Defend and Betray

A William Monk Novel #3
Narrated by: Davina Porter
Series: William Monk, Book 3
Length: 16 hrs and 22 mins
4.5 out of 5 stars (808 ratings)

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Publisher's Summary

Ten people gather together for an elegant London dinner party. By the end of the party, only nine are alive. Sometime after dinner, General Thaddeus Carlyon is brutally murdered in the hallway. Who had the strength - and motive - to murder the distinguished military hero? Nurse Latterly and Inspector Monk find the answers in a nightmarish legacy of evil.
Crack another case with William Monk.
©1992 Anne Perry (P)1996 Recorded Books, LLC
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  • Overall
    2 out of 5 stars
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    5 out of 5 stars
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    2 out of 5 stars

Anachronistic, repetitious, annoying.

Although I have an interest in the characters in this book, I simply can't stand this series anymore. The author has an obvious interest in 'exposing' the oppression suffered by women and the lower classes in Victorian England. However, instead of using her skill to show this through plot-line and character actions, the listener must suffer through Hester's repetitious and strident commentary. Repetition abounds, from her polemics to character's ruminations and turns of phrase that are the same in substance *and in words* from chapter to chapter! Different characters even use the exact same phrases to describe the odd behavior of the children in the book.

Hester's beliefs are quite modernistic and are revealed as such increasingly throughout the books. In addition, I had a hard time accepting the courtroom scenes as being plausible for the Victorian era. I wonder strongly if the 'issue' revealed (I don't want to give anything away, although you will probably guess it nearly immediately as I did) would be handled in such an open and sensitive way.

I would happily have missed most of the scenes in the house of the murder victim, particularly the excruciatingly long dining room scenes, which barely forwarded the plot. How long can one listen to Felicia basically say the same things over and over?

I was also struck by the fact that, although on his past cases, Monk was supposedly 'tireless' and 'brilliant', that in the first three books of the series he is confused, dense, and easily frustrated. The fact that he never interviews the boot boy is very odd, and I think is just a setup so that Valentine (unbelievably) will tell his story in the courtroom.

What a great story this could have been?! So many indications of brilliant writing! If only she had a good editor and someone to tell her to get off the soapbox, I would love this series.

The narrator was absolutely excellent. Top notch.

12 people found this helpful

  • Overall
    3 out of 5 stars

melodramatic, anachronistic, but...

The book could be in the Guinness Book of Records for most frequent use of the phrase "aquiline nose." Perry resorts to cliche to tell some of her tale, and as in the previous seven Perry historical novels I've listed to, 20th century ideas often bubble just under the surface, despite her very good verisimilitude of historical detail. This novel is particularly weak in that respect, yet it kept me on my exercise cycle and working at my household chores a little longer than usual.

It's a tale of Oliver Wrathbone and Nurse Latterly as much as Monk, but Monk continues to piece together his past through detection and memory recovery (though he is not as sharp as usual in uncovering the mystery intertwined in this tale). The last third is mostly court room procedural, and that's where the anachronistic ideas and even language surface the most. Also, Perry provides more detail of the dirty deeds than usual, making it a slightly darker listen. Still it's a very good Victorian soap if you are willing to suspend your disbelief and are interested in the continuing adventures of the characters OR in detailed description of the type of soap available to Victorian households mid 19th century. Davina Porter continues her excellent narration.

21 people found this helpful

  • Overall
    3 out of 5 stars
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    5 out of 5 stars
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    3 out of 5 stars

Too drawn out

The main characters took too long to figure out what was going on. I understand that children were "invisible" in this period of time, but still it seemed too long and drawn out as they finally tumbled to the problem. The courtroom scenes were excellent and it was very moving once the story got to go forward.

3 people found this helpful

  • Overall
    3 out of 5 stars
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    3 out of 5 stars
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    3 out of 5 stars

it was blah

Would you try another book from Anne Perry and/or Davina Porter?

I would try another book from Anne Perry as she writes well. I just didn't like this one. And, it wasn't bad just uninspiringly blah.

3 people found this helpful

  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars

My favorite Monk novel so far.

I found the first two novels slow and redundant, although it's only fair to say that I still couldn't put them down. This novel flows better, is significantly less repetitive and develops the characters of Hester and Oliver even more than that of Monk.

I have really enjoyed Perry's descriptions of the classes and time period, more than any other author who writes about that period - she vividly portrays the constraints placed on women, children and the servant class.

As a woman I feel badly for generally not liking women narrators. I find it easier to hear a man narrating a woman's part than the reverse. That being said, Davina Porter's narrations are so good that suspension of disbelief is nearly total for me.

This is the darkest yet of the three but also the easiest to believe and the most touching. Enjoy!

10 people found this helpful

  • Overall
    1 out of 5 stars
  • T
  • 08-13-11

Way too long and boring

Davina Porter is one of my favorite narrators and she was the main positive. I listen to audio books on road trips and this one drew out far too long and the use of "aqualine" was too much in describing the people. I remember wondering if everyone looked alike other than hair color and height. Not a great book for a long drive because it makes the drive seem even longer with its length. It drags out.

6 people found this helpful

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

Long, Drawn-Out, Boring

What could have made this a 4 or 5-star listening experience for you?

On the author's part: tighter editing to remove repetition and move the plot forward at faster than a glacier's pace; showing Monk's skills instead of just telling about them. On the narrator's part: Greater attention to differentiating character voices, especially during transitions between one character's voice and another.

Would you ever listen to anything by Anne Perry again?

Yes. I would like to learn more about Monk.

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

Monk regains a few more memories. Major Tiplady(sp?) and his infatuation with Hester's friend was adorable. Casean's (sp?) plea to his uncle towards the end of the courtroom scene was heartbreaking.

2 people found this helpful

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

Defend and Betray

Davina Porter is becoming one of my favorite narrators. This is the third book in the Monk series. This book has more to do with Hester and the attorney Oliver. Some of the new characters in the story are great such as Hester's employer the Major. This book covers a darker problem in peoples behavior and goes into the problem women had in protecting their children when they had no rights as far as the law is concerned. Reading this series makes me realize how far women have come in obtaining equal rights even though their is still more work to be done and a battle to keep the rights we have obtained.

8 people found this helpful

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

Not for the sensitive..

Once again, Ms. Perry tackles modern societal issues in a Victorian setting. She vividly illustrates some of the deleterious effects inflicted on the victims. The first half of the book, I did suspect what was going on, but not the murderer.. by the middle, I’d figured it out.. but wanted to continue .. if nothing else than to see how Ms. Perry handled the issues.

There is a great triangle brewing between Monk, Hester and Oliver. I keep vacillating over which man I want to get the girl!

Ms. Porter again, is wonderful!

This book is not for those with blissfully innocent sensitivities.. but, is an excellent expose of some of societies most degrading practices.

4 people found this helpful

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

Monk (a little) #3

Monk makes some brief appearances in this story, but he is definitely not the main character any more. Which is okay. Hester has a much more central role, which is also okay. She is interesting and intelligent, and is leading the kind of independent life that the book keeps reminding us was pretty much impossible for a woman in Victorian England. I was glad that Rathbone was back and also played a pivotal part.
The story was compelling for the most part, and I had a hard time "putting it down" if that's the right phrase for an audio book. There were parts toward the end where it dragged a bit, but overall it was a good tale.
I thought that the narrator's accents were pretty inconsistent, and the tone of voice she used for characters' comments was not always appropriate for what the character was saying at times. But it was a fair performance, and I'll be heading to the Audible store shortly to get installment #4.

1 person found this helpful

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  • Overall
    4 out of 5 stars
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  • M
  • 05-26-20

William Monk Defend and Betray

Well written and supported by good narration. Sometimes a good story is spoilt by poor narration, however the narration of this book was, in my opinion, just right. William Monk is a flawed individual but immensely likeable. Great portrayal of Victorian life. A bit too much distraction, for me, of the main story by Monks seeking answers to his own life.

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    5 out of 5 stars
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  • Anonymous User
  • 12-17-19

Defend & Betray

An amazing portrayal of Victorian morals and the class system . Moving and well researched . I enjoyed the tale and the performance

  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars
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  • Miss A.
  • 04-13-19

Enjoyable

I was surprised by the story, I wasn't expecting that! straight on to next episode.

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  • Babs Moy
  • 11-28-19

Victorian court room drama

Wonderful Anne Perry. Listen to all of them, in order of course. Great depiction of life in Victorian London with well drawn characters.