• A Game of Thrones

  • Book 1 of A Song of Ice and Fire
  • By: George R.R. Martin
  • Narrated by: Roy Dotrice
  • Length: 33 hrs and 45 mins
  • 4.6 out of 5 stars (1,681 ratings)

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Publisher's Summary

One of The Times’ 25 Best Audiobooks.

HBO’s hit series A Game of Thrones is based on George R. R. Martin’s internationally best-selling series A Song of Ice and Fire, the greatest fantasy epic of the modern age. A Game of Thrones is the first volume in the series. 

Summers span decades. Winter can last a lifetime. And the struggle for the Iron Throne has begun.

It will stretch from the south, where heat breeds plot, lusts and intrigues, to the vast and savage eastern lands, all the way to the frozen north, where an 800-foot wall of ice protects the kingdom from the dark forces that lie beyond. Kings and queens, knights and renegades, liars, lords and honest men...all will play the Game of Thrones.

Winter is coming....

©2011 George R. R. Martin (P)2011 HarperCollins Publishers Limited

Critic Reviews

" A Game of Thrones grabs hold and won’t let go. It’s brilliant." (Robert Jordan)
"Colossal, staggering... Martin captures all the intoxicating complexity of the Wars of the Roses or Imperial Rome in his imaginary world...one of the greats of fantasy literature." ( SFX)
"Fantasy literature has never shied away from grandeur, but the sheer-mind-boggling scope of this epic has sent other fantasy writers away shaking their heads… Its ambition: to construct the Twelve Caesars of fantasy fiction, with characters so venomous they could eat the Borgias." ( Guardian)

What listeners say about A Game of Thrones

Average Customer Ratings
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    4 out of 5 stars
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    5 out of 5 stars

Great story and performance.

Any additional comments?

This would be a 5-star review, except that Audible has divided the book into 2 parts so that you have to use two tokens to finish the book. The US version of the book is sold in its entirety for a single token.

29 people found this helpful

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    1 out of 5 stars
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    3 out of 5 stars
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    4 out of 5 stars

Australians getting ripped off again?

No one needs me to tell them how good George R. R. Martin's series is. However I did find it disappointing that Australians are forced to buy this book in two parts. The full book is available to other regions so why not for us? It is for this reason I have given the overall rating 1 star. Also if you are coming to the books from the brilliant TV series as I did you may find Roy Dotrice's performance of some characters off-putting as they are so different.

25 people found this helpful

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    5 out of 5 stars
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Brilliant, with a catch.

I thoroughly enjoyed ever minute of this Audio book, the story is very engaging and hooks you in within the first 5 minutes. The narrator however has a very small revenue of voices he is able to lend the characters and it sometimes makes things a tad confusing. Also, and I put this as a caution. THIS IS ONLY ONE HALF OF THE FIRST BOOK. I understand some of you may think this point mute but with all the different versions of the one book on here I accidentally missed this rather obvious situation and proceeded to buy the Second half of the second book and listen to that after finishing this... However props must be given to the Author because despite this I managed to piece the important bits that I missed together, which is about a years worth of information.

Anyway I hope this helps in your decision to purchase this truly wonderful book.

Regards,
Jeremiah.

16 people found this helpful

  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars

A feast of a tale faithfully narrated

I have read every volume of this saga published to date and watched the DVD - this audible edition is a marvellous rendition of a great tale and Roy Dotrice does an excellent job with the huge range of characters. He is especially good with the male characters and has a good range of voices for them. I respect the fact that he does not try to be the female characters, choosing instead to rely on the author's drawing of the character rendered in the narrator's voice. This is far more effective, for me, than trying to be what he is not. I am working my way through the audible editions of each volume and am sure I will revisit them more than once. George R R Martin's imagination is rich and powerful; he has provided a feast for his fans. Roy Dotrice has enhanced my enjoyment enormously.

8 people found this helpful

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Many late nights because I just couldn't stop...

Any additional comments?

A Game Of Thrones absolutely lived up to expectations and after HBO picking it up to do their most expensive series yet why wouldn't it. However, it was Roy Dotrice who really brought this book to life for me. His narration is smooth and lively, painting the world of Westeros in vivid colour and depth. Having an individual voice for each character was unexpected but welcomed giving another layer to each personality. I think my boyfriend is glad I've finished the series (for now) because he can have his girlfriend back. I can't wait for the next book in the series but more so I can't wait to here more from Roy Dotrice.

6 people found this helpful

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    5 out of 5 stars
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Almost Flawless

What did you love best about A Game of Thrones (Part One)?

The novel is a favourite, but this talking book is really exceptional. The narrater is the master of voices and accents. Tyrion as a Welshman is masterful, and after listening enthralled through this I found one tiny flaw: Occasionally Roy forgets to step out of a characterisation when reading the narrative. Other than that I would call his performance flawless, and entirely in keeping with the quality of the storytelling.

What was one of the most memorable moments of A Game of Thrones (Part One)?

The most memorable moment was when Tyrion first spoke. I'd always pegged him as being frightfully plummy, like Roy's version of Littlefinger, but the accent and voice used were a delightful surprise, and now work for me. I'm rereading the text of another book in the series, and now am very happy to hear Tyrion as Welsh in my head.

What about Roy Dotrice’s performance did you like?

His eclectic and diverse range of both voice and accent stands out. He's got a vast array of distinct characters nailed down in a masterful way. He's very impressive.

If you were to make a film of this book, what would be the tag line be?

Your move

Any additional comments?

Even if you haven't read the Ice & Fire series (shame on you) I recommend this audio book. It's like watching a movie, with a cast of hundreds, with your eyes closed.

6 people found this helpful

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    4 out of 5 stars
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A Feast for the Ears

What did you love best about A Game of Thrones (Part One)?

One of the best thing about reading novels is the ability to create your interpretation of the world in question, to flavour the characters beyond the story itself, or the words on the page. When books get adapted to film, the characters are presented in a very stark way (so that people complain

What was one of the most memorable moments of A Game of Thrones (Part One)?

Not going to give away spoilers here, but the first few times Roy Dotrice went from regal narrator to guttermouth were pretty memorable to me! :P

What about Roy Dotrice’s performance did you like?

Dotrice has a talent of providing each character with their own unique voice - not a mean feat in a novel that has more antagonists than a YouTube comment section! It may be a slight lisp, or a throaty chuckle, but the variances in Dotrice's voice allow each character their own identity.

5 people found this helpful

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    3 out of 5 stars
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Ros

I did not like the narration of this book; it was a struggle to get through the first book. So much so that I am going to read instead of listen to the rest of the series. Everyone sounds old, aggressive, lecherous or feeble minded.

5 people found this helpful

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    5 out of 5 stars
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Stories epic in scale and detail

What did you love best about A Game of Thrones (Part One)?

There are so many great characters. It is too difficult to choose just one. One of the most amazing things about this author is that he treats the characters realistically. As a result, it is very difficult to predict what will happen to them

What did you like best about this story?

See above

Which character – as performed by Roy Dotrice – was your favorite?

They were all done well.

Was there a moment in the book that particularly moved you?

When Lord Eddard died. From that point I knew that realism took priority over sentimentality. It makes reading the series so much more interesting.

3 people found this helpful

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    2 out of 5 stars
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dull

What didn’t you like about Roy Dotrice’s performance?

Roy Dotrice makes this a very dull listen, which is unfortunate because its a great story.

2 people found this helpful

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  • Thomas
  • 09-01-11

Brilliant, but...

A fantastic book and well worth it, however a bit of a con from Audible to split it into two parts, (needing to pay for each). It is only one book and should be sold as such. It is on iTunes and works out as cheaper there! Wish I'd noticed that earlier.

500 people found this helpful

  • Overall
    3 out of 5 stars
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  • Captain Wentworth
  • 06-10-12

Great Story, Difficult Narration

I actually own the paperbacks to A Song of Ice and Fire. And I re-bought the entire series as eBooks for my Kindle. The I purchased the Season 1 DVDs for A Game of Thrones. And the Graphic Novel (Part I). So take it as read that I'm familiar with the books, the story, George R R Martin's writing style, and the cast of thousands that populate Westeros and the lands across the Narrow Sea.

As you might surmise, I love the story. Unfortunately, this audiobook was a struggle to listen to because I just couldn't get on with the narration. Leaving aside the characterisation, for a moment, Roy Dotrice has this bizarre habit of pausing... mid-sentence so you're not sure if the sentence is finished... or if there's another portion... to come. At some points, these pauses almost change the sense of what's being said, and you find yourself having to mentally re-wind to re-phrase the words in your head to get the proper meaning.

In a similar vein - just concerning the narration rather than the characterisation - at some points the narrator's choice of tone doesn't jibe with my own interpretation of the story's tone; the first time we hear the Stark's motto, '"Winter is Coming", we're given it in almost upbeat fashion, rather than the heavy, almost portentous phrase that I have in my head.

However, my biggest obstacle with the narration was the characters' voicings; to be fair, the book has a cast of thousands (probably literally, although I haven't counted), and it would be impossible to form a distinct voice for every single person. But characters frequently sound much older than written (Theon Greyjoy, for example), the cod-Irish accent deployed for some characters is almost unlistentable, and, most disappointingly, Tyrion's accent changes mid tale, from Lancastrian to something that oscillates between Welsh and Irish.

It's a hard job, and I wish Mr Dotrice no ill, but I would've liked to hear Steven Pacey's reading of this instead.

353 people found this helpful

  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars
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  • Qasim
  • 09-16-11

A truly brilliant fantasy novel

A Game of Thrones is one of the most enjoyable books I've listened to in years so much so I completed it very quickly. Without giving any of the story away, it's worth pointing out that the plot can initially be a little confusing as it switches between different characters but as the book progresses you soon gain a greater understanding of the world that the author has created. Another point is that the storyline may seem slow at first but this is essential so as to establish the characters and set the scene, for not just the rest of the book but the rest of the series. And once it gets going, believe me, it really does get going.

Now for a word on the narrator. If you consider the number of different characters there are in this story, and how he has to make them all slightly different to distinguish them for the listener, I think he does an outstanding job. Of course it's natural you won't like all of his characterizations but his ability as a narrator really fits the the story and brings it to life.

This novel is well crafted full twists and intrigue. I cannot enthuse enough about how good this book is and encourage everyone to download it and enjoy this epic story.

191 people found this helpful

  • Overall
    3 out of 5 stars
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  • Barbara
  • 04-30-12

Frustrating Narrator

Loved the story, but got really frustrated with the narrator, which is very distracting in an audio book. Everyone sounded drunk and weak. Decided to read the rest myself and am enjoying them a whole load more.

76 people found this helpful

  • Overall
    2 out of 5 stars
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  • Maria
  • 07-17-11

Narrator not very engaging and difficult to follow

I loved the series and have the books but due to time constraints I decided to download the audio to listen to on my laptop or Android as opposed to hauling a huge book around. However, I found the voice of the narrator was not at all what I expecting. I decided to change my thought process and remember the author may sound similar to the narrator age wise and as such I should just get used to it and try to think of it as how the author would have foreseen the story in his minds eye. An hour in and I still find it monotonous... it is like listening to someone reading aloud in a chair over the other side of the room and you just want to tell them to read in their head. That may sound harse but it is truly how I am finding this narration.

I find it very difficult to picture what he is describing let alone which characters voice he is portraying and can't remember anything he has said which should be remembered for later on in the series as reference material. I'm not getting swept up in the storyline or characters as I do when reading it myself. As such I am going to go back to carrying around a big book and deleting the audio.

It may be ideal for some of you but for me... I just don't find the voice of the narrator engaging or suited to this series.

66 people found this helpful

  • Overall
    1 out of 5 stars
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    1 out of 5 stars
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    3 out of 5 stars
Profile Image for Nathan Berry
  • Nathan Berry
  • 05-22-15

Review - book one

Great story, but the man narrating the book doesn't suit the role, his voice isn't right.

61 people found this helpful

  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars
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  • William
  • 09-27-11

An unexpected surprise

I am new to audible books, and value peoples reviews. I was nearly put off A Game of Thrones, by some poor reviews. I actually like Roy Dotrice, and find his style suits me. It has probably helped that I have seen the first series of the HBO TV production and got to know the characters. I am enjoying the extra detail and background of the characters, which the TV series skated over. I will certainly be purchasing the next instalment of this book and hope to finish it before the next TV series.

59 people found this helpful

  • Overall
    4 out of 5 stars
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  • Amazon Customer
  • 05-30-12

I was really enjoying it up to the point when

Tyrion Lannisters accent changes from Yorkshire to Welsh, I actually like Dotrices narration its like being told a story by an old man around a villages community fire, but a story teller needs to be more aware of his use of accents. What I think actually happened is Dotrice read the rest of the book and saw that Tyrion Lannister became a hero rather than a Rumpelstiltskin character, he couldn't become the hand of Gofrey and talk like a Clegg from last of the summer wine.

58 people found this helpful

  • Overall
    1 out of 5 stars
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  • Cross Stitcher
  • 04-30-12

I'm sorry Mr Dotrice

I wish I had listened to a sample first, and then I would have avoided downloading this. I'm sorry Mr Dotrice, but your narration did nothing for me - except to convince me to buy the book and read it for myself. My fault, I will not make the same mistake in future. The story sounded wonderful, but after a couple of hours I became so distracted and frustrated with the narration, that I deleted it from my iPod. It may work for you, try the sample.

53 people found this helpful

  • Overall
    3 out of 5 stars
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  • Paul
  • 07-24-11

Personally I liked Dotrice.... but...

Unless I'm hugely mistaken only half of the book itself has been uploaded for sale. (yes, I know it's split into two parts but the second part ends with 'you have reached the end of a download but not of the book' message and, having asked friends, they've said the two parts of the audiobook only get to 2/3rds of the book itself. No answer from audible twitter on what the score is. Maybe there's another part to be uploaded later? Who knows.

Anyhow: I liked the narrator but found it similarly hard to work out who was who etc. I put it down to the naming convention in the book itself, I was enjoying what I was listening to anyhow...

42 people found this helpful

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  • Steven
  • 01-30-14

Story is amazing. Narrator is not.

Would you try another book written by George R. R. Martin or narrated by Roy Dotrice?

Yes I would try another George R.R. Martin Book.
No chance in any lifetime i'd listen to another thing narrated by Roy Dotrice,

How could the performance have been better?

Lack of emphasis sometimes makes it seem that the performer stopped mid sentence. The voices are so similar and Roy's apparent disdain for a slight pause between dialogue can seem like a character is delusional asking and answering questions to themselves.

A more theatrical reading would have been lovely.

120 people found this helpful

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    5 out of 5 stars
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  • Jacquie Jackman
  • 01-20-19

Narrator ruins a brilliant story

The narration is so dreadful that I’m intending on buying the physical book to read. Doltrice mispronounces names throughout (for example Bran “Brian”). The voices he puts on for characters is totally wrong and very grating to listen to. Tyrion Lannister is given a squeaky, high pitched, low born accent. Jaime and Cersei have posh accents. Tyrion is their brother so why does he speak like a fish monger? The moment Tyrion slaps Joffrey should be one the most deliciously funny and satisfying parts of the story, but Doltrice sucks all the fun and wit out of it. His line delivery in general is very jarring. What should be compelling descriptions and clever dialogue, is read in a way that makes them sound flat and dreary. I sincerely hope someone else records this marvellous series. I found myself focusing on the awful narration, contemplating who would do a better job- and losing track of the story itself. Sir Ian McKellan or Peter Dinklage- anyone would be a better choice than Roy Doltrice. Story 10/10. Narrator 0/10.

56 people found this helpful

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    4 out of 5 stars
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    2 out of 5 stars
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    5 out of 5 stars
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  • Mitchell T.
  • 05-08-16

Excellent book, bad narrator...

As stated in the title, the book is excellent but it is plagued by a bad narrator.

55 people found this helpful

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    5 out of 5 stars
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    3 out of 5 stars
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    5 out of 5 stars
Profile Image for Dan Bowen
  • Dan Bowen
  • 09-29-14

Utterly compelling story, flawed narration

Any additional comments?

Was ever there a story with such a vast and rich array of characters and sub-plots? I can't think of one off-hand. Like many others I came to A Song of Ice and Fire from the HBO TV series and I haven't been disappointed in audiobook format as it's just such a wonderful tale. Unfortunately the narration here is not the best. It's not so much the narration as the acting, if Roy Dotrice was just to read straight from the page his voice is fine. However when he embodies the characters (which is what is required after all) his voices are often tedious and the weird choices to add a Welsh or Irish twang to the accent of some characters is frankly just odd, especially when direct family members have completely different accents. That said it is not a big enough problem to ruin my enjoyment overall and the quandary I find myself in now is do I go beyond the TV series or wait patiently for it to catch up? I'll make that decision when I catch up myself, for now it's on to Part 2 of this book and then A Clash of Kings awaits!

38 people found this helpful

  • Overall
    3 out of 5 stars
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    2 out of 5 stars
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    4 out of 5 stars
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  • Jade
  • 02-27-14

Good Story - Unbearable Narration

Would you recommend this book to a friend? Why or why not?

I would recommend the book, but not the audio version. I found Roy Dotrice tried to hard to vary the characters accents, to the point where it actually diminished the story because at times I was struggling to understand what the hell he was saying. There's one part - in book 3 I believe - where he puts on such a thick accent, I had no idea what he was saying and it really frustrated me. Also, siblings who grow up and live in the same place together, should have similar accents - not completely different ones like he did with the Lannisters and a few other people.

Would you be willing to try another one of Roy Dotrice’s performances?

No. My experience with his GoT performance was horrible. I had to rewind several parts to figure out what was being said, and even then sometimes I didn't get it. I listen to books to relax, I don't like having to constantly rewind because the performer can't keep the words in understandable english.

I have listened to other performers who varied the accents successfully, but that's because they didn't do it so over the top, and it was still clear and understandable.

If this book were a film would you go see it?

Yes, I love the TV show, it is amazing and they stick quite close to the books - if a little out of order at times, but they have done an absolutely fantastic job with the show.

29 people found this helpful

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    5 out of 5 stars
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    5 out of 5 stars
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    5 out of 5 stars
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  • Kerri
  • 08-18-14

Swords and intrigue to the hilt

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

This is a wonderful escape from humdrum traffic and random telemarketers. I stuck my headphones on and spent hours in battles, in bedchambers and in draughty castles, listening to plans and plots and enjoying the way the character's stories complemented each other.

What was one of the most memorable moments of A Game of Thrones (Part One)?

I love the descriptions of things and when John and The Imp are on top of the world I could feel the cold in my bones and the dread from the unknown.

What about Roy Dotrice’s performance did you like?

It's like listening to my dad read me a bedtime story, including character voices.

Was there a moment in the book that particularly moved you?

I deeply sympathised with John. He lost more than he gained, and when he is alone in Castle Black he understands how much blood ties mean.

24 people found this helpful

  • Overall
    3 out of 5 stars
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    1 out of 5 stars
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    5 out of 5 stars
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  • Anonymous User
  • 07-18-18

Narrator

The narrator is horrible, his character voices are the same and quite irritating. The story is wonderful, but ruined by him.

15 people found this helpful

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    5 out of 5 stars
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    4 out of 5 stars
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    5 out of 5 stars
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  • Teena
  • 06-25-15

Love it love it love it!!

Such a brilliant story, great to listen to it, I know a few other reviews said the narration wasn't the best but I appreciated the different voices it helped me keep track of who was who

13 people found this helpful

  • Overall
    1 out of 5 stars
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  • Anonymous User
  • 04-11-18

terrible narrator

The narrator was awful. I couldn't even get thru the first chapter!
wish I could get my credit back!!!

11 people found this helpful

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    5 out of 5 stars
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    5 out of 5 stars
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    5 out of 5 stars
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  • Anonymous User
  • 05-16-18

I loved it very well done!

it was a brilliant story, so well told. It has just the right amount of detail without becoming tedious

9 people found this helpful