Prime logo Prime members: New to Audible?
Get 2 free audiobooks during trial.
Pick 1 audiobook a month from our unmatched collection.
Listen all you want to thousands of included audiobooks, Originals, and podcasts.
Access exclusive sales and deals.
Premium Plus auto-renews for $14.95/mo after 30 days. Cancel anytime.
Creation  By  cover art

Creation

By: Gore Vidal
Narrated by: Malcolm Hillgartner
Try for $0.00

$14.95/month after 30 days. Cancel anytime.

Buy for $28.99

Buy for $28.99

Pay using card ending in
By confirming your purchase, you agree to Audible's Conditions of Use and Amazon's Privacy Notice. Taxes where applicable.

Publisher's summary

A sweeping novel of politics, war, philosophy, and adventure - in a restored edition, featuring never-before-published material from Gore Vidal’s original manuscript - Creation offers a captivating grand tour of the ancient world.

Cyrus Spitama, grandson of the prophet Zoroaster and lifelong friend of Xerxes, spent most of his life as Persian ambassador for the great king Darius. He traveled to India, where he discussed nirvana with Buddha, and to the warring states of Cathay, where he learned of Tao from Master Li and fished on the riverbank with Confucius. Now blind and aged in Athens - the Athens of Pericles, Sophocles, Thucydides, Herodotus, and Socrates - Cyrus recounts his days as he strives to resolve the fundamental questions that have guided his life’s journeys: how the universe was created, and why evil was created with good. In revisiting the fifth century B.C. - one of the most spectacular periods in history - Gore Vidal illuminates the ideas that have shaped civilizations for millennia.

©1981, 2002 Gore Vidal (P)2019 Brilliance Publishing, Inc., all rights reserved. Foreword by Anthony Burgess © The Estate of Anthony Burgess; previously published in 99 Novels: The Best in English Since 1939 (Summit Books: 1984).

What listeners say about Creation

Average customer ratings
Overall
  • 4.5 out of 5 stars
  • 5 Stars
    126
  • 4 Stars
    44
  • 3 Stars
    19
  • 2 Stars
    9
  • 1 Stars
    2
Performance
  • 4.5 out of 5 stars
  • 5 Stars
    125
  • 4 Stars
    27
  • 3 Stars
    10
  • 2 Stars
    0
  • 1 Stars
    1
Story
  • 4.5 out of 5 stars
  • 5 Stars
    107
  • 4 Stars
    33
  • 3 Stars
    17
  • 2 Stars
    4
  • 1 Stars
    2

Reviews - Please select the tabs below to change the source of reviews.

Sort by:
Filter by:
  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    5 out of 5 stars

A Magnificent Tour de Force

I can't believe twenty seven hours of listening went by so fast. I wanted more. This is Gore Vidal at his very best with all his wit, charm, eloquence, funny sarcasm, irreverence, defiance, curiosity and love of his fellow men. These attributes are all present in the protagonist of the novel, Cyrus Spitama, as well. In fact, I think Cyrus Spitama IS Gore Vidal to a large extent. I think, Cyrus Spitama is the avatar of Gore Vidal in the Persian Empire.

I won't bore you by repeating the synopsis of the story given in other reviews and the book description (take a look also at the Amazon reviews of the book). Suffice it to say that if you like historical novels, works of fantasy based on real history, thought-provoking what-if books given in beautiful prose, and narrated beautifully, you'll love this book. You will also enjoy this book if you are interested in ancient history or philosophy.

Finally, the narration was outstanding. Malcolm Hillgartner IS the older Cyrus Spitama, narrating an account of his life to his young nephew. So Hillgartner doesn't change his voice and accent much, but he does a FANTASTIC job of projecting the emotional content, humor or gravity of conversation by his intonation and the cadence of his speech. The perfect narrator for this book.

Overall, listening to this book, even after having previously read it, was a very enjoyable experience.

Something went wrong. Please try again in a few minutes.

You voted on this review!

You reported this review!

22 people found this helpful

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

Spectacular

Having read this book twice before, it was a pleasure to hear it read to me. Vidal goes without the recognition he deserves. That takes away nothing from his brilliance. If for nothing else, his asides on the tongue of The narrator(s) are worth the time and money. We all owe the Master a debt of gratitude and be happy the he does not have to suffer the incoherence of Trump.

Something went wrong. Please try again in a few minutes.

You voted on this review!

You reported this review!

13 people found this helpful

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

Beautifully Constructed Historical Novel

A masterful work. Vidal immerses you in the ancient setting of Achaemenid Persia in the 6th-5th century BCE, both within the empire and beyond its far-reaching borders as the protagonist Cyrus Spitama (grandson of the prophet Zoroaster) undergoes a lifelong exploration of the concept of creation, challenging his own beliefs as a priest of the "Wise Lord" as he interacts with a multitude of cultures and characters, including real historical figures such as Herodotus, Confucius, and Xerxes.

If you wish to replace your current reality with another, look no further, and prepare to be swept away as you enter the world as it was over 2,500 years ago.

Something went wrong. Please try again in a few minutes.

You voted on this review!

You reported this review!

6 people found this helpful

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

Edifying

I would recommend this book to anybody who is interested in ancient religiony/philosophy. If, however, one is not so inclined, it may feel a bit dry. Luckily, I am so inclined, so I was thoroughly entertained. The story, while not exactly suspenseful (more historical/biographical in tone), is quite rich and did much to deepen my understanding of the more subtle differences between various ancient schools of thought--greek philosophy, Zoroastrianism, Buddhism, Confuciunism, Jainism etc...

Something went wrong. Please try again in a few minutes.

You voted on this review!

You reported this review!

4 people found this helpful

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

An epic undertaking ... not as great as I'd hoped

The time around the 5th century BC saw the rise of some great thinkers, among them the Buddha, Lao Tsu, Confucius and Socrates. It is curious - and it led Gore Vidal to creating the fictional Cyrus Spitama. In "Creation" an old Cyrus narrates his life - and what a life it's been. The grandson of Zoroaster, Cyrus grows up at the Persian court, meets Cyrus, Darius, and Xerxes (best friends). He is eventually sent to India to open trade routes, later to China/Cathay - and there meets not only leaders and culture - but also those famed philosophers.

Honestly? I wanted to love this. The narration is excellent ... but the novel itself is just too epic/long for its own good. There's lots about deals and strategies and religion and court etiquette and more in Persia, Babylon, Athens, Sparta and then India and China. From a historical point of view, the novel is surely insightful and no doubt well researched. But, for my sense, it became tedious over time. And while Cyrus Spitama speaks with various philosophical leaders, I didn't see Vidal give the protagonist any particular insight from all of that. So the title of "Creation" ... just about nothing is revealed beyond that which people like Confucius and the Buddha supposed have said. In the end, Cyrus Spitama's life was one that was well lived and might make for an epic Netflix series - but as a novel and with that monumental title, I just hoped that I'd feel more positive about it.

Something went wrong. Please try again in a few minutes.

You voted on this review!

You reported this review!

4 people found this helpful

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

Masterpiece

Vidal took on an enormous endeavor and along with a likewise brilliant narrator achieved a 5-star audio book.

Something went wrong. Please try again in a few minutes.

You voted on this review!

You reported this review!

3 people found this helpful

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

Old guy telling his life story

I hate that Audible now requires a written commentary in order to leave a star review. I use star reviews for my own purposes - to remind myself which authors, book series, and narrators I do and don't like. For that, I don't need to write anything. Leave the text reviews to those who actually want to write them. For the rest of us - let's please go back to the way it has been for more than a decade. Please Audible - Fix this.

Something went wrong. Please try again in a few minutes.

You voted on this review!

You reported this review!

2 people found this helpful

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

Unbelievably complex and interesting

The names, the places and the incidents Are mind-boggling. The cruelty, treachery, and Heartlessness of Royalty Are unbelievable. The value of life seems insignificant. This book is a must read.

Something went wrong. Please try again in a few minutes.

You voted on this review!

You reported this review!

2 people found this helpful

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

another wonderful book by Gorr Vidal,

interesting, that an Atheist can research and write the best stories about religions in the ancient world.

Something went wrong. Please try again in a few minutes.

You voted on this review!

You reported this review!

2 people found this helpful

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

Envolving and enlightening

Very interesting and well-written book especially enticing for those who like ancient history and would like to learn more about it in an informal way.

Something went wrong. Please try again in a few minutes.

You voted on this review!

You reported this review!

2 people found this helpful