Regular price: $19.95

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

Earphones Award Winner (AudioFile Magazine)

Award-winning author, narrator, and screenwriter Neil Gaiman personally selected this book, and, using the tools of the Audiobook Creation Exchange (ACX), cast the narrator and produced this work for his audiobook label, Neil Gaiman Presents.

A few words from Neil on Pavane: "When Old Earth Books told me they are reissuing Pavane, which was originally published in 1968, I told them: 'I read one story from Pavane when I was nine, and it scarred me…. I read the whole book as a teenager and learned where that story had come from, and the shape of the whole story and I felt the scars heal….' Pavane was Keith Roberts' masterpiece: profound and still remarkable."

Considered Keith Roberts' masterwork, this novel consists of linked short stories (six measures and a coda) of a 20th century in which the Roman Catholic Church controls the Western world, and has done so since Queen Elizabeth of England was assassinated in 1588. The Protestant Reformation never happened, and the world is kept in a Dark Age of steam-power transportation, with no allowance for electrical power, by a tyrannical Rome. Pavane shows the harshness of life in this society and details the generational struggle for independence by the citizens of Dorset, England. It's through this series of moving tales that Roberts interweaves a discussion of Destiny and History that take the book out of the ordinary. And the author's great love of his native country makes this the most English of novels, and one of the finest in fantastic literature.

To hear more from Neil Gaiman on Pavane, click here, or listen to the introduction at the beginning of the book itself.

Learn more about Neil Gaiman Presents and Audiobook Creation Exchange (ACX).

©1968 Keith Roberts (P)2011 Wildside Press LLC

Critic Reviews

"Roberts's vivid depiction of the day-to-day lives of the common folk gives these stories a tangible reality. Steven Crossley's gentle voice, embedded with a regional accent, enhances the characters and places them solidly in their milieu." (AudioFile)

What members say

Average Customer Ratings

Overall

  • 3.8 out of 5.0
  • 5 Stars
    138
  • 4 Stars
    125
  • 3 Stars
    100
  • 2 Stars
    37
  • 1 Stars
    23

Performance

  • 4.1 out of 5.0
  • 5 Stars
    167
  • 4 Stars
    130
  • 3 Stars
    56
  • 2 Stars
    9
  • 1 Stars
    14

Story

  • 3.7 out of 5.0
  • 5 Stars
    115
  • 4 Stars
    115
  • 3 Stars
    92
  • 2 Stars
    32
  • 1 Stars
    24
Sort by:
  • Overall

Very entertaining and creative

The author does a wonderful job telling this big story through several excellent, connected short stories. Really excellent.

  • Overall
  • Performance
  • Story

Truly a classic

I read this very shortly after it came out and rediscovered the paperback a few years ago. Was delighted to see it in an audio version and wasn't disappointed. I'm generally not a fan of "alternative" universes, but this one works. Loved it

  • Overall
  • Performance
  • Story
  • Spike72
  • San Antonio, TX USA
  • 01-01-15

Enjoyable episodic alternate history

Would you listen to Pavane again? Why?

Not likely. There are just too many books to read.

What did you like best about this story?

I felt Roberts created a reasonable, though not necessarily likely alternate future where the Roman Catholic Church was not challenged by the Tudors or Germany. Technology and society grew in different directions which played out through the book.

  • Overall
  • Performance
  • Story

some chapters better than others...

If you could sum up Pavane in three words, what would they be?

A series of stories down through the years assuming there was no Reformation in England.

What did you like best about this story?

The first 3 chapters were excellent.... I quickly got into the stories. But the last couple of chapters with the older woman who was rebelling was less convincing.

What does Steven Crossley bring to the story that you wouldn’t experience if you just read the book?

His voice was good and his performance was exceptional.

If you were to make a film of this book, what would the tag line be?

England with the Reformation....

  • Overall
  • Performance
  • Story
  • Jennifer
  • San Francisco, CA, United States
  • 03-13-14

thoughtful bursts of story

This is one I have listened to one story at a time. Each takes me into the the alternative world through a different lens, complete in its own framing and development. A thoughtful book which is a counterpoint to action-oriented fantasy/science fiction.

  • Overall
  • Performance
  • Story

Listen to learn you need to read it yourself.

Would you consider the audio edition of Pavane to be better than the print version?

Audio performances are about the only way I can find the time to take in a book, but around the third story I realized the prose was so lush, so magnificent, it demanded I read it myself. It's a dry, dark world Roberts creates, but when he cranks his descriptive engine to full, I sit back in awe. Were I to passively listen I could only take in a fraction of its beauty. Don't get me wrong, the performance is excellent. Just understand, this is the most beloved book from a writer's writer. I started it while driving and eventually turned it off when I realized I couldn't give it the attention it deserved and stay on the highway. Buy this performance, but don't be surprised if you find yourself buying it in print as well. I bought two copies so I could give one as a gift.

Have you listened to any of Steven Crossley’s other performances before? How does this one compare?

I've listened to hundreds of audio books, but this is the first I've heard him read. Gaiman describes this as a book that touched him deeply, and Crossley's performance had to have pleased him. The characters were rendered with care and surprising depth. The man is damned good at his job!

Any additional comments?

Never read anything like it. Thanks Neil for turning us on to it.

  • Overall
  • Performance
  • Story

One of the best alternative history novels

Would you recommend this audiobook to a friend? If so, why?

I would recommend to all sci-fi fans - really great way to keep your brain working on different levels.

What was one of the most memorable moments of Pavane?

Coda put a great spin o things...

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

I both laughed and cried - at different points of the story

  • Overall
  • Performance
  • Story

If the Spanish Armada defeated England...

An alternate history of 20th century England, where giant semaphore towers are the main means of communication. The book is divided into six "measures" and a coda. It took me a while to get into it, but overall I enjoyed it.

1 of 3 people found this review helpful

  • Overall
  • Performance
  • Story

Tedious

What would have made Pavane better?

Perhaps having read it when I was younger? The theme has been done by others with better results.

Has Pavane turned you off from other books in this genre?

Nah - one bad apple....

What didn’t you like about Steven Crossley’s performance?

The part where he's talking.

You didn’t love this book... but did it have any redeeming qualities?

Well, I'm sure the physical book would make a pretty good door stop.

Any additional comments?

Really disappointed, it came well recomended.

2 of 6 people found this review helpful

  • Overall
  • Performance
  • Story

not what i expected

What disappointed you about Pavane?

repeats information; too sci-fi

What could Keith Roberts have done to make this a more enjoyable book for you?

It's a fine book but didn't interest me

Have you listened to any of Steven Crossley’s other performances before? How does this one compare?

excellent narration as always

If you could play editor, what scene or scenes would you have cut from Pavane?

I was after a sustained narrative, not short stories

Any additional comments?

I plan to return the book

0 of 1 people found this review helpful