Regular price: $15.48

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

For anyone who loves sailing and adventure, Arthur Ransome's classic Swallows and Amazons series stands alone. Originally published over a half-century ago, the 12 books are still eagerly read by children and adults alike - by all those captivated by the world of adventure and imagination. Such longevity is not only due to Ransome’s unparalleled gift of storytelling, but also his championing of qualities such as independence and initiative; virtues that appeal to every generation, whether young or old.

In Pigeon Post, the crew's on holiday and they turn their energies to mining for gold, aided by pigeon messengers Homer, Sophocles, and Sappho. The adventurers comb the nearby hills for a fabled lost claim, while being shadowed by a mysterious figure they dub "squashy hat". Undeterred by drought, sudden brushfires, and the continuing presence of Squashy Hat, the young prospectors persevere in their quest - with surprising results.

Arthur Ransome was a prolific writer of children's books. Born in Leeds in 1884, it was his father, a nature-loving history professor, who inspired his love of the outdoors and nurtured a passion for fishing. As a child he enjoyed active, outdoor holidays: sailing, camping and exploring the countryside. He used many of these holiday settings for his children's stories, notably the much-loved Swallows and Amazons, a book that sits comfortably in the category of "timeless classic". In 1936 he won the first ever Carnegie Medal for the sixth book in the Swallows & Amazons series, Pigeon Post.

©2013 Arthur Ransome (P)2013 Audible Ltd

Critic Reviews

"Enchanting and escapist." ( Sunday Express)
"There is plenty of excitement, a little danger, a quality of thinking, planning and fun which is delightful and stimulating." ( Times Literary Supplement)
"Thrilling not only to young readers fond of the sea, but also to older readers who remember how they enjoyed sea stories when they themselves were young." ( The Scotsman)

What members say

Average Customer Ratings

Overall

  • 4.5 out of 5 stars
  • 5 Stars
    6
  • 4 Stars
    1
  • 3 Stars
    0
  • 2 Stars
    0
  • 1 Stars
    1

Performance

  • 4.5 out of 5 stars
  • 5 Stars
    6
  • 4 Stars
    1
  • 3 Stars
    0
  • 2 Stars
    0
  • 1 Stars
    1

Story

  • 5 out of 5 stars
  • 5 Stars
    7
  • 4 Stars
    1
  • 3 Stars
    0
  • 2 Stars
    0
  • 1 Stars
    0
No Reviews are Available
Sort by:
  • Overall
    3 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    2 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Kit
  • 08-16-18

Excellent book. Awful narration.

As a lifelong devotee of the Swallows and Amazons series, I have spent many years being frustrated at the lack of decent audiobook versions of these beloved books. When I discovered the complete set narrated by Gabriel Woolf, I was delighted because he fully and completely understood the material, which was evident from his narration style, and his voice was perfect for the job. His voices for each of the characters were also one hundred percent spot-on, with each one having the proper accent and vocal mannerisms, and their lines being delivered in a totally natural and authentic way. He very sensibly didn't attempt to raise the pitch of his voice for female or child characters. Nor did he give the child characters "childish" voices. Everyone spoke normally and naturally - as written. Apart from a few (to my mind rather charming) fluffs and stammers, and the fact that you could occasionally hear the pages turning and Mr Woolf's chair squeaking, these recordings have been for many years my personal benchmark for audiobook perfection. Except for one major niggle: They are abridged!

So, when I discovered that the whole series was being released as unabridged audiobooks, I was very excited and couldn't wait for them to become available. They seemed, on the surface, to be exactly what I wanted. Unabridged. Read by a male narrator (extremely important). And most crucial of all, read by a British actor of a certain age, who would likely imbue the characters with the correct attitudes and speech patterns for the period. (I did not want any of them to sound like chavs!)

I downloaded Pigeon Post first, because, despite being way out of sequence, it would (I hoped) happily replace the Gabriel Woolf recording, which of all the books is the most noticeably abridged. I couldn't afford to get the whole collection all at once, so I opted for the one I considered most "needed".

Nothing could prepare me for how awful Gareth Armstrong's characterisations are! His narration voice is perfectly acceptable, and for the most part he reads the text correctly. But his character voices are woeful. The adults are okay, though they lack the charm and individuality of Woolf's versions. But the most important ones - the children - are appalling!

If you are British, and of a certain age, perhaps you will remember a children's TV show called "Rainbow". It featured a host, Jeffrey, and three "friends", Bungle (a man in a teddy-bear costume), Zippy (a glove puppet with a zip for a mouth), and George (a glove puppet of an effeminate pink hippo).

Gareth Armstrong's voices sound like they were done by Jeffrey and Bungle (doing the male voices) and George (doing the female voices). Deeply, deeply patronising, with the sort of manic fake-enthusiasm favoured by those who habitually "speak down" to children. He attempts to raise the pitch of his voice for all the child characters - because that's apparently how he thinks children sound - but then he raises it even higher for the female characters. Unfortunately, his voice is already pitched-up to near breaking-point due to the exaggerated enthusiasm that he apparently thinks kids use when talking to each other, so there is nowhere else for it to go. The result is that every one of the child characters ends up sounding the same: manic and moronic, apart from Dorothea, who sounds like a sultry (but retarded) seductress!

(He also repeatedly refers to Dorothea as Dorothy, which is intensely annoying).

The voices get worse and more annoying as the book proceeds. At first, Nancy and Peggy are given vaguely Northern accents (which I don't much like, but would have adjusted to), but by the middle of the book they mostly speak with the same voice and accent as everybody else, although in a few places Dick inexplicably becomes Northern. None of the voices are consistent, and it is almost never possible to identify which character is speaking from their voice alone, except for that silky smooth seductress, the ever sultry (yet retarded) Dorothea!

I can't emphasise enough how inappropriate and disappointing Mr Armstrong's performance is. He clearly totally misjudged and misunderstood both the material and the audience. It is patently obvious that he thinks these are "children's books" and therefore need to be read in that "style".

But these are not Thomas the Tank Engine books!

The Swallows and Amazons series features children as its central characters, and is certainly child-friendly, and has been read and loved by children for generations. But they are NOT children's books. They are books for people of all ages, written in a sensible, mature vernacular that NEVER speaks down to the reader, and assumes a certain level of knowledge, intelligence, and maturity that - particularly nowadays - is decidedly grown-up. I strongly suspect that the audience for these books in the 21st century consists almost entirely of people aged 40+, whose childhood's occurred in the days before computer games, CGI, social networking, and the internet.

These are "classic" stories, most likely to be enjoyed by "classic" people. And the narration ought to reflect that fact. Gabriel Woolf's near-perfect performance does. Gareth Armstrong does the exact opposite.

  • Overall
    4 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    3 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    4 out of 5 stars
  • Jeremy
  • 08-19-15

Arthur Ransome Classic

A great story with a happy ending and, unusually, for AR, hardly a boat in sight. The reader gets most of it right but occasionally puts the wrong emphasis in a sentence that grates a bit, but not enough to spoil the overall pleasure.

  • Overall
    4 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    3 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Zero Wolf
  • 07-30-15

Childhood favourite

My mother loved these books as a child and I have listened to nearly all on audible. Pigeon Pigeon is my favourite. The plot is very funny and clever. I nearly died of laughing about the armadillo! The only problem is that the reader makes the bad mistake of calling Dorothea Dorothy, which has quite a different feel, though nearly the same name.


  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    5 out of 5 stars
  • F. Walshaw
  • 07-19-15

My favourite Swallows & Amazons story so far

Brilliant couldn't stop listening to it! Exciting, believable and such fun I wanted to be there as well.

  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    5 out of 5 stars
  • jo
  • 06-22-15

Wonderful

I love this series. Tales of a bygone era where children could roam free just being kids

  • Overall
    4 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    4 out of 5 stars
  • Jane
  • 02-09-17

Srsly what is up with Captain Flint

Is he some sort of factotum? What is with his bizarre menagerie of pets? Baffling

0 of 1 people found this review helpful