• I'm the King of the Castle

  • By: Susan Hill
  • Narrated by: Paul Ansdell
  • Length: 7 hrs and 37 mins
  • 3.6 out of 5 stars (42 ratings)

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I'm the King of the Castle

By: Susan Hill
Narrated by: Paul Ansdell
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Publisher's Summary

Charles Kingshaw and his mother have come to live with Edmund Hooper and his father – in their ugly, isolated Victorian house called Warings – for good. To Hooper, Kingshaw is an intruder, a boy to be subtly persecuted, and Kingshaw finds that even the most ordinary objects can be turned by his enemy into a source of terror.In Hang Wood, when they are lost, their roles are briefly reversed but Kingshaw knows that Edmund will never let him be and that he cannot win in the end. He knows it and so does Hooper. And the worst is still to come.
©2005 Long Barn Books (P)2005 Long Barn Books

What listeners say about I'm the King of the Castle

Average Customer Ratings
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  • Overall
    4 out of 5 stars
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    5 out of 5 stars
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    4 out of 5 stars

Makes Bleak House look like a beach read

This is a story so dark and heartbreaking that I find it hard to write this review. The setting is extraordinary, the characters entirely believable, and the writing simply excellent throughout. Unfortunately, I felt like my heart had been ripped out at the end.

I wasn't bullied nor was I a bully, but this story arc was unbearably tragic. If you were bullied, it would be triggering.

I didn't read reviews ahead of time --- I often do not because of spoilers --- but I hoped that if the story were about bullying, the tables would be turned and the bully would get his. Sadly, that was not the case.

But Susan Hill told a powerful, excellent story full of truth and emotion without ever going over the top. I can't fault her because it didn't end the way I would have liked.

5 people found this helpful

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A memorable story

Any additional comments?

This is a book about a bully written before the topic was so talked about.

2 people found this helpful

  • Overall
    2 out of 5 stars

Beware: Spoiler in review reveals ending

A spare and stunningly conceived and written biography of bullying. However, listening to it was like watching a kitten being prepared to be boiled alive. It was literally painful at times to hear the distress of Kingshaw, the main character. I only continued to listen because Hill continued to dangle the hope that the worm might finally and irrevocably turn. In the end, the evil boy triumphs and the sensitive lad succumbs. This at least illuminates our current political situation, in which lies can overwhelm truth, cruelty overpowers kindness, and relentless and prolonged inhumanity, united with mass indifference, defeats the will to fight back. I felt utterly wrung out by the end of the book, but better informed about our political process.

2 people found this helpful

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Devastating

I can see why Susan Hill is a Dame Commander.

This story is devastating and utterly realistic. Another reviewer mentioned being triggered by it. I wasn’t triggered until I came to the part where the mother refused to believe the truth. That brought back all the helpless, hopeless feelings from my childhood and I almost didn’t finish the book. The character metamorphosis of the protagonist perfectly portrays what happens to a child who experiences relentless bullying. Yes, even up to the end. Nothing in this story is exaggerated. It is so realistic that I almost want to say it’s not fiction.

Bullying is no joke. It is psychological torture and it wounds the victim for life. It should never ever be ignored.

1 person found this helpful

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I hated it

It's the worst book from Susan Hill I've read (listened actually) so far...and I usually enjoy them a lot!! Pity, because Paul Ansdell is the best!!!

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    4 out of 5 stars
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  • Anthony
  • 03-24-07

strangely compelling

A dark and broody book. I didn't know where it was heading until finally it got there all too soon.Having read other Susan Hill books i was surprised by the content and as it went on i thought it may have been a childrens book, however the reality was that this was a book about the bullies,the fears and unsureness of juveniles growing up and about the nasty relationships which are so often hidden from most of our lives.
Very enjoyable, even if the ending was a little abrupt!

10 people found this helpful

  • Overall
    2 out of 5 stars
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  • Keith
  • 06-05-10

Somewhat disappointed

I have listened and read quite a number of Susan Hill's books, mostly the Simon Serrailler ones all of which I have thoroughly enjoyed. Unfortunately I felt whilst there were excellent complexities to the characters which certainly maintained interest there seemed to be relative lack of strength to the overall storyline and conclusion.
I was tiring of the book towards the end.
I appreciate that this may only be my opinion, but that's how it is.
Do check the other Susan Hill books out, especially Woman in Black.

4 people found this helpful

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  • Pamela
  • 02-21-15

Pure misery

A wretched tale in which the underdog never wins, a study in bullying and hatefulness. A sad waste of time.

3 people found this helpful

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  • Dione
  • 05-22-21

Unrelenting Suffering and Sadness

I usually like Susan Hills books but this one was very depressing with absolutely no cheer or hope for humanity. One good and kindly character wold have helped to keep me going but I struggled to bear the bullying and harshness the poor little central character had to experience . A cheerful listen is needed for a dose of happiness after this dirge. I kept on thinking it will end with some warmth and humanity but no...

1 person found this helpful

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    3 out of 5 stars
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  • Jacinta Howard
  • 03-04-21

I usually love Susan Hill...

This was just unremittingly miserable. Beautifully written, but what a bleak message. It made me desolate.

1 person found this helpful

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  • Isidith
  • 06-07-18

Poor plot development

This read like an excellent short story, spread out thinly to make a novel. The repeated attacks on Kingshaw become monotonous and his terror seems dull and unappealing as it reduces him to two dimensions. The eventual ending is obvious from the beginning and there is nothing substantial to dissuade the reader/listener. The climax seems to occur about half way through the book, leaving the reader simply waiting for the resolution.

However, as character portraits, and as a depiction of the interactions of pre-teens, it is practically perfect. Certainly enough for 3 stars all on its own.

1 person found this helpful

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  • Amazon Customer
  • 10-19-22

Powerful, cruel, heartbreaking and disturbing.

I first read this book as a 16 year old boy at school. It didn't really resonate with me but I knew that I would have been better off reading it as I matured. Susan Hill has an unbeatable skill of draining all hope out of the reader as she has done in many of her other books. Read it and let it stay with you. it will stay with you for a long time.

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  • Anonymous User
  • 11-28-21

Beautiful depiction of cruelty and desperation.

I read this book about 15 years ago for school and decided to listen to it again during a storm. The book captures the maddening frustration of being a child around adults who cannot see you more than anything I can remember. the claustrophobic atmosphere and the mounting sense of desperation keep this a tense read, but I had forgotten how much tenderness there is in this book, too. That tenderness only makes everything about the story more painful. I think this is a beautiful book but certainly not something you'd read to cheer yourself up.

The narration was also fitting to the story and unobtrusive, which is what I look for in audiobook narration.