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Publisher's Summary

When John Rawlings is asked to investigate a secret club and some shady goings-on, he is intrigued. The disreputable Sir Francis Dashwood is believed to be involved, as well as some illustrious members of the British aristocracy.

In disguise and accompanied by the ungainly Sam Swann, John befriends Sir Dashwood and gains access to his home and family, including someone from John's past, someone whose exceptional beauty still hypnotises him.

However, evil lurks in hidden corners of Sir Dashwood's opulent home and there seems to be a sinister element behind the infamous Hellfire Club's debaucheries. Is John putting himself and Sam in danger by trying to find out the truth?

©2007 Deryn Lake; (P)2008 Soundings

Critic Reviews

"Witty, inquisitive, charming and humane... The author cannot write new volumes as quickly as I want to read them" (Steven Saylor)

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  • Performance
  • Story

Medically inaccurate, risible narrative

What could have made this a 4 or 5-star listening experience for you?

If I had listened to a different book.

Has Death in Hellfire turned you off from other books in this genre?

About the book: an author should not think of fiction as an opportunity to demonstrate his or her own ignorance of reality. Deryn Lake cannot seem to distinguish primary from tertiary syphilis (there is a difference); despite making some verbal handwaving in that direction. He (or she--I don't know and don't care) appears to have no understanding of medical knowledge and treatment of the era and little understanding of nature of a disease central to the narrative.<br/><br/>As to the characters: the villains are a all mustache twirling, menacing evildoers as obvious as the heavies in silent movies. The hero, despite his claims to medical knowledge, never does more than exclaim, at one point, "I am an apothecary!" (I choked on my coffee at the time and still can't stop mentally giggling about it.) Despite the hero's claims of medical knowledge, he makes no effort towards getting the poor syphilitic victim some treatment for his disease. (I believe mercury was called for in some way.)<br/>

Have you listened to any of Michael Tudor Barnes’s other performances before? How does this one compare?

Michael Tudor Barnes is one of on my favorite performers and my only reason for picking up this audiobook. Here, though, even he seems not at his best. I attribute this to the material. 4 stars for the fact that he stayed awake.

What character would you cut from Death in Hellfire?

All of them.

Any additional comments?

The second half of this book may be the finest written in the English tongue. I will never know. I couldn't finish.

  • Overall
  • Lawrence
  • Greensboro, NC, United States
  • 05-11-09

More Please!!!

Please, please, more Deryn Lake.

2 of 5 people found this review helpful

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  • Mogster
  • 11-28-10

Drivel.....

Gave this one star as I think that is the minimum possible. I have given up on the listen halfway through. The story is simplistic and childish and all the characters are two dimensional and just plain silly. There is no real 'mystery' to the story and it is so ridiculous the way things just pan out that I was beginning to think that it was supposed to be a comedy, 'Carry On' style! However, even in this endeavour it totally fails. It seems the characters are based on the clich? of bumbling red faced wig wearing 18th century fools. I think the author may be trying to emulate Charles Dickens, unfortunately his story telling abilities are on another planet. Sorry to be so negative, but........

1 of 3 people found this review helpful