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The Gift  By  cover art

The Gift

By: Sebastian Fitzek
Narrated by: Ari Fliakos
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Publisher's summary

Please note: This title contains mature themes, including physical and sexual violence, that some listeners may find unsettling. Listener discretion is advised.

The Gift is an exciting edge-of-your-seat psychological thriller by international best-selling author Sebastian Fitzek, performed by listener favorite Ari Fliakos.

Con man Milan Berg has a photographic memory. But he’s hiding a secret: He can’t read. Unable to interpret the world around him, Milan finds increasingly crafty ways to navigate it. That is, until he comes across a car in traffic with a girl in the back seat. She desperately holds a written note up to the window, but what does it say?

Fearing the girl is in mortal danger, Milan determines to search for her. As he follows a series of clues, each darker and scarier than the next, he’s thrust into a nightmarish odyssey with a deepening, disturbing progression: The clues are tied to his past. Lost in a web of lies, his world is upended as he lands in prison for a crime he claims he didn’t commit. Under the threat of death by his cellmates, Milan recounts his entire story to them from the beginning.

Will Milan save himself and the girl? Is he innocent and telling the truth? Or is he a master manipulator delivering one huge con?

©2019 Sebastian Fitzek and Verlagsgruppe Droemer Knaur GmbH & Co. KG (P)2023 Audible Originals, LLC.

A con man entrapped in the most twisted game he’s ever played.

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About the Creator

Sebastian Fitzek is an international bestselling author from Germany, with published works that have sold more than 15 million copies and been translated into more than 36 languages. Fitzek got his start in radio, later studying law with a doctoral thesis in copyright law. In 2006 he published his first psychological thriller, Therapy, which became a bestseller, as did all subsequent books. Many of his titles have been the subject of several theater adaptations, including Soulbreaker, Therapy, and Passenger 23. Sebastian Fitzek has twice been nominated for the Glauser Prize and has won the Golden Lovelybooks Readers' Award several times. He also received the Hörkules and is the winner of the European Prize for Crime Literature 2016. He is involved as an ambassador for the German Children's Association and as a patron of the association Das frühgeborene Kind e.V. Fitzek was born in Berlin in 1971. He lives with his family in Berlin.

About the Performer

Ari Fliakos is a core member of the Wooster Group, developing original work with the company since 1998, including: Symphony of Rats (premiering Fall ’23), A Pink Chair, Vieux Carre, Hamlet, The Room, Poor Theater (for which he won an Obie), House/Lights, and To You: The Birdie!
Ari has narrated books by John Updike, John Grisham, Jodi Picoult, Jonathan Safron Foer, Richard Price, and James Patterson. He was named Audible's Narrator of the Year in 2017 and narrated 2016’s Audiobook of the Year, The Nix, by Nathan Hill.
TV/Film includes Homeland, FBI, New Amsterdam, Mysteries of Laura, Company K, and Limitless.

Interview: A Reformed Con Man Makes for an Unforgettable Protagonist in "The Gift"

'Usually, the worst enemy is in our head...'
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  • The Gift
  • 'Usually, the worst enemy is in our head...'

Mic Check with Ari Fliakos

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What listeners say about The Gift

Average customer ratings
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  • Overall
    4 out of 5 stars
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    4 out of 5 stars
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    4 out of 5 stars

Who’s the bigger psycho?

Overall, an entertaining thriller, especially at the Daily Deal price. It’s a listen that requires focus, because there are time jumps, multiple POVs, and lost memories that jumble the story something fierce. There’s also a lot of focus on psychopaths, torture and sexual abuse, most of which is integral to the overall plot. While some of the science is far fetched, the scenarios contrived, and certain villains are obvious,
I forgave these slights in favor of the taught, twisty nature vs nurture intrigue.

One thing not so easily forgiven was the opening scene; the beginning prison assault was entirely unnecessary, in my opinion. This story could just as easily have been told sitting in the prison yard and relaying the events from two years before. If you’d prefer not to hear about a violent buggering, skip the 4.5 minute chapter 1 and you will lose absolutely nothing.

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161 people found this helpful

  • Overall
    2 out of 5 stars
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    5 out of 5 stars
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    2 out of 5 stars

Waste of time.

Narrator was okay, but the story was so confusing. It was difficult to keep up with what was going on. I gave up 42 chapters in, but really wish I hadn't wasted that much time on it. I won't be trying this author again.

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9 people found this helpful

  • Overall
    2 out of 5 stars
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    4 out of 5 stars
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    2 out of 5 stars

Story was awful

Story was awful! Glad I only paid 1.99 it. But also dismayed that I paid for it at all.
The reader did very well.

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9 people found this helpful

  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars
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    5 out of 5 stars
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    5 out of 5 stars

Great for a daily deal! Somewhat intense

with only one review before me, I wasn't quite sure if I wanted to get this book. I read a little bit about the author. listen to the sample a couple times and decided to give it a try, especially for the price.

I love stories that have the different narratives for the main characters. jumping back and forth through time and through character. had me rewinding a couple times. but I like that sort of thing. The end did not disappoint me and I recommend this book.

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9 people found this helpful

  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars
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    5 out of 5 stars
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    5 out of 5 stars

Unexpected Twists

I thought book was very well written with many surprises. There was a lot of humor, as well.

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6 people found this helpful

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    1 out of 5 stars
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    1 out of 5 stars

Too hard to suspend disbelief for insufficient reward.

I felt like with every new plot point I had to shut down more of my brain to keep going. If you can ignore the bad science, the bad psychology, the bad philosophy, and the bad criminology, your reward will be a tangled lot with one-dimensional characters behaving in ways that defy logic for motivations that are unclear at best, because when they are clarified they’re garbage. Trauma sprinkled in for dramatic effect with no meaningful exploration of how it might affect a person’s character development, because all the ways this might be explored are sabotaged by aforementioned pseudoscientific hogwash. An education in low bars.

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6 people found this helpful

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    1 out of 5 stars
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    1 out of 5 stars
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    1 out of 5 stars

Very slow, hard to follow

I stuck with it for a couple of hours, just couldn’t finish. Very slow story, didn’t enjoy it at all

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6 people found this helpful

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    5 out of 5 stars
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What a surprise

By chance I purchased this as a daily deal & I am shocked & how much I loved this story! Twists turns & great writing.

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6 people found this helpful

  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars
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    4 out of 5 stars
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Thought provoking

This book took a little getting used to for me. It's set in Berlin and translated, so the culture and street names were very unfamiliar. The book starts with a prison rape and beating, which was a bad start, then gets confusing with different POV's, time jumps and the protagonist's missing memories. However, it does come together at the end and I won't soon forget it. There is some violence and torture, and a lot of general unfairness. I was impressed with the translation. The language is descriptive and flowing to be translated. Like another reviewer said, it would be more authentic with a less American-sounding accent reading it.

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5 people found this helpful

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    5 out of 5 stars
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    5 out of 5 stars
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    5 out of 5 stars

Best book I’ve heard in a long time

I have been finding it very difficult to find a book that is able to hold my attention. Even my favorite authors, while still great, have not. This book, however had me glued from beginning to end.

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3 people found this helpful