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Publisher's Summary

The new, impeccable translation and adaptation of the Epic of Persian Kings by Ahmad Sadri brought to life a host of heroic characters and wove their adventures into a thrilling story spanning thousands of years. Containing four grand tragedies and four beautiful love stories, the audiobook is currently going into its fifth edition. It has been a smashing success. We are delighted to present a 12-hour audio experience of this text (performed by the award-winning voice actor, Marc Thompson) against the backdrop of evocative sound design and music editing of Hamid Rahmanian the creator of the Shahnameh project.

Now, make sure you have a good set of headphone/speakers and tighten your seat belts. This immersive audio experience will take you on a journey back to the soundscape of ancient Iranian heroes, monsters, lovers, and warriors. This is going to be one heck of a ride. 

About the Book: Shahnameh: The Epic of the Persian Kings is the illustrated edition of the classic work written over one thousand years ago by Abolqasem Ferdowsi, one of Persia's greatest poets. This new prose translation of the national epic is illuminated with over 500 pages of illustrations and will be published in April 2013. The lush and intricate illustrations in this edition have been created by award-winning graphic artist and filmmaker Hamid Rahmanian, incorporating images from the pictorial tradition of the Persianate world from the fourteenth to the nineteenth centuries. The new translation and adaptation by Ahmad Sadri, retells the mythological and epic stories of the original poem in prose format. This Shahnameh is an extraordinary literary and artistic accomplishment. 

Published by Liveright , distributed by W. W. Norton & Company Hardcover with slipcase, 592 pages, 500+ four-color illustrations ISBN 978-1-63149-446-8

©2013 Hamid Rahmanian (P)2017 Hamid Rahmanian

Critic Reviews

"Creating this audiobook breathes new life into the Shahnameh stories. It is an immersive experience, making these ancient tales tangible for those who are new to these incredible heroic stories and a delight for those already familiar with the poem" (Francis Ford Coppola)

What listeners say about Shahnameh

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Learn about Persian culture through epic tales

My girlfriend is Persian so I listened to Shahnameh to better understand Persian culture. My girlfriend listened to the first half of the story with me on a road trip and then followed along by reading a Farsi version. I was impressed at how entertaining the stories were, it was like a better version of The Iliad with more poignant moral lessons. At the same time my girlfriend felt the translation was very accurate with only minor details left out and minor differences in the order of events which did not effect the flow or themes of the stories. The decision to put the sections of Shanameh in which Ferdowsi uses his own voice to verse is brilliant and serves as a constant reminder that you are reading a beautiful poem that has survived the test of time.

11 people found this helpful

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A tremendous auditory experience

Any additional comments?

I greatly enjoyed listening to the Shahnameh Audio book. The original book is a long poem with many intertwined stories, hard even for the native Persian speakers to access all its details. This audio book, however, makes the core of the book available to everyone who can understand English. With a epic style narration, this auditory English version echos thousands of years of tradition of graphic storytelling. What I like the most about this version is inclusion of snippets of what could be called the wisdom of the Shahnameh. Ferdowsi did not want to only tell the story of king, but in those stories he masterfully places emphasis on virtues such as kindness, justice over vices—glorifying good people and actions and criticize bad people and their actions, whoever they are. The Shahnameh is not a book of glorifying a particular group, it is one glorifying virtuous deeds and it is great this has been conveyed in this audio book.

7 people found this helpful

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A unique and refreshing audio book experience.

I listen to a lots of spoken words and audiobooks but this one is different. In some chapters you feel you are in the space and even more. Specially chapter 9th and 14th. The production value of this project is just awesome. Highly recommended for the long trip or even in the gym! I myself listen to it mostly on the subway! chapter a day!

4 people found this helpful

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an epic like no other

for years the shahnameh has fascinated me... this audiobook is a good representation of the original epic

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excellent English translation

dramatized by narrator. Will listen again at least a dozen times. a story so characterizing of Persian culture it should be heard by anyone who has a interest in that region

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I loved it!

I loved this epic! It has a bit of everything- romance, war, revenge, adventure... you name it.

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magnificent audiobook and cool sound effects!

I enjoyed listening to this audiobook a lot; the sound imitation and background sound effects made it seem like as if you were watching a movie! I highly recommend this :)

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Fabulous version for Shahnameh

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

Yes, definitely recommended for everyone specifically non-Iranian literature lovers. It is best resource to be familiarized with old Persian culture.

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An epic masterpiece

I loved this audiobook. A timeless and epic masterpiece written about 1000 years ago.
I would highly recommend it.

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Wonderful

An absolutly fascinating story with rich characters , bits of comedy and karma for the storyline through. Coppola really sells it on the voices too. I strongly suggest the whole epic.

2 people found this helpful

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  • Anonymous User
  • 07-16-21

What a tale!

The whole time I couldn’t help but compare it to the likes of the illiad! Loved the story and the storytelling

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  • Anonymous User
  • 08-13-20

Amazing recreation of Ferdowsi's masterpiece

This is one of the most unique audiobook experiences I have ever had. The sound effects and the lively and emotional narration make it so that the piece plays more like a radio play rather than just a translation of the original text.

Ever since childhood, I was infatuated with the stories of Shahnameh, and would buy, read and re-read retellings and illustrations of Ferdowsi's book aimed at children and youth. After reaching high school, my interactions with the stories of Shahnameh decreased to whatever few verses that were included in Iran's standard high school Persian literature books at the time.

However, when I stumbled upon this audiobook about a year ago, I found that my childish joy and enthusiasm for the Shahnameh and Ancient Iranian mythology bloomed anew, as if I had found part of myself that was lost since I had left high school; and I have listened to this audiobook over three times at the time of writing this review. To me, this rendition of the book powerfully portrayed the epic stories and legends described in the Shahnameh and other pieces of Iranian mythology, and brought to life the vivid images that my young self had formed in his mind after first reading the stories of the Shahnameh.

All that being said, there are two points of criticism that came to mind. Firstly, the background sound effects, while immersive and professionally done, were sometimes too loud and the narrator's voice could be barely heard under the sound of swords clashing and trumpets blowing. Secondly and more importantly, I was a bit disappointed to find that this version of the book ended with the epic part of the Shahnameh. While the epic stories retold in this rendition encompass perhaps some of the most powerful, iconic and awe-inspiring legends of the Shahnameh, I was more looking forward to the historical part of the book, wherein Ferdowsi relates the story of Alexander the Great's invasion into Iran, the historical accounts of the later Parthians who removed the Seleucids, and the history of the Sasanian dynasty that ruled over Iran until the Islamic conquest. However this criticism is more personal to me, as I was more interested in the history of pre-Islamic Iran, specifically the Sasanians, at the time of listening to this audiobook.