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Publisher's Summary

"If you wish for peace, prepare for war." (Royal Navy Motto)

Seventy years ago, the interstellar supercarrier Ark Royal was the pride of the Royal Navy. But now, her weapons are outdated and her solid-state armour nothing more than a burden on her colossal hull. She floats in permanent orbit near Earth, a dumping ground for the officers and crew the Royal Navy wishes to keep out of the public eye. But when a deadly alien threat appears, the modern starships built by humanity are no match for the powerful alien weapons. Ark Royal and her mismatched crew must go on the offensive, buying time with their lives And yet, with a drunkard for a Captain, an over-ambitious first officer and a crew composed of reservists and the dregs of the service, do they have even the faintest hope of surviving....

And returning to an Earth which may no longer be there?

©2014 Christopher G. Nuttall (P)2014 Audible Inc.

What members say

Average Customer Ratings

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  • 4 out of 5 stars
  • 5 Stars
    1,449
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    1,734
  • 3 Stars
    821
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    228
  • 1 Stars
    88

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  • 4 Stars
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    625
  • 2 Stars
    174
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    86

Story

  • 4 out of 5 stars
  • 5 Stars
    1,347
  • 4 Stars
    1,554
  • 3 Stars
    769
  • 2 Stars
    242
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    107
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  • Overall
    4 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    3 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    4 out of 5 stars

A good solid effort at a Space Opera

I'm a retired USAF officer from Texas, and life long fan of the Royal Navy. I even had the happiness of serving (on land) with the Royal Navy a number of times during my Air Force career while stationed in England.

I even instructed for a month on board 'HMS Dryad', which is of course a land based training school, not a ship at all. But I was always tickled by the RN practice of calling their land bases 'ships'.

I've read all the classic RN 'age of sail' novels. I was excited when this book showed up on Audible.

The good news first: It's an interesting story with some fun twists. I grew to care about the characters. In fact, I knew military officers who had all of the problems that plague the characters in this book.

The well connected up and coming candidate angling to replace the older Captain of the Ark Royal was very realistic. In the USAF we called that kind of officer a 'fast burner'. I bet every military has them, including this future RN.

Good officers with drinking problems are very common, Nuttall scored a direct hit with this character.

The mid-grade officer whose marriage is threatened by long deployments is very common, and very heartbreaking!

I liked the way Nuttall handled his aliens. Unlike almost every other SciFi space war novel, these aliens don't want to talk to us. Very probably they can't talk to us, they may not even have the concept of 'talking' as far as the characters and readers know.

For some reason the aliens want to kill us and break our stuff. Why? What the heck are they after?

Sometimes the aliens seem much smarter than us, but then they'll do something that to us seems stupid. Why? Nuttall's aliens are much less of an actor in a rubber suit than most SciFi aliens. Are they devilishly clever or what?

I like Nuttall's aliens, they were very interesting.

The things the other reviewers complain about are all there.

I got really sick of 'gave them a bloody nose'! I kept saying 'forget giving them a bloody nose, they are fish! Gut them"!

Some of the conversations were pretty disjointed by the inserted mental self-dialogs.

It's tiring working on a ship. It's been tiring working on a ship since the first caveman hollowed out a log and rowed across a lake! In Nelson's time ships crews worked four hours on four hours off for years at a time! And they didn't even have sleep machines! Enough about being tired. Man up, space squids!!!!

It bothered me that the RN fighter squadrons of the future are commanded by 'Wing Commanders'. The RN does not have a rank or position of 'Wing Commander'. The RAF does, and for a while I thought that the Ark Royal's air detachment was in fact from the RAF.

I'm pretty sure that a typical RN fighter squadron is commanded by a person with the rank of 'Commander', or perhaps 'Lt Commander'.

That kind of bothered me.

I was disappointed in the narration. The RN officers I knew did not grunt like constipated old men, and they never shouted at each other. I've never sailed with the RN, but I really got the impression that the RN officer corps personifies the very reserved, dignified British gentleman's manner of speech. RN veterans please correct me if I'm wrong about this.

I can say for certain that RN officers are much less demonstrative than USAF officers from Texas! At least when they are sober. ;)

Britten has dozens and dozens of regional and class accents, and the Brits are very accent conscious. The narrator had only his own accent, his attempts to replicate other class and regional accents sounded very forced.

I came to overlook Mr. Nuttall's and Mr. Lister's little quirks because I wanted to see what was going to happen next! Isn't that what makes a good story?

If you liked 'Battle Star Galactica' and/or 'Master and Commander' you very well may like 'Ark Royal'!

EPILOGUE: I just finished volume two of this series, 'The Nelson Touch'. I'll review it separately, but you should know that the second volume is better edited, and has a tighter and more clever storyline. The narrator does a better job as well.

I'm looking forward to the third volume in this series.

90 of 99 people found this review helpful

  • Overall
    3 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    3 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    3 out of 5 stars
  • Lore
  • SAN JOSE, CA, United States
  • 05-16-15

3.5 stars with upside for the rest of the series

Ark Royal was an odd listen for me. The story itself is nothing all that original for a sci-fi novel and the characters are rather stereotypical: washed up Captain with a drinking problem, misfit crew of less desirables, ambitious XO that wants the big chair, etc. Nuttall's writing is a little on the dry side and Lister's narration matched it well. So as the hours passed by I was forming a solid "meh" opinion on this one. Then something subtly changed and I started to care. I found myself rooting for the underdogs and wanting to know what happened next. When things got bleak I found myself pondering how the crew of Ark Royal was going to make it out alive. And frankly, that's why I listen to audiobooks.

Ark Royal and her crew are the laughing stocks of the Royal Space Navy. 70 years old and more museum than active carrier, the old lady is parked in orbit around Earth full time. Her systems are out of date and her crew cobbles together whatever leftovers they can to keep her functional. She is also the dumping ground for Royal Navy personnel that have screwed up elsewhere. All of that changes in an instant when an unknown alien race arrives and cuts through the modern ships in the human Space Navies like a hot knife through butter.

Ark Royal has two distinct advantages over the modern ships - she is heavily armored and she still uses mass drivers for weapons, both of which turn out to be effective against the alien threat. Now her Captain and crew find a chance to redeem themselves and be more than the dregs of the fleet. None of this is overly original but in the end it was enough to get me interested and I have already started book 2.

If you are looking for some standard, solid military sci-fi and are willing to tolerate a little dryness in the story then give Ark Royal a chance - I am glad I did.

11 of 12 people found this review helpful

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

Riveting military sci-fi

Nuttall's Ark Royal begins a story arc set in the 23rd century after development of faster than light drives that allow Earth to populate near space. Quite unexpectedly a previously unknown alien race begins attacking outer settlements. With no means of dialogue, Earth learns that their technology is deficient, but an older warship (Ark Royal) is the only vessel that can put up a fight. While Earth attempts to retool, Ark Royal and her cadre of misfits and forgotten, go above and beyond to take the battle to superior forces.

The geopolitical organization of Earth is preserved with each major nation having established their own planetary colonies. England still has a king as well as a well bred aristocracy. Ark Royal is a starship carrier that has been mothballed and maintained barely functioning with a skeleton ragtag crew including a former alcoholic for a captain. Everyone rises to the occasion through a thrilling series of battles that takes place on both the grand scale and the personal. The sci-fi elements are routine with faster than light drive accomplished by "tram" lines in space that a special engine can access. Space weapons are straightforward and unimaginative.

The narration is well done with an excellent range of voices along with a smooth delivery, regardless of action. This is a very enjoyable listen with a classic theme rendered in a futuristic timeframe.

34 of 40 people found this review helpful

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

Real human beings in space

When I finished this book I wondered why I enjoyed it so much. There are none of those common sci-fi gimmicks - no time travel, no super heros, no mind control, no super computers bent on wrecking havoc on the world. Instead what we have is a group of normal men and women assigned to an aging and obsolescent space ship who are thrust into the breach to try to hit back at an alien invasion. All of the characters are flawed in one way or another, one an alcoholic old Captain, one a promotion seeking aristocrat, one a reserve flying office with a dysfunctional family and so on. Basically a cross-section of humanity - real people with real problems.

And that seems to be the key to what makes this book so engrossing. The character development in this book is just wonderful. All of the characters are fighting their own real-life demons and trying to function as a crew, trying to devise a strategy to defeat the aliens or, at least, to come home alive. This story, of people and how they are dealing with life and death decisions, makes this book so engrossing that when I finished I regretted that I did not already have the second volume to continue the story.

The author is British, the ship and crew are British, as is the narrator and his performance is the only issue I had with this book. While the narrator’s voice is relatively easy to understand he has a tendency to raise and lower his speaking voice enough that I found the volume had to be relatively high to hear parts of the book while other parts, sometimes only separated by a couple of seconds, were then too loud to hear comfortably without the volume being turned back down. So, great book, good, but not great, narration. Now, on to part 2 …

14 of 17 people found this review helpful

  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    5 out of 5 stars

TWO (!!) audiobooks this year get SIX stars

In the past I have suggested that every Audible.com subscriber who listens to more than 50 books per year should be allowed to award a SIXTH STAR just once per year. Sort of a frequent flyer club for hardcore listeners. This year would be hard -- I would have to give out two, and they could not be more different books. Silkworm, a detective novel by J.K. Rowling (writing under the pseudonym Robert Galbraith) and the military sci-fi story Ark Royal by Christopher Nuttall, a Brit living in Malaysia.

First, both remind me that these are audiobooks, and that involves either a reading or a performance of the book. These are performances. I have told everyone I recommend these books to make sure to listen to them rather than read. The performances are wonderful. There are a dozen books I've listened to where the narration makes the book even more......these go on that list.

Second, both are excellent writers staying within the bounds of their genre. Rowling is like a vacuum cleaner -- it is as though she read every single detective procedural from 1920 to present and decided to write the best one of that school. (One reviewer criticizes her for not using the "Harry Potter" imagination -- but that totally misses the point of what she has done.) It is not derivative, it is just really proficient. Similarly, Nuttall writes the quintessential military space opera. He does not try to go outside of the genre or beyond it.

Third, in both cases I feel sad that character development, language and sly intelligence are so sadly missing in many books. When I read these two, I realize how much you miss that when its not there. I won't give away either plot -- but I hope you take the time to listen to these as they are fun, interesting, smart and satisfying.

Finally, I know.....it is only July. But I feel pretty sure that these won't be topped this year, although there is a second book following Ark Royal.

72 of 92 people found this review helpful

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

Not bad!

The Book has a "BattleStar Galactica" theme to it, but the story is told from a "British Royal Navy" viewpoint, which I actually liked a lot. We're used to "The USA Leading The Way", and in this tale the British Navy leads the effort using a Mothballed "Space Carrier Fleet" that was thought to be obsolete due to it's thick Metal Armor (Rather than the Newer "Force Armor" used by all of the Earth's Various Countries in their Modern Carriers and War Ships)... Same for the Old Ship's "Obsolete Solid Projectile Weapons". When the Aliens show up, they are pretty equal to Earth's Forces in Technology, and they are ready to easily defeat the Earth's Newest Technology, but they have NO experience with Ballistic Projectiles, and Thick Steel Armor that doesn't fail when electronic circuits in a ship are fried by Pulse Weapons and/or EMP devices...

This story COULD have easily been unbelievable and cheesy, but Mr. Nuttal does an EXCELLENT job keeping the story believable, fresh, and moving along at a good pace. History buffs will enjoy seeing some famous "British Wet Navy Tactics" used for Space Warfare by the Captain of the old Carrier. I also liked the Dry British Humor, and classic understatements when discussing actions and events.

Let me also say that Ralph Lister does an EXCELLENT job Narrating the book... He just NAILS the accents, and droll humor, perfectly! He sounds like he really enjoys reading this book, which always makes a book flow MUCH better overall. I HAD to give Mr. Lister 5 Stars for his Narration!

I think I especially like the fact that there are no "Miracles" to save the old Ship.. Just a Captain doing the best he can, with what he's got, and knowing his ship so thoroughly that he can use it's MANY quirks to his advantage when the fighting starts. He depends on his subordinates to do THEIR jobs, and to train the Rookies each time they get new personnel on-board.

I'm currently about half way through Book 2, and am enjoying it also!

33 of 42 people found this review helpful

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

Uninteresting and unscientific. Not recommended.

This book has the common issue of authors who can't do simple maths or don't think their readers can do simple maths. If a projectile is fired at a substantial proportion of the speed of light, and has a two and a half hour flight time to its target then the fighters that launch from that target are not going to arrive in a few minutes. There's no coherent fake world under this SciFi and that makes it ArtFi, not SciFi. I don't mind having impossible capabilities, that's why I read SciFi, but it has to be a consistent world or it grates.

What is with the sexist garbage? Why are we going on about how pretty the female officers are? Why is the female midshipman called a midshipwoman? Why is she bringing in the coffee and cleaning away the empties? Navies have people for that, they are called stewards, and they don't call the females stewardesses just like they don't have captainesses or leutenantettes. But most especially, even a _female_ junior officer does not do scut work.

And so to the story. If you are expecting anything in the way of tactics or realism you need to look somewhere else. The protagonists are stupid and facile. The author appears to think that computing will end at a 1990s level, no expect systems, none of the capabilities we are starting to take for granted in cell phones, and this is set in the future.

The reading is pretty good, there's not a huge variation in accents, and the Scottish accent is amusingly bad when you consider the author is from Edinburgh.

And by the way Jock (the author is a Scott). It is The Royal Navy... all capitals. It was and will always be the first Royal Navy so that is its proper name, it is not the British Navy. Sometimes you write like a yank, is that deliberate?

9 of 11 people found this review helpful

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

If you like BV Larson, you will probably like this

If you could sum up Ark Royal in three words, what would they be?

Great book premise!!

What did you like best about this story?

The characters were believable, and the story was sound and kept my attention. I can't wait for the next book.

Any additional comments?

I have already listened to the second book and looking forward to the third books arrival next month.

9 of 11 people found this review helpful

  • Overall
    3 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    4 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    3 out of 5 stars
  • Jean
  • Santa Cruz, CA, United States
  • 09-10-14

suspenseful

This is book one in a trilogy about the Royal Navy in the future. The Ark Royal is a space cruiser ready for the junkyard with a Captain that is a drunk and a crew of misfits. This is a military Sci-Fi or some people call it a space opera based around old technology and a problematic crew.

The old obsolete RN space cruiser is pushed into action against an alien menace. Nuttall does a good job of building up the back story to his characters (of course, he will have three books to work with). The author introduces some twists-one of the crew is a British Prince, lots of relationship between the crew. The description of the aliens and their culture is slow to start unveiling which adds to the suspense.

I noted in the space battles they are blasting away at each other up close with guns. That went out with World War II so I do not find that very realistic. Nuttall should read Jack Campbell or David Weber both are suburb with battle scene. The book needs more editing, too much repetition, the technology and space combat tactic need to be made more plausible. The plotting is good, the characters interaction is good and the story carries the day. There is a lot of potential but the book needs a good editor and a rewrite to clean it up a bit. For a first book the author did a good job and is worth reading more of in the future. Ralph Lister did a good job narrating the story.

12 of 15 people found this review helpful

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

Couldn't finish it

Having enjoyed Battlestar Galactica, I get the basic idea. This old boat's got what it takes. This old man's got the right stuff. So I tried. I really tried. Several times. It's not bad, but this book simply didn't hold my attention. Maybe I will try again later. For now, I am going to return to Joel Shepherd's Spiral Wars series.

There is too much internal monologue, not enough dialogue, besides giving military commands, and the occasional conversation. The commodore thinks about having a drink too often (we get it, he's got a problem) and the chief fighter pilot (CAG) thinks about his family problems, including a self-centered wife. He thinks about a brothel. All this stifled the actual plot. Ya know? KIller Aliens? But instead of aliens, the plot gets reporters. Embedded reporters. As if that would matter, when the entire planet / solar system is at risk. Felt false, to me.

The main characters think about the aliens -- internal rumination again -- but they rarely discuss them. When they do, the interchange doesn't feel vivid.

I like James Chesterfield and Charles Pernel.

Lots of people like this book, so maybe it's me. But I did try.

2 of 2 people found this review helpful

Sort by:
  • Overall
    3 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    2 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    3 out of 5 stars
  • George
  • 07-27-14

A reasanbly good yarn, not very well read

Any additional comments?

When you read the publishers blurb, you might be forgiven for thinking that this looks like a cross between Battlestar Gallactica and David Feintuch's "Seafort" space navy saga (Midshipman's Hope, etc). Having finished the book, you might well, as I did, still think the same.

The story is not bad, but, for me, there is not nearly enough world-building. It is set in a future earth where individual countries are building national space navies, colonizing planets and fighting interstellar wars against other countries. How we get from where we are now to that stage is not well explained.

Also not well enough explained is the central opening plot theme, where humanity’s navies suddenly decide move away from heavily-armoured naval space ships and certain types of weapons. I was still wondering why at the end of the story. Battlestar Gallactica handled that better.

I am afraid that the narration is poor. Ralph Lister has a tendency to read the prose in bursts, with his … pauses often not tieing … in with the natural … flow of the sentence.

As for dialogue, I sort of got the feeling that he has never actually heard two people having a normal conversation. Most of his characters address each other as if they were sergeant-majors on a parade ground, which is a little off putting. He does try to do different voices for different characters, but as they all bellow urgently at each other 90% of the time – even during the romantic bits – they do tend to start blending together indistinguishably.

It’s not horrid to listen to, but it shatters the illusion in a somewhat annoying way – especially when you start listening out for it.

I am going to listen to the next one in this series, but I have to say that, based on this performance, seeing Ralph Lister’s name as narrator in the future is likely to make me pass over books that I might otherwise have tried.

29 of 29 people found this review helpful

  • Overall
    4 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    3 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    4 out of 5 stars
  • P. D. Smith
  • 09-06-14

Not bad

I'm actually enjoying the story, and I will probably get the sequels. It's quite enjoyable in itself.

The problems are:

- Ralph Lister's narration is absolutely fine - when he's reading the descriptive text. However, when he starts acting as the characters it all goes wrong. and he .. talks .. like .. this. He annunciates every word precisely, rather than as people actually talk. It's strange because he reads the rest of the book absolutely fine.

- I've been spoiled by Jack Campbell's Lost Fleet books. In those, he shows us the vastness of space, and the problems that combat in that environment would have. In Ark Royal, it's a bit more Star Wars-y, and space is very small. So, their ship jumps into a star system, and they get immediate communication from the planets asking who they are. Then, a bit later, an enemy ship arrives from a different direction, and a few minutes later they're in combat. Either they've discovered a way to have FTL travel, sensors and communication within a star system, or space has shrunk a bit.

- Also, there's a few scientific impossibilities (ignoring the normal Sci-fi ones, like FTL travel, etc) - eg the ship was 'orbiting a beacon' - that just can't work, unless the beacon is HUGE.

Apart from those little annoyances, it's not that bad a book. It could do with a bit of editing, and the voice acting is annoying, but, to me, the story's good enough to override that.

15 of 15 people found this review helpful

  • Overall
    2 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    1 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    3 out of 5 stars
  • Matt Carter
  • 12-06-15

Nobody talks like this. I repeat...

This story so nearly makes it, but not quite. Perhaps this is how we will all speak in the future, characters seem to shout and bark conversations at each other quite unnecessarily. The cliches flow abundantly and some of the action is quite irrational.

You can play "other scifi bingo" with it though. Spot the references to Galactica, Star Trek and others. Then there is the strange attempt at justifying unfaithfulness, which is so unconvincing you can sense the author giving up on that as a bad job and moving the story onwards.

So what is good about this book? It is the first of a series that will hopefully, probably, get better. The alien-ness of the aliens is maintained throughout the story which makes me want to discover more. The premise of the story is strong enough and the threat to humanity plausible enough to keep me interested. However, where I lose it is that I really don't care about any of the characters and so by the end of the story if they sail off over the galactic horizon good luck to them. This could be due to the bland characterization created by the narrator.

And here is probably the real problem. The dialogue is frequently weak, so it doesn't give Ralph Lister a lot to work with, but the vocal distinction between characters is also not good. Frequently I wasn't sure which character I was listening to and eventually I didn't care.

11 of 11 people found this review helpful

  • Overall
    2 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    2 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    2 out of 5 stars
  • Andrew John Rae
  • 07-24-14

Average story - very poor reading performance

I was excited by the idea of this story, but the implementation is fairly poor. It can't make up its mind if it is a first-contact mystery, a space-opera, or a character-development drama. As a result we have cookie-cutter characters spending paragraphs speculating about the nature and intention of vague aliens in between unexciting battles.

The central story - an aged carrier called into service as humanity's last hope - is sabotaged by two plot devices that bring it about. For no particularly good reason an advanced alien species has never developed projectile weapons, and for no particularly good reason humanity has only installed them on their oldest starships, despite projectiles being far more capable than the "modern" weapons either side has equipped themselves with.

The narration is well below typical Audible standard. The speaker uses a newsreader cadence, pausing at inappropriate times and misplacing emphasis. Whenever a character is speaking he uses a new emphasis that makes them sound alike and constantly angry, regardless of the situation.

9 of 9 people found this review helpful

  • Overall
    3 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    2 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    3 out of 5 stars
  • Mr Mask
  • 08-18-14

Needs work, but worth a listen

This book is in dire need of a re-write. The story itself is fine and suitably entertaining, but by the time you've reached the end you be about ready to stop "playing doggo", "stagger out of formation" and "be given a bloody nose". So many phrases are repeated excessively, and concepts are laboured to the point that it feels like padding that it detracts from an otherwise engaging tale of nautical derring do.

There aren't enough characters, and those who are present are caricatures rather than well rounded people, but it doesn't matter.

Ralph Lister's performance often sounds like he's drunk.

These negatives notwithstanding, I'd recommend the book for those looking for some boys own adventure in space with a nod toward Battlestar Galactica.

8 of 8 people found this review helpful

  • Overall
    1 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    1 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    1 out of 5 stars
  • Isobel Jones
  • 07-30-17

Drivel

Fighting navy men ponce about shouting at each other while the women serve the tea.

6 of 6 people found this review helpful

  • Overall
    2 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    3 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    1 out of 5 stars
  • Amazon Customer
  • 11-24-15

Weirdly right wing and jingoistic.

What disappointed you about Ark Royal?

All characters are either unerringly right wing or portrayed as barely human scum, it's just a bit creepy.

Would you ever listen to anything by Christopher G. Nuttall again?

Probably not, maybe his other works are more nuanced but looking at the jingoistic titles I doubt it.

Would you listen to another book narrated by Ralph Lister?

Possibly, his delivery isn't bad, it just randomly slows down in places sounding robotic and he constantly emphasises odd words.

What character would you cut from Ark Royal?

Maybe not cut but I'd make the women and/or journalists a bit more than 1 dimensional. Maybe provide a counter opinion to the chorus of chest thumping agreement all the main characters echo.

Any additional comments?

It's not like reading Heinlein who deliberately explores challenging points of view in an exciting setting. The attitudes in this book are so monochromatic it's creepy. The writing is also repetative and ham fisted.

6 of 6 people found this review helpful

  • Overall
    3 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    3 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    3 out of 5 stars
  • Jonathan
  • 08-25-14

Strange, not unsatisfactory but not great

Strange, seems like a rewrite of a 40's war novel, or something earlier, hornblower even- names like Gladys and Rose, Ted, all so knowingly dated, brought forward to a Sci fi setting that just isn't that well thought out and isn't well written. Frightening old fashioned characterisations that fail to engage and are repetitive and one dimensional. There is something here, it could work but you end up feeling that it's a wasted opportunity.

4 of 4 people found this review helpful

  • Overall
    1 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    1 out of 5 stars
  • M
  • 08-10-17

In a class of it's own for crass pulp rubbish

Firmly children's listening. Full of inconsistencies, stuff that even in Sci-Fi isn't very credible, and even for me as an ex-pat too pro-British. This is 1950's 'lantern-jawed, Bosch-bashing, British grit in the face of overwhelming odds' pulp listening. There is so little credible in the description/ research to make you feel you're a century ahead in time.

I'm not sure if it's to the narrator's credit but the speaking style matches perfectly: wooden, one- dimensional, mis-stressed, it sounds more like the trailor for a bad B-movie. The emphasis is often mis-placed (e.g. angry voices, the stereotypic voicing of naval command - can anyone really believe commanders speak like that??, the Russian dialogue), and I can't work out what his normal voice is. I think he took cocaine and tried to rival Branagh's ability to ham it up to the hilt.

It's Brits all the way, taking it on the chin and giving it back to the aliens in spades. No other countries get much of a look-in, and - surprise! - all our current bogeymen nations are still bogeymen. Nothing politically changed from Cold War 1990's in this interstellar story. I'm generally pro-Brit, but this is ridiculous.

Character development is patchy and predictable (e.g. drunk washed-up captain makes good; XO initially a thruster becomes loyal & self-sacrificing; immoral unethical press; Russian cyborg). Pretty much all the characters are stereotype and unbelievable, with nothing to grab the listener. I think Google Translate wrote the characters.

Written by a Mumbai call centre computer for the pre-teen English Defence League; and read by a misguided amateur dramatic, this is the "Sharknado" of audiobooks.

2 of 2 people found this review helpful

  • Overall
    4 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    3 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    4 out of 5 stars
  • Ariana
  • 07-15-14

Enjoyable space adventure

Despite a curiously old-fashioned feel, both to the story and the narration, I enjoyed this. There is a little bit of the cardboard cut outs about the characters, and it felt as though the author was at a bit of a loss as to how to progress some scenes, but overall, it flowed quite nicely. I enjoyed it enough to want to know what happens in the next book.
The narration was a bit wooden, but I've heard worse. It wasn't bad enough to spoil the book.

4 of 5 people found this review helpful

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  • thefinn
  • 07-22-18

Itry not to be harsh... but...<br /><br />

Usually a space opera is a set of viewpoints across a range of people in different places whose paths cross...
The best part of this book is the cover art.

This was poorly written derivative work, a true wet dog of a book, narrated by someone who cuts off the end of every sentence as if he'd just explained why your dog died on his property and how it was all your fault.

1 of 1 people found this review helpful

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  • Darren lock
  • 10-30-16

wow

as an ex service man i throughly enjoyd this book in fact the entire series to date ,the use of historical names of vessels in a futureistic setting bloody brilliant ,true military jargon took me back , well done thank you

1 of 1 people found this review helpful

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  • David
  • 08-07-14

Great idea poorly executed

What would have made Ark Royal better?

Less stilted dialogue.
A decent narrator.
Better character development.
Deliver on the potential excitement.
Remove the cringeworthy internal dialogue.

If you’ve listened to books by Christopher G. Nuttall before, how does this one compare?

This is the first Chris Nuttall book I've listened to... and more than likely the last.

How did the narrator detract from the book?

The voices were laughable (and I don't mean funny) and the delivery disjointed. Left me wishing he would just read in a relatively fast monotone.

You didn’t love this book--but did it have any redeeming qualities?

The idea was interesting, reminiscent of the Lost Fleet series. But there it ends I'm sorry to say.

1 of 1 people found this review helpful

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  • john
  • 05-19-17

ark royal series

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

absolutely.it is written and read excitingly

What other book might you compare Ark Royal to, and why?

the rest of the series because it follows the same path

Which character – as performed by Ralph Lister – was your favourite?

all of them.he does a great job getting the message over

If you made a film of this book, what would be the tag line be?

unknown

Any additional comments?

in find it is like reading a great book that you do not want to put down as i do not want to stop listening to it

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  • Frans
  • 07-24-16

Interesting and addictive.

While the story is fairly standard it's cultural placement and modern traditionalism increases it's interest. Also the story provides the required adventure, intrigue and military framework to satisfy most readers.

A point to note here is that I am an English born Australian embued with the traditions and accents expressed. This may challenge some reader's but if you enjoy Patrick O'Brian or the Hornblower stories this may interest you.

I look forward to the next and future editions of this series.

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  • Malcolm
  • 06-23-15

Great Series

Really enjoyed this series and highly recommend for those who enjoy good science fiction.
Looking forward to more works by this writer.

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  • peter
  • 10-23-14

a god story destroyed by a SHOCKING narration

this book would be great with a desent narration as he seems to have no seance of timeing or feel for the cerrictor's however i will listen to the other 2 books in series on the strength of the story alone.( please forgive the spelling it is not my strong point )

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  • Samuel
  • 07-20-14

If you like Jack Campbell, You'll Love C Nuttall!

If you could sum up Ark Royal in three words, what would they be?

Since nothing here restricts me to three words, I'm just going to let you all know that this book has the feel of space drama, the action of mil-scifi, and a development of character to rival its peers. I strongly recommend a listen. Good fun!

What was one of the most memorable moments of Ark Royal?

Definitely the development of the underdog status of the Ark Royal (Space Carrier), as an old ship, and the challenges faced by her crew. Really well written.

Which scene did you most enjoy?

The early scene where Commodore Smith is ordered to relinquish command, and his powerful defense of his position.

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

Absolutely everything I was looking for in a series I will continue to follow (hopefully more audiobooks Chris!!!)

Any additional comments?

Overall a fun read. I usually listen to this on night shift at my workplace. Despite the nature of my role, I found consistently imagining what happens next, daydreaming about the situations the crew found themselves in, and keen to continue listening when interrupted by pesky work! If you are looking for a great way to engage in a different universe, or some fun escapism, I really can't recommend this enough. ENJOY!!!

1 of 2 people found this review helpful

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  • MickeyDR
  • 07-18-14

Finally a non Americanised Military Sci-Fi

What was one of the most memorable moments of Ark Royal?

can't say,spoilers

What about Ralph Lister’s performance did you like?

Its nice to have English read they way it was intended.

Did you have an emotional reaction to this book? Did it make you laugh or cry?

there were moments of "good man" and "sort yours#!t out" being internally shouted at certain characters.

Any additional comments?

bring on the rest of the series

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  • Todd
  • 06-26-15

Amateur hour

So its 300 years in the future, but the political structures on Earth haven't changed since the 1950s? The Ark Royal is a (space) carrier of the British Royal (space) Navy. They fly (space) Spitfires and shoot at (space) enemies. I gave up before they could reveal the bad guys were (space) Nazis led by (space) Hitler.

The only thing worse that the story was the performance. Every character, including the female ones, sounded like an angry Rene Auberjonois with a sore throat. I couldn't tell which was which, and I didn't care.

This is the first audiobook I have given up on without finishing. I quit about three hours in.

0 of 1 people found this review helpful