out of 5 stars 305

This dazzling memoir promises to be a courageously frank, honest and poignant read. It will detail some of Fry's most turbulent and least-well-known years, with writing that will excite you, make you laugh uproariously, move you, inform you, and, above all, surprise you.

  • 5 out of 5 stars
  • A must read

  • By christine on 03-01-11

Fry the young man: A life exposed and explained

Overall
4 out of 5 stars

Reviewed: 10-16-10

An excellent autobiography of Stephen the Cambridge student and young comedian, actor, entertainer, broadcaster and chronicler of the 80's and early 90's. All delivered with honesty and his sonorous Oxbridge accent. Entertaining and informative. Wonderful.

2 of 2 people found this review helpful

  • HMS Ulysses

  • By: Alistair MacLean
  • Narrated by: Denis Quilley
  • Length: 2 hrs and 43 mins
  • Abridged
  • Overall
    3.5 out of 5 stars 3
  • Performance
    4.5 out of 5 stars 2
  • Story
    5 out of 5 stars 2

The story of men who rose to heroism, and then to something greater, HMS Ulysses is the compelling story of Convoy FR77 to Murmansk - a voyage that pushes men to the limits of human endurance as they are crippled by enemy attack and the bitter cold of the Arctic.

  • 2 out of 5 stars
  • What a misery

  • By Simon Bowler on 10-19-09

What a misery

Overall
2 out of 5 stars

Reviewed: 10-19-09

A misanthropic war tragedy. There's not much light or redemption in this unrelievedly grim tale of an arctic convoy during WW2. Misery upon misery ending in disaster, death and disgrace. I guess a gritty true-to-life account of what it was really like is an appropriate antidote to the boys-own-annual view of the navy and war but pheeww this one is really depressing. The writing is taught and Quilly's cut glass accent is perfect. If you can stand the tragedy its an interesting well crafted work.

  • Mexico Set

  • By: Len Deighton
  • Narrated by: Robert Whitfield
  • Length: 10 hrs and 57 mins
  • Unabridged
  • Overall
    4 out of 5 stars 98
  • Performance
    4.5 out of 5 stars 32
  • Story
    4.5 out of 5 stars 32

The stage is set. Now, on the shadowy East-West battlefield of Mexico City, British intelligence agent Bernard Samson must entice his opposite number, a disaffected KGB major, to take the final, dramatic step and defect. But the price of one Russian's freedom must be paid in blood, blood that Samson unexpectedly and incriminatingly finds on his own hands. On every side, he becomes dangerously enmeshed in an intricate web of suspicion and hatred.

  • 5 out of 5 stars
  • Classic Cold War Spy Stuff

  • By Tim on 04-10-03

Deighton and Whitfield - what a pairing

Overall
4 out of 5 stars

Reviewed: 11-19-08

Deighton's second volume in his game set and match trilogy has everything a good spy novel should. Bernard Sampson's tough anti hero is an examplar in the genre. And Robert Whitfields narration is magnificent. His command of regional, international and gendered accents is alone worth the purchase price. I'm only sad Audible doesn't have the third Blackstone audio volume in this series. The price is attractive too!

  • Tinker, Tailor, Soldier, Spy

  • By: John le Carre
  • Narrated by: Frederick Davidson
  • Length: 12 hrs and 53 mins
  • Unabridged
  • Overall
    4 out of 5 stars 540
  • Performance
    4 out of 5 stars 196
  • Story
    4.5 out of 5 stars 196

George Smiley, one of the most brilliant spies in the world, is chosen to dig out a mole and destroy him. And so Smiley embarks on his blind night walk, retracing path after path into his own past - its aliases, covers, sleights of hand - burrowing into the dust of unresolved episodes.

  • 3 out of 5 stars
  • Sound quality issues

  • By Joe on 07-19-06

Tinker, Tailor, Soldier, Spy

Overall
4 out of 5 stars

Reviewed: 06-28-07

I read this book some years ago but I'm astounded amazed and astonished by Francis Davidsons marvellous rendition of the book's subtlety and complexity. The story folds and refolds as George Smiley, the fat middle aged cuckold slowly gets to the bottom of the Circus's betrayal and reveals the spy, the "mole" who has been betraying his fellows and their "networks". The characterisation is superb and Fracis Davidson's vocal acrobatics cover the range of characters superbly. A much better recording than the earlier Le Carre works by Blackstone. Some American translations: "trailer" rather than "caravan" for example but nothing that get's in the way of the essential Englishness of the story. Magnificent!

8 of 9 people found this review helpful

  • Call for the Dead

  • By: John le Carre
  • Narrated by: Frederick Davidson
  • Length: 5 hrs and 14 mins
  • Unabridged
  • Overall
    4 out of 5 stars 174
  • Performance
    4 out of 5 stars 45
  • Story
    4 out of 5 stars 45

In John LeCarré's first novel, we meet the world's most famous undercover operative, George Smiley...

  • 3 out of 5 stars
  • Call for the Dead

  • By Simon Bowler on 06-03-07

Call for the Dead

Overall
3 out of 5 stars

Reviewed: 06-03-07

John LeCarre's first novel also features George Smiley for the first time with his fussy physically ineptitude but substantial intellectual prowess. His characters are complex and the plot pacing excellent though he writes without the surety that his later novels display. The gloomy grubbiness of coal fired post war England seeps out of the reading like the smog and rain and reflects the nascent cold war conflict in this pre Berlin Wall time. Frank Davidson's reading is accomplished with the tight upper class English vowels of 40 years ago and good portrayals of the "other ranks" voices. Sadly the audio quality is poor with what sound like "print through" echoes displaying the tape cassette origin of this recording.

12 of 12 people found this review helpful

  • Plain Tales from the Hills

  • By: Rudyard Kipling
  • Narrated by: Martin Jarvis
  • Length: 4 hrs and 59 mins
  • Unabridged
  • Overall
    4 out of 5 stars 69
  • Performance
    4.5 out of 5 stars 35
  • Story
    4 out of 5 stars 37

An intimate, evocative, often funny, and always vital portrait of India at the peak of the British Raj. Written at the age of 22, they immediately show Kipling's natural and prodigious talent. Timeless, they can be listened to forever.

  • 5 out of 5 stars
  • Kipling's first book presented by the ideal reader

  • By Brian Abel Ragen on 06-01-17

Gentle irony

Overall
4 out of 5 stars

Reviewed: 01-25-06

Bittersweet tales of life in Victorian India centred on the hill town of Simla. Each story of human frailty, of life under the British Raj, of the machinations of its public official, of the long suffering Indian subjects is crafted with ironic affection and polished till it glows. The attitudes are colonial and imperialist but the characters come alive as if they lived in the 21st century. Martin Jarvis narration is gentle and flawless. I will listen to this again and again

8 of 10 people found this review helpful

  • Short Stories of William Somerset Maugham, Volume 2

  • By: W. Somerset Maugham
  • Narrated by: Charlton Griffin
  • Length: 4 hrs and 35 mins
  • Unabridged
  • Overall
    4.5 out of 5 stars 119
  • Performance
    4.5 out of 5 stars 30
  • Story
    4.5 out of 5 stars 30

Winner of the 2003 Audie Award for Classic Fiction, this is an unparalleled presentation of Maugham's stories, complete with sound effects and music.

  • 3 out of 5 stars
  • Acute observations of man

  • By Simon Bowler on 10-24-04

Acute observations of man

Overall
3 out of 5 stars

Reviewed: 10-24-04

Maugham's observations of the weakness and strengths of men (and sometimes women) set in every corner of the world are entrancing. The colour and exotic locations are a backdrop for accounts of human universals; death love and ambition. Charlton Griffins mellow voice is ideal for the stories though his almost but not quite British accent at times is annoying.

5 of 5 people found this review helpful