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Publisher's Summary

A debut novel in the vein of Greene and le Carré, A Dying Breed is a brilliant and gripping story of the politics of news reporting, intrigue and blood set between the dark halls of Whitehall, the shadowy corridors of the BBC and the perilous streets of Kabul, in the shadowy le Carré-esque world of foreign correspondents reporting from war zones around the world.

Carver, an old BBC hack, is warned off a story when a bomb goes off, killing a local official in Kabul, but his instincts tell him something isn't quite right, and he won't give up until he finds the truth. A junior producer sent out from London to control him is kidnapped, and as the story unravels it looks like there's collusion between the local consul, Whitehall and someone in the BBC to ensure the real story never sees the light of day.

©2016 Peter Hanington (P)2016 Hodder & Stoughton

Critic Reviews

"A tremendous novel - shot-through with great authenticity and insider knowledge - wholly compelling and shrewdly wise." (William Boyd)
" A Dying Breed is a deeply insightful, humane, funny and furious novel. This is both a timely reflection on how Britain does business and a belting good read." (A. L. Kennedy)
"A compelling read, and a great insider's view of life in broadcast journalism. I'm disappointed I am not to feature in the book: it is a brilliant read." (Evan Davis)
"Buy this book. Find a quiet place. Switch off your phone and devour it. Hanington's ability to wrap a story around the ghosts of truth is superb. He spins his tale with a true writer's gift. I loved every minute in this book's company." (Fi Glover, BBC Radio 4 presenter)
"Peter is that rare commodity in the journalistic fraternity...a natural storyteller. You really want to turn the pages. And that's what matters." (John Humphrys)
"A deeply intelligent, beautifully constructed story." (Will Gompertz, BBC arts editor)
"All journalists seem to think they can write great novels about journalism and 99% of those who try make a hash of it. Hanington is in the 1%. Having created believable characters caught up in the hell that is Afghanistan, he weaves a story that manages to excite, appall and instruct in equal measure. And it reveals one of the trade's most important differences: the chasm that exists between horizontal journalism and vertical journalism." (Roy Greenslade, Guardian and Evening Standard columnist and commentator)
" A Dying Breed is a gripping, fast-moving tale of shifting loyalties and creeping betrayal.... Hanington connects the inner-workings and skullduggery of the BBC's London headquarters to the quiet, menacing stillness of the deserts of Central Asia, where the story turns dramatically and violently in a heartbeat and builds to its tempestuous, thrilling conclusion.... A page turner from the first line - and full of insights, some chilling, some hilariously well-observed - into the murky worlds of the war on terror, the secret intelligence services, and the mainstream British news media." (Allan Little, former BBC foreign correspondent and chair of the Edinburgh International Book Festival)

What members say

Average Customer Ratings

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  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars
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A gripping story, I just could not put it away.

Would you recommend this audiobook to a friend? If so, why?

I would recommend this book because it portrays the middle east as a complicated area with cultural and economic aspects that perhaps we westerners are not capable of understanding. We seem arrogant when we try to manage or make what we call improvement to Afghanistan when we have little in common historically,culturally and spiritually.

What was one of the most memorable moments of A Dying Breed?

The Afghanistan Warlord,has a story and a point of view that is understandable, that while it
doesn't make him a sympathetic person or justify his activities, I could see that he too has a
humanity. For example the Warlord was concerned about a young relative that he was helping. When the young man was killed, the Warlord wanted to know how and by whom.

The Americans and English thought that the Warlord had economic issues the Warlord was
trying to advance. The Americans and the English and the Warlord were working at cross purposes.

Have you listened to any of Jonathan Keeble’s other performances before? How does this one compare?

I have heard his name before, but I can't remember anything of his that I have listened to
before. He is excellent.

Was this a book you wanted to listen to all in one sitting?

I had a very difficult tine, setting this book aside,so I get ready for work, sleep or other duties. I still finished it in 2 days.

12 of 12 people found this review helpful

  • Overall
    4 out of 5 stars
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    4 out of 5 stars

A Good Romp with Journalists in Afghanistan. . .

If you like to follow journalists (real or fictionalized) on their adventures around the world, you will enjoy this book. It is set for the most part in Afghanistan and London -- places where journalists ply their trade as troop-embedded witnesses to the longest war in history; and where their bosses make decisions about what makes news while embedded behind ornate desks in big offices. This book has a great deal of horrific brutality in its story; and also provides a glimpse of the lonely life that must be that of journalists sent to cover conflicts in other nations. Lots of alcohol, lots of competition, lots of missed opportunities for relationships, families and ethical purpose.

In all, the characters were very well done and the narration terrific. A good story!

8 of 8 people found this review helpful

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    5 out of 5 stars
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Joseph Conrad and Graham Greene Return

It has been a long time since I read or listened to a novel that conjures a sense of waning Empire (British). The foci of this novel is a not-quite-burntout BBC radio journalist (of the old school). He stumbles upon a plot to extract profit in a war-torn region through nefarious means. Since the plotters are Brits, and he is BBC, there is tension revolving around which side of the politico-economic coin each character resides.

A great deal of classic literature written by Conrad, Greene, W. Somerset Maugham, and George Orwell (Burma years) expose' similar themes. Peter Hanington reawakens our questions about Empire, contemporarily known as "economic interests," by setting us in the heart of a former minor (but failed) jewel in the crown, Afghanistan.

This is not an "in your face" dissertation of capitalism run-amok. It is a story, well-told, of opportunism and malefactors that do the bidding of corporations.

I give this novel two Khyber Rifles up!

14 of 15 people found this review helpful

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Worth the listen

Good story good guys win bad guys lose. Well read story flowed ended as it should

5 of 5 people found this review helpful

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A Dying Breed

Couldn't stop listening. A one-day marathon. In from the beginning.
Exceptional reading performance.
Political thriller in the world of broadcasting.

4 of 4 people found this review helpful

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    5 out of 5 stars
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one of the best recorded books

I have listened to over 100 recorded books and this is one of my new favorites. great story and excellent narration.

4 of 4 people found this review helpful

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Excellent first book : a star is born !

What a pleasure to discover Peter Hannington, a BBC reporter with a talent for story telling with a Le Carre-esque feel to the plot ! This is a fast-moving story of investigative journalists who find themselves in the mist of murders and complex political conspiracies. Set in Afghanistan and London, the book is off to a slow start, but then the plot accelerates in different directions and so do the tension and the reader’s interest. It is very well written with compelling characters and a real insight into the country.
The narration by Jonathan Keeble is outstanding and truly adds value to the story.

3 of 3 people found this review helpful

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  • J
  • 08-31-16

Undying Breed Of Writing

Would you recommend this audiobook to a friend? If so, why?

To a friend who loves the writing of certain authors, this would be like discovering Graham Greene at his best is still with us. Totally unexpected. Despite the many rave reviews for other contemporary writers who work in "spy-espionage-intrigue," I honestly thought writing with this depth of character and love of language was gone. So...to the lover of Greene, Le Carre, and Cruz Smith at their finest, this is for you.

What did you like best about this story?

I like all kinds of stories, but in this, no one was left behind. It was Chekov's Gun done beautifully.

Which character – as performed by Jonathan Keeble – was your favorite?

See my answer above. Every character was believable and loved - as much as we hated them. Jonathan Keeble was perfectly matched to the text. I loved listening. He gave the book a fantastic performance.

Who was the most memorable character of A Dying Breed and why?

William Carver went from despicable to heroic. The rogue Afghan commander was terrifically complex. The housekeeper for the British Embassy... I found them all memorable. I know how that sounds...

Any additional comments?

Two things: when the story became exciting, the narrator became excited and it was sometimes difficult to stay in the narrative dream. Also, the British black ops "villain" was a bit too thinly drawn when compared to all the other characters.
I debated putting up a review for a few weeks, but I find I still feel strongly this is a very remarkable audio book.

7 of 8 people found this review helpful

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Engaging!

A really great listen; engaging, with plenty of characters you could picture in your head while cheering or cursing them.
I felt like this was a good story set in Afghanistan, rather than a mediocre story dressed up in a foreign locale. I look forward to listening to other stories by the author.

6 of 7 people found this review helpful

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worth every penny

A great story filled with complex and compelling characters brought to life by a phenomenal narrator.

2 of 2 people found this review helpful

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  • Diana Brighouse
  • 05-04-17

highly recommended

Excellent narrative, well written with great pace. The narrator's is spot on - the book encouraged me to walk 25k!

3 of 3 people found this review helpful

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  • Simon
  • 04-10-16

Colour Me Authentic

An excellent debut from Peter Hanington. This is a book of gritty realism pitching characters who are built carefully into strong personalities without being imbued with unrealistic talents or capabilities. The main protagonist William Carver is as cynical an old hack as you can imagine. A man who knows the ropes, a solid journalist but with his significant weaknesses too, especially when he's had a few and women are involved! The other characters are likewise built into well-rounded individuals with conflicting motivations and often not quite enough talent to achieve all they would want to. Hanington avoids the usual clichés of having clever young thing trying to outwit older character and vice versa in a joint smugness contest. We've all read far too many of those!

The story is not a sentimental one. It's about how money and politics dominate foreign policy and the behaviour of those in power. However, it's told with what I felt was a genuine and warm affinity to the region and its troubles. I am certainly no expert but throughout the book seemed to ooze authenticity whether it was scenes within the hallowed halls of British institutions like the BBC or the shadowy underworld of Kabul. I particularly enjoyed Baba and his fountain!

The narration by Jonathan Keeble captures the essence of the book with real aplomb. His William Carver is as perfect as I could imagine and he carries the tension and excitement expertly to the book's very satisfying conclusion. His down to earth delivery re-enforces the realism of the characters Hanington has crafted for this story.

This is one of those rare books. It promised a lot and it delivered what it promised. If the description of the story from the publisher appeals to you then I have high confidence you'll enjoy this one.

16 of 20 people found this review helpful

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  • Grumpy Scot
  • 01-01-18

Bravura debut

Excellent first novel. By the end I liked the protagonists and despised the antagonists.

Good pace, believable yarn.

Looking forward to William carter's next outing.

2 of 2 people found this review helpful

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  • jesse scott
  • 09-14-17

First class - hugely enjoyed

Would you listen to A Dying Breed again? Why?

One of the best reads/listens in this genre during the last few years. Intelligent, skilfully written, casting light on the peculiar world of news journalism. Very much looking forward to more from this author.

What other book might you compare A Dying Breed to, and why?

Might appeal to readers of Le Carre, Nicholas Freeling, Massimo Carlotto, Henry Porter.

Was this a book you wanted to listen to all in one sitting?

Yes

2 of 2 people found this review helpful

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  • Sqwalks
  • 06-25-17

Outstanding

What did you like most about A Dying Breed?

The range of characters and how they interacted with each other - using status wit and intelligence.

Who was your favorite character and why?

Rob Mariscal - brilliant - I could just imagine that the BBC has people working for them like that.

Which character – as performed by Jonathan Keeble – was your favourite?

All outstandingly performed.

Was this a book you wanted to listen to all in one sitting?

Yes.

2 of 2 people found this review helpful

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  • P. A. Barbier
  • 06-10-17

good story well narrated.

surprisingly drawn into the story with interesting characters . engaging and well constructed tale and feasible too.

2 of 2 people found this review helpful

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    4 out of 5 stars
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  • Daniel
  • 05-02-17

Great but cut short

Thought the book ended rather abruptly would have liked more into the aftermath. Well worth a listen though

2 of 2 people found this review helpful

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    4 out of 5 stars
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  • Neal Stothard
  • 04-16-17

SLOW BURNER

Well read with easily distinguishable characters. I enjoyed this book more as I got into it. I particularly liked the main character William Carver.

2 of 2 people found this review helpful

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  • Amazon Customer
  • 04-13-17

A mix of politics and journalism

What made the experience of listening to A Dying Breed the most enjoyable?

I enjoyed the stereotyped characterisation of a hackneyed old journalist and his encouragement of the next generation. There was also the old ambassador - another stereotypical characterisation but he was a loveable rogue. I did not like the voice of the lead special forces character - too flash!

What was one of the most memorable moments of A Dying Breed?

The description of the journey taken by the young journalist and his captor through the mountains.

Any additional comments?

Not a riveting listen but an entertaining one. I do not know enough of the history or the politics of this region to say whether it was factual but it made for a good listen.

2 of 2 people found this review helpful

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    4 out of 5 stars
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  • Mr
  • 03-24-17

Solid

Enjoyed the listen - nothing spectacular but certainly a worthwhile purchase.

The book follows an aging investigative journalist who's got on the trail of some corruption in Afghanistan - and there are plenty of people who want to know what William knows or stop him from telling the story.

Has a John Le Carre feel to it and the performance is good.

2 of 2 people found this review helpful