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The First Fifteen Lives of Harry August Audiobook

The First Fifteen Lives of Harry August

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Publisher's Summary

Some stories cannot be told in just one lifetime.

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 11th 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

What Members Say

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4.3 (3981 )
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4.3 (3683 )
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  •  
    Isobel 04-29-16
    Isobel 04-29-16 Member Since 2015
    HELPFUL VOTES
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    "Not what I'd feared"

    As you are, I'm a person who reads the reviews to see if I should invest in a book. I put this book low on my wishlist because it sounded interesting but the words "tough to read" and "sociopath" and "couldn't like the characters" kept popping up in the reviews. It should have been a little higher up on my wishlist. While I'm glad I was pre-warned that there was a lot of gruesome violence in the book (there is) and that the characters are generally callous and frequently cruel people (they are), these aspects made sense for the premise of the book. If death means nothing to you why would you care if you committed suicide by rat poison? If you live the same life over and over for hundreds of years, how could the "linears" (normal people) become anything other than paper dolls for you to play with? Once I situated the characters in their culture rather than my culture I was definitely able to understand their motivations and empathize with them.

    I mean, prrrroooobably don't read this book if you're in a very fragile emotional/mental health state. Like, if the characters in The Girl on the Train or Skippy Dies effed you up, this isn't the book for you. Otherwise, it's a pretty cool book. I enjoyed that the author was brave enough to make the characters the people they would logically have been, given the situation they were placed in. I also enjoyed the general sci-fi, time travel premise because I can't really say that I've seen this particular concept before. There were a lot of cool new ideas in here about the nature of time, memory, destiny, self-determination, and the things that make humans themselves.

    59 of 60 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Russell Keswick, ON, Canada 11-01-16
    Russell Keswick, ON, Canada 11-01-16 Member Since 2017
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    "It Took Fifteen Lives to Resolve an Epic Battle"

    If you got fifteen repeats on your life while remembering the previous ones, how different would they be? Harry went through the same era from the early 1900's to as late as the early 2000's as a scientist, adventurer, lawyer and even an investigator of all the world religions.

    He is able to remember everything and encounters others like him who have organized a club to make sure no one like them changes major events. That can have disastrous results for all of humanity and drastic measures are required for those who try. Usually it requires communicating with someone from a previous era to make sure that person is never born.The Cronus club can do this with a seven year old member telling an eighty year old member about a threat to the world. They will take the appropriate corrective action in their next life.

    Harry meets one of those who wish to reshape the world they live in. Victor becomes his best friend and eventually his worst enemy. Victor is able to decimate the Cronus club and embark on a journey over many repeat lives to artificially advance science. His ultimate goal is to build a quantum mirror which he hopes will explain everything. Either that, or it will be the end of everybody's world.

    They go through a marathon battle.

    There are a lot interesting concepts here and I was enthralled from the first life to the final one. If you enjoyed the book Replay by Ken Grimwood, you will love this adventure. It has similarities, yet it is a vastly different story.

    I usually like to put to an effort into posting a review of only great reads, so my history of mainly five stars may be tedious for some. I kind of feel like the guy always crying wolf, and when the wolf finally comes, no one pays attention.

    So here is my sixth star for this book. Overall ******

    20 of 20 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Stefanie Annandale, VA, United States 08-24-15
    Stefanie Annandale, VA, United States 08-24-15 Member Since 2012
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    "An unexpected treasure"
    Any additional comments?

    I bought this book solely based on the ratings. It was a little slow getting started, but holy cow did it make up for lost time. The story was unique and fantastic, and the narration was one of the best I've heard so far. The narrator could convincingly sound like a young boy, or an old woman dying of pneumonia, and anywhere in between. Just spectacular. There were times when I couldn't understand him, no matter how many times I repeated the section, due to the speedy dialogue, but that didn't detract from the overall performance or story. If I could give this book 10 stars overall, I would.

    5 of 5 people found this review helpful
  •  
    clifford United States 11-12-15
    clifford United States 11-12-15 Member Since 2016

    akitonmyers

    HELPFUL VOTES
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    "Amazing"

    I consider myself a hard critic. I don't hand out 5 star reviews lightly. The First Fifteen Lives of Harry August is a solid 5 stars.

    This book is as close to sci-fi perfection as I have encountered in the last decade. It combines a very interesting concept (1 in 500,000 people live over and over again), a good mystery (for some reason the world is ending), and first rate characters (August and one other).

    The bad guy here, the interaction of August and the person he is tracking down is first class. I don't think I have ever been so in touch with a villain before.

    The back story is mesmerizing. Enough detail to put you into the characters point of view, not enough to stifle a quick read.

    Claire North is awesome. I can't wait to dive into her other books.

    6 of 7 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Nathan London, Ontario Canada 09-23-14
    Nathan London, Ontario Canada 09-23-14 Member Since 2017
    HELPFUL VOTES
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    "Read for the concepts and not for the characters"

    Finished reading: The First Fifteen Lives of Harry August by Claire North.
    The classic question: if you could live your life again, what would you do differently knowing what you know now? For Harry August this isn't hypothetical, he is born, lives, dies and is reborn again at the exact same day and place as before. The premise has been explored before in Groundhog day and Edge of Tomorrow but having to live his whole life again is a big difference.
    This is a book about concepts and big picture plot. Explores how an individuals would react, what kind of secret society would form, deal with the tediousness of childhood, try different careers, and keeping life interesting. This allows other concepts like alternative history and pre-crime prevention to be examined.
    This kind of story needs many characters and settings but only two characters are really developed. While the concepts that are introduced are interesting to think about the story narrative is only adequate. There no interesting characters to draw you in and no risk or thrill until the last third.
    Narrator was excellent keeping the different characters and accents distinct.
    The story is slow and not a page turner. Read if your an ideas person.

    46 of 61 people found this review helpful
  •  
    AudioBook Reviewer Madison, WI, United States 04-02-15
    AudioBook Reviewer Madison, WI, United States 04-02-15 Member Since 2011

    All of my reviews are on my blog audiobookreviewer dot com

    HELPFUL VOTES
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    "It is a beautifully written book"

    Harry August dies at the end of each life only to be reborn as himself, an orphaned bastard in the early 20th Century; and each time he remembers…everything. At first he thinks he is insane, then he discovers others like himself, living the same life over and over again. They have formed clubs around the world. Some have become jaded and bored, indulging in wealth, sex and drugs, while others like Harry continue to search for knowledge. Harry is unique in another way, unlike the others who relive their lives, he remembers every moment in absolute, perfect detail.

    It is a beautifully written book, switching easily between Harry’s many lives like a darting bird. There are many challenging concepts of time and God which will keep the listener thinking hard. One especially clever idea was other life repeaters able to communicate with those in earlier or later periods through graffitied artifacts or youths finding their predecessors just before death. Mind bending stuff.

    The First Fifteen Lives of Harry August has a 19th Century SciFi feel to the book, something like H.G. Wells or Jules Verne. The descriptive elements of the novel unfold gently and beautifully, and the listener is well rewarded for his patience. There is plenty of action and an almost blasé attitude towards some horrendous torture scenes. Harry has seen and done so many things before and knows that he will simply die, reset his life, and do it differently next time. The story and the character develop a great sense of time. It works beautifully.

    Peter Kenny is the narrator and does an excellent job. Harry is British as is Kenny. His voices are well done and always enjoyable. His American accents are quirky and charming, not quite right but fun to listen to none-the-less.

    The Fifteen Lives of Harry August is a wonderful listen and will have you looking for more books by Ms North and/or books narrated by Peter Kenny.

    Audiobook purchased for review by ABR.

    Please find this complete review and many others at audiobookreviewer dot com

    [If this review helped, please press YES. Thanks!]

    54 of 73 people found this review helpful
  •  
    C. Hartmann D.C. & St. Croix 04-30-14
    C. Hartmann D.C. & St. Croix 04-30-14

    Sci-fi, History, Police Procedurals and Science

    HELPFUL VOTES
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    "A Very Tough Read -- but perhaps worth it"

    This is a tough book -- there is a lot physical and psychological torture. The idea is not new, but it is well-done. Excellent narration. That all said, I enjoyed the intellectual challenges. It was like reading Kafka -- a book that ends up being as much about you as it is about the character. More literature than Science Fiction despite the excellent time-travel "rules." It put me in mind of "the Man in the Empty Suit".

    40 of 54 people found this review helpful
  •  
    C. 05-10-14
    C. 05-10-14

    In the dictionary, next to the word "bibliophile" there is a picture of me... Ok... it's my dictionary... and I put the picture there.

    HELPFUL VOTES
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    "Well read and written, just not my cup of tea."

    Good story and the narrator was genius at portraying the various characters. I liked the way it all flowed and came together and I found it to be an interesting plot, however it just wasn't my cup of tea. I got a little bored because I had a difficult time identifying with the main character. I would not fault the author with this though, it is simply a case of not finding every well written character interesting. I think I would have found Charity to be much more interesting.

    18 of 24 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Patrick W 08-05-17
    Patrick W 08-05-17

    Patrick W

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

    Excellent.


    Who was your favorite character and why?

    Harry August (main character)


    What about Peter Kenny’s performance did you like?

    His voice brought all the characters to life. What I found most enjoyable was how he managed to find dialectic accents and hold them accurately without issue.


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

    My reaction was not to the book itself but the misleading reviews which made me so reluctant to buy this book. I heard again and again "Violent," yet in truth this book held more more violence than common television series today. There are moments where the visceral truth of the character's reality is clearly described.


    Any additional comments?

    I am sensitive to violence, either spoken, written, or portrayed. I've been known to get up and leave the room when character seem in imminent danger of being killed. I've had to stop listening to audio books with similar description.

    That being said, I found myself completely able to follow this book without adverse reaction. I had no severe negative reactions of the nature to this work. I must say that all those reviews that speak of violence were overstated. I regret not purchasing this book sooner. It was seriously well performed, well written piece of fiction. I am considering more works by this author based on the level of quality I encountered with this title

    Bottom line. If you like this genre, but have hesitated to buy this book based on reviews, Ignore the negative reviews, buy it, give "The First Fifteen Lives Of Harry August," a fair chance. If you really hate it it's returnable. I've had to do that with a few books in past. I will never return this title, ever. It is a very excellent narrative read by a person whose voice matched the characters very well.

    1 of 1 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Karen Caton 02-27-17
    Karen Caton 02-27-17
    HELPFUL VOTES
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    "Can I give it 3.5 Stars?"
    Would you say that listening to this book was time well-spent? Why or why not?

    I am a sucker for both time travel and replayed life stories. Not the Scottish romance in time variety, but this Groundhog Day concept fascinates me. I try to read them all. I enjoyed this book on this level, and appreciated the wrinkle of the premise... that we all relive our lives again and again, but that through an evolutionary or other cause, most now forget those past experiences, while a few remember them... and thus become the guardians of the planet in a way. They have a chance, through the repeats, to correct wrongs. Of course, villains also emerge who would use the repeat opportunities for their own personal gain or to amass power. <br/><br/>I liked the premise, and for the most part the execution, but I found the book a little tedious and repetitive in places. That, coupled with the lack of variation in voices, actually forced me to go back and repeat several chapters of the book to be sure I was following the story. Some questions went unanswered, some lines were less than satisfactory, but it was a nice addition to the body of this genre, overall.


    1 of 1 people found this review helpful

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