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Publisher's Summary

The Gropes are an old English family based in Northumberland, separated from the rest of society and as eccentric as they come. It is a line dominated by strong-willed and oversexed women, determined to produce more female heirs regardless of whether their desired partners are willing....

At the dawn of the new millennium, timid and gormless teenager Esmond is abducted and lured to Grope Hall by a descendant of the Gropes. Young Esmond is powerless to escape, and his kidnap sets in motion a stream of farcical events.

©2009 Tom Sharpe (P)2009 Isis Publishing

What members say

Average Customer Ratings

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Sort by:
  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Judy
  • Taumarunui, New Zealand
  • 04-30-11

Great Fun

Tom Sharpe is still the 'laugh out loud' champion. Fun plot with all of the muddles and misunderstandings that he's famous for and a little twist at the end. GREAT

2 of 2 people found this review helpful

  • Overall
    4 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    4 out of 5 stars
  • Sue
  • Cape Town, South Africa
  • 07-02-12

Very entertaining, light comedy

What did you love best about The Gropes?

This is a typical Tom Sharpe comedy, full of wonderful characters put into very improbable but amusing situations.

What does Michael Tudor Barnes bring to the story that you wouldn’t experience if you just read the book?

The performance by Micheal Tudor Barnes was really engaging with a wide variety of voices for the the sometimes very eccentric characters.

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

It made me laugh out loud.

1 of 1 people found this review helpful

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  • Overall
    4 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    4 out of 5 stars
  • Niwdeweb
  • 12-07-17

Leads its genus, bunot the height of Sharps genius

We'll narrated by Michael Barnes, but not Tom Sharpe at his wittiest best.
Still an intriguingly absurd farce in the Tom Sharpe fashion. However, the characters don't seem to be as well developed as those in the Wilt mild.
having read the book I hoped they would grow on me, but unfortunately didn't.
I've rated the book by comparision with other books of the author. So the standard is still far above the efforts of his peers of this comedy genus.

  • Overall
    2 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    3 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    1 out of 5 stars
  • Mr Peter F Walmsley
  • 08-18-17

The Throwback revisited !

Was a poor rework of the book written in 1978 by the same author - too many similarities in plot and characterisation to that piece

  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    4 out of 5 stars
  • Pears
  • 03-18-17

cracking story brilliantly read

An excellently read audiobook of a lesser known Tom Sharpe book. just wish more were available!

  • Overall
    3 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    3 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    3 out of 5 stars
  • Mrs
  • 12-08-13

Amusing and easy listening

Would you try another book written by Tom Sharpe or narrated by Michael Tudor Barnes?

Yes I would try another book by Tom Sharpe. His writing usually holds the attention and brings many smiles, it is gentle humour and does not seek to hurt or wound..

What was the most interesting aspect of this story? The least interesting?

The description of the central character and the worship that his mother bestows on him is really amusing. He is not the brightest star in the fermament but ends up in a situation that is totally to his liking, through no effort of his own.

Would you listen to another book narrated by Michael Tudor Barnes?

Yes, excellent listening as the characters were all easy to identify through the differing types of speech.

Do you think The Gropes needs a follow-up book? Why or why not?

It did end up on a note that suggested a further book could be written now that the main character is in different circumstances and there are several areas that could be explored.

Any additional comments?

Rather short and ended before I expected it.

  • Overall
    3 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    2 out of 5 stars
  • Amazon Customer
  • 11-15-13

Not one of Sharpe's best

Would you recommend this book to a friend? Why or why not?

No, I'd find it difficult to recommend this book. I like Sharpe's humour and this book begins with the usual farce and mayhem that you would expect but the story seemed to peter out about three-quarters of the way through.

What was most disappointing about Tom Sharpe’s story?

The ending seemed to be cobbled together as if Sharpe had run out of ideas but needed to hit a deadline. I did not think it matched the threads developed in earlier parts of the story.

What about Michael Tudor Barnes’s performance did you like?

I thought his characterisation and consistency in the voices were excellent.

Was The Gropes worth the listening time?

A difficult one. The first half is well up to the usual standards of a Sharpe novel but it fades afterwards and, I think, the last quarter falls off a cliff. Taken overall, I'd have to say no. The Gropes is not on a par with the Wilt series, Blott on the Landscape or Porterhouse Blue.

Any additional comments?

One to avoid unless you are a Sharpe aficionado and prepared to accept a lesser story on that basis.

  • Overall
    1 out of 5 stars
  • Christine
  • 11-29-11

I just didn't get the joke

The subject matter of this story I guess some people would call 'dark humour', i just found it distasteful.