Regular price: $27.99

Free with 30-day trial
Membership details Membership details
  • A 30-day trial plus your first audiobook, free
  • 1 credit/month after trial – good for any book, any price
  • Easy exchanges – swap any book you don’t love
  • Keep your audiobooks, even if you cancel
  • After your trial, Audible is just $14.95/month
OR
In Cart

Publisher's Summary

In the aftermath of the Norman Invasion of 1066, William the Conqueror was uncompromising and brutal. English society was broken apart, its systems turned on their head. What is little known is that a fractured network of guerrilla fighters took up arms against the French occupiers.

In The Wake, a postapocalyptic novel set 1,000 years in the past, Paul Kingsnorth brings this dire scenario back to us through the eyes of the unforgettable Buccmaster, a proud landowner bearing witness to the end of his world. Accompanied by a band of like-minded men, Buccmaster is determined to seek revenge on the invaders. But as the men travel across the scorched English landscape, Buccmaster becomes increasingly unhinged by the immensity of his loss, and their path forward becomes increasingly unclear.

Written in what the author describes as "a shadow tongue" - a version of Old English updated so as to be understandable to a modern audience - The Wake renders the inner life of an Anglo-Saxon man with an accuracy and immediacy rare in historical fiction.

©2013 Paul Kingsnorth (P)2016 Tantor

Critic Reviews

"[R]ich in ghosts and the old gods, is daring.…" (Kirkus)

More from the same

What members say

Average Customer Ratings

Overall

  • 4.3 out of 5.0
  • 5 Stars
    26
  • 4 Stars
    11
  • 3 Stars
    5
  • 2 Stars
    3
  • 1 Stars
    1

Performance

  • 4.9 out of 5.0
  • 5 Stars
    40
  • 4 Stars
    5
  • 3 Stars
    0
  • 2 Stars
    0
  • 1 Stars
    0

Story

  • 4.0 out of 5.0
  • 5 Stars
    23
  • 4 Stars
    9
  • 3 Stars
    6
  • 2 Stars
    2
  • 1 Stars
    4
Sort by:
  • Overall
  • Performance
  • Story

Very interesting story, Excellent performance!

Any additional comments?

Well written, intriguing story with an interesting mix 11th century Anglo-Saxon and Middle English with enough modern phrasing and words to render it understandable to a 21st century listener/reader.<br/><br/>Speaking of listener/reader, Simon Vance's narration of this book was absolutely remarkable. He took a very difficult text, and transported me back nearly a thousand years. Very good indeed.

5 of 5 people found this review helpful

  • Overall
  • Performance
  • Story
  • Craig
  • Seattle, WA, United States
  • 07-11-16

Please…get me out of his head!

Simon Vance does a superb job (as usual) narrating this microscopic examination of British history. The timeframe, 1066-1068, captures all the pain and suffering of a people vanquished by an invading army.

However, we see most of this turmoil through the eyes, and in the mind of, Buccmaster, a farmer who has gone insane after experiencing the tragic loss of his land, wife and sons. For awhile this is an acceptable strategy to convey the story to listeners, but it eventually unravels when we figure out that there will be no redemption for Buccmaster or his scorched landscape. He merely mutters inconsistent babbling towards the end, thinking himself some kind of resurrected ancient god.

The "Wake" is meant to represent the aftermath of the Norman Invasion, but it is also a metaphor for the death of rationality in Buccmaster's mind. At some points this was grating. I considered returning the book, then thought better of it, reminding myself that history (fictional or otherwise) is good for the soul.

I give this novel one scythe up and one down.

3 of 3 people found this review helpful

  • Overall
  • Performance
  • Story

Natural Narration

The Wake takes place in and around 1066. The grammar can throw you off initially, but is still great, makes it better to hear Buckmaster of Holland. Simon Vance's work as narrator is what makes Buckmaster. Paul Kingsnorth work naturally comes to Simon Vance. If medieval history from a different perspective is what you're looking for, The Wake is amazing, if you'd like to hear it, this is the version to play.

1 of 1 people found this review helpful

  • Overall
  • Performance
  • Story

Great Ideas Wasted by a Bad Ending

I was excited by this book. I had read some of Kingsnorth's latest book, CONFESSIONS OF A RECOVERING ENVIRONMENTALIST, and some smaller pieces. I thought I would give this book a try. At first, I was really excited by the book. The creation of a pseudo Old English language was a very creative way to add depth to the story and make it seem as though I had, indeed, stepped into a different place and time. The ideas in the book, particularly those of religion and place, were also interesting. But the ending was terrible. The best way I can describe it is that it was as if I was reading LORD OF THE RINGS and the entire story just ended right when Frodo and Sam were caught by the orcs while in Mordor. There was no resolution and hardly even a climax. Maybe another comparison would be with MONTE PYTHON AND THE HOLY GRAIL, when everything just stops, leaving you completely hanging. It's just not as funny. The Narrator did a fantastic job at portraying the main character in both speech and emotion. He gets 5 stars. But, as much as I like Kingsnorth's ideas and creativity in this story, the story itself was a flop.

  • Overall
  • Performance
  • Story

Vance's fine narration couldn't save this story

Once you get past the novelty of middle English you realize there is no story line or character worth following.