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Publisher's Summary

Harry August is on his deathbed. Again. No matter what he does or the decisions he makes, when death comes, Harry always returns to where he began, a child with all the knowledge of a life he has already lived a dozen times before. Nothing ever changes. Until now. As Harry nears the end of his eleventh life, a little girl appears at his bedside.

'I nearly missed you, Doctor August,' she says. 'I need to send a message.' This is the story of what Harry does next, and what he did before, and how he tries to save a past he cannot change and a future he cannot allow.

©2014 Claire North (P)2014 Hachette Audio UK

Critic Reviews

"An astonishing re-invention of the time-travel narrative. Bold, magical and masterful" (M. R. Carey, author of The Girl With All the Gifts)"A thoughtful and considered time-travel novel, shocking twists and, most important of all, a beautiful character. Harry August will break your heart fifteen times" (Jared Shurin, Pornokitsch Blog)
This wonderful novel, narrated by Harry, ranges back and forth in time as he recounts episodes from his various lives, but it's all held together by a compelling mystery involving nothing less than the end of the world itself . . . Beautifully written and structured, the book should be a big hit . . . Fans of SF and fantasy authors China Mieville, Christopher Priest, and Adam Roberts might note a stylistic similarity, especially in the novel's elegant prose. Whoever Claire North turns out to be, he or she has written a remarkable book" (Booklist)
"Gripping" (Sun)
"A truly extraordinary novel: an impeccable portrait of a friendship tortured by time in which masterful character and fantastic narrative come together to tremendous effect" (TOR.COM)
"A brave, genre-defying novel, which is mind-blowing in its originality and bold concept . . . Stunning!" (NOVELICIOUS)
"Part unique and intriguing mystery, part philosophical look at life, memory and time travel this story kept me totally gripped from the opening words to the mind-blowing finale" (BITE THE BOOK)
"The First Fifteen Lives of Harry August is an extraordinary novel, as the publicity has promised" (The Speculative Scotsman)

What members say

Average Customer Ratings

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Fascinating and surprisingly fresh

Where does The First Fifteen Lives of Harry August rank among all the audiobooks you’ve listened to so far?

The book was my first audiobook ever, and I loved the experience. Peter Kenny was fantastic, with his voice and accents, and all the heart he poured into this. Looking forward to hear more of him.

What other book might you compare The First Fifteen Lives of Harry August to and why?

I can't recall books similar to this one. It was something like Groundhog Day meets Edge of Tomorrow, but way more epic and sophisticated. It is deeply rooted in the reality, spanning across decades and intertwined with the most interesting periods and event in the history of the world as we know it, but also giving us a glimpse at the world that could have been but wasn't. Or won't be.

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

No I haven't, but I definitely will.

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

I cringed upon hearing the detailed descriptions of substance abuse and physical harm. It was as if my body was experiencing it by itself. Very well written, believable, and combined with the narration it was really morbidly fascinating.

Any additional comments?

I loved the language of Harry August - quintessentially British, with carefully crafted sentences, grammatically perfect and beautiful while always on point. It really felt the way someone extremely intelligent, and centuries old, would sound like.

1 of 1 people found this review helpful

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original

quite original concept and story and the narration is superb! hoping for more from this author

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Oh my goodness!!

This was absolutely, positively amazing. The story was intricately plotted; the performance, hands down, one of the best I've ever experienced. Truly did not want it to wnd

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Loved every second of this

Grest premise for a story - and superbly read! The idea of the repeating cycle seen in the movie "groundhog day" or "end of days" applied to the life (lives) of Harry August - who always finds himself being born again, in the same place, at the same moment in time. He remembers everything.

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  • Robyn
  • 06-27-16

A good one!

Harry keeps getting a "do-over". And what to do when you are constantly reborn and into the same time period, and the same life?

My initial thoughts were that it was just a better version of Groundhog Day. Next I thought it was possibly a little bit predictable, ie if you get to see the same period of history over and over, should you meddle or not, what if others meddle, etc...? Therefore, not too many new ideas to hook me, but it was pleasant enough listening.

And then in the second half of the book, it all seemed to come together and took off. Absolutely compelling, cleverly done, and well narrated. The central characters are excellent. I can't say anything else without spoiling it, so I'll leave it to the blurb and other reviewers to give more hints.

The narration is good - occasionally the accents weren't brilliant, but it never distracted from the story. The narrator's voice really suited the main character and the consistency of his nature.

I thoroughly enjoyed this audiobook. Very much worth the credit.

14 of 14 people found this review helpful

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  • S. Kingston
  • 07-07-14

Déjà vu all over again

A well written book, based on an interesting premise: whenever Harry August dies, he is reborn as himself, back in the original year of his birth, to relive his life. Each time, he can live his life slightly differently, but with each rebirth, history is reset (with the exception of his memories). The book builds nicely throughout, with a couple of interesting plot twists, towards a climactic but thought-provoking ending.

This book reminded me a little of the Time Traveller's Wife, although I found the "time travel" aspect of this plot a lot easier to follow!

12 of 12 people found this review helpful

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  • Mark
  • 12-19-15

dont think to hard

Would you listen to The First Fifteen Lives of Harry August again? Why?

never listen to books twice

What did you like best about this story?

narration was good,playing with ideas repeating the story was interesting

Which character – as performed by Peter Kenny – was your favourite?

his female supporters at the chronos club

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

i think as a film it would be a little confusing, a little like 12 monkeys on acid

Any additional comments?

good story, being a little scientific I wanted to know how the process of repeating time worked but had to content myself with just being part of a good yarn, no real answers at the end. I noticed the lead character said` I am what I am` which was what God said to Moses at the Burning bush!

7 of 7 people found this review helpful

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  • Asbjørn
  • 04-25-14

Perfect Audiobook

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

Yes, I would recomend it. The storyline is wonderfully imaginative. The pace carries you along - wanting to engage. The narrator is pitch perfect and adding to the story with his voice-acting.

Who was your favorite character and why?

August - main character - the I of the story

Which character – as performed by Peter Kenny – was your favourite?

as above

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

Reboot

Any additional comments?

This is the best science fiction novel I have come accross for a very long time. Highly recommended!

19 of 21 people found this review helpful

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  • Mel
  • 07-07-14

Original and compelling

I bought this book because I wanted something a bit different, and it didn't disappoint. It's an interesting concept, which I won't give away in this review, and the way that concept is used to drive the plot is clever and must have taken a lot of planning. Although the ideas are complicated, I found the plot easy to follow and enjoyed the shifts between times and lives. I found the characters compelling, and some of the ethical issues thought provoking. Overall I thought it was very entertaining, well written and voiced. I'll definitely be listening to more of Claire North's work.

11 of 12 people found this review helpful

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  • Kathie
  • 11-18-14

Anything but repetitive

I was surprised that another reader found it a bit repetitive as I didn't. The pace and tension escalated perfectly, leaving me exhausted from lack of sleep. It is an extraordinary book and I can't recommend it enough, Having Peter Kenny reading it was a bonus. The book of the year.

10 of 11 people found this review helpful

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  • Andy
  • 07-05-14

Wonderful in every way

Would you consider the audio edition of The First Fifteen Lives of Harry August to be better than the print version?

Difficult to say. I have a vivid imagination and through that I picture the story's protagonists but in saying that the Narrator painted a different picture in my mind to the one I might have done had I read the book. This is no way is meant to be detrimental to the audio edition. The narrator was excellent, and every character had it's own personality, by age, by gender, by trait. It took us through the 20th century time after time, and each journey painted a different story. I loved it, every second. Buy it.

What was one of the most memorable moments of The First Fifteen Lives of Harry August?

Harry's ongoing relationship with his nemesis

Which character – as performed by Peter Kenny – was your favourite?

Harry, without doubt.

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

Losing his wife, his mind and his 3rd life

4 of 4 people found this review helpful

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  • LM Meiland
  • 06-09-14

2014, best performance - Kenny, best book - North

What did you like most about The First Fifteen Lives of Harry August?

As everyone has said. It was a very interesting concept wonderfully executed. I'm not a fan of science fiction or fantasy and this book is entirely without dragons or convenient inventions to make the plot move forward. There were no logic holes or fudges to let the book down. This all ignores the important bit - it was so well written (and read) that I didn't notice how well written (and read) it was! Truly, an excellent book - I would recommend it to anyone, whatever your favorite genre. It will stay with me for a long time, and my memory is awful, so that's saying something.

Which character – as performed by Peter Kenny – was your favourite?

Peter Kenny played every character so expertly that when he had to read entire passages in five or six different voices I knew each character distinctly and without any hesitation. This will be the audiobook I will gift to my friends to get them into audio. I haven't heard anything better (I've listened to well over 500 audiobooks).

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

Absolutely.

Any additional comments?

If there were awards (there probably are) Peter Kenny should get one for this reading. I'm sure Claire North will be receiving many for the book.

4 of 4 people found this review helpful

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  • Martin
  • 05-12-14

Superb!

I knew 20 minutes in that this was going to be a great listen. I love the idea and the plot, the Narrator got all the characters perfectly. Harry August was a great main character and the way the story is told as if written to you personally is enjoyable, its as if you are being spoken to directly by him at times. The Author could easily come back to this universe and Harry August with another story and I really hope that happens. One of the top listens for me this year, enjoyed it very much and look forward to more from the Author and Narrator. I am not sure how this book is categorised, it has elements of science fiction, technology and time travel but it is easily something that a person who is not a fan of Sci Fi would love to listen to. If you think the description sounds interesting, get this book!

14 of 16 people found this review helpful

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  • mrs c howe
  • 04-22-16

I loved this story

I really compelling and interesting story. I was very intrigued by the use of time. It was a great listen well performed and beautifully paced

3 of 3 people found this review helpful

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  • Humberto
  • 03-31-16

Hit by train of awesomeness

I came into this book with little hopes or expectations. And 1 hours into it i was simply in love. The main character is somewhat "blank" as the author puts it (Thru a dialogue with another character) But everything else about this book is simply superb.
The concept is great. Truly great twist on the whole time travel business.
The plot is Okay. Very engaging.
The EXECUTION is like no other. Claire North takes this story and twists it in such a lovely way that the reader cant help but love it.
Also, the wordsmithing is beautiful. Sometimes i would hit the rewind 30 seconds bottom just to go thru certain phrases again, so well crafted they were!

All in all. Just get this book. Its great and now on my list of favorites!

1 of 1 people found this review helpful

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  • Jeremy
  • 04-30-15

Fascinating and full of action

This book is built on a fascinating concept, that of the Kalachakra, a group of people that re-live the same life over and over again but with the all the memories of their previous lives.

The story is really well paced, with interesting characters, and a narrator that brings the story and characters to life.

Thoroughly enjoyable!

1 of 1 people found this review helpful

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  • Murray
  • 09-26-17

Excellent.

Fantastic book, and great narration. Couldn’t put it down.

A fun new twist in a time travel novel.

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  • Matthew Ansell-Laurendet
  • 04-10-17

Finally, a genuine take on the timetraveller novel

Would you listen to The First Fifteen Lives of Harry August again? Why?

A generally well paced novel with an interesting and well-researched story. The time travel concept is (to my knowledge) a new one, blending the concept of immortal and time travelling together without resorting to Deus Ex Machina to make the story progress. Potentially quite readable a second time, but I have a habit of leaving years between re-readings, so hard to tell at the moment. I haven't been this impressed by a book for a long time.

Who was your favorite character and why?

Harry is the main character and the most obvious one with which the audience are meant to empathise.

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

This book was definitely hard to put down at the end of my commute each day.

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  • Jess
  • 04-03-17

a great listen

I loved this story, such an incredible idea, played out beautifully, and the performance by Peter Kenny is absolutely perfect.

The only mildly negative thing I can say about it is there's a bit of torture, but it is a necessary part of the story, just a bit more detailed than I might prefer.

Definetely worth listening to!

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  • DeD
  • 02-08-17

Brilliant!!! Absolutely wonderful!!

Such a great book! Very well paced. Traveling between the present and the past with such grace, it was so easy to switch contexts. The author is truly gifted. The narrator did a good job too. Definitely a book to be listened to.

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  • graeme
  • 01-31-17

amazing. Thought provoking.

i love this book. so interesting and clever. i wish harry had more lives to live.

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  • Simon
  • 01-20-16

Phenomenal.

The praise for this book is more than well deserved.

One of the best books I've ever read in this genre. Probably the most original and interesting explorations of time travel.

The narrator is immensely listenable; truly superb.