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The House of Special Purpose

Narrated by: Stefan Rudnicki
Length: 14 hrs and 44 mins
Categories: Fiction, Historical
4.5 out of 5 stars (139 ratings)

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Publisher's Summary

Part love story, part historical epic, part tragedy, The House of Special Purpose illuminates an empire at the end of its reign. Living in England with his beloved wife, Zoya, Georgy prepares to make one final journey back to the Russia he once knew and loved, the Russia that both destroyed and defined him. As Georgy remembers days gone by, we are transported to Saint Petersburg, to the Winter Palace of the tzar, in the early twentieth century - a time of change, threat, and bloody revolution. As Georgy overturns the most painful stone of all, we uncover the story of the house of special purpose.

©2012 John Boyne (P)2013 Blackstone Audio, Inc.

Critic Reviews

“John Boyne brings a completely fresh eye to the most important stories…He guides us through the realm of history and makes the journey substantial, poignant, real. He is one of the great craftsmen in contemporary literature.” (Colum McCann,  New York Times bestselling author)
“A riveting, bittersweet tale of love, loss, and intrigue…a compelling read.” ( Winnipeg Free Press)
“Boyne exercises total control over pace and revelation. A work that chimes perfectly with our times.”—Irish Times

What members say

Average Customer Ratings

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  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    5 out of 5 stars

Best book I have read in years!

There is nothing I disliked about this book, the narrator was perfect, the story, the characters, the descriptions... I cried a lot at the end. I searched for pictures of the real events that the story is based on, and it made it so much better. I hope you enjoy it!

8 of 8 people found this review helpful

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    5 out of 5 stars
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  • Gretchen
  • Salinas, CA, United States
  • 01-17-19

What other book can follow this?

Listening to The House of Special Purpose was a rich experience and I feel lost now I have finished the book. The story brought this period of Russian history to life. The character development and narration were fantastic. Thank you John Boyne for writing this book.

3 of 3 people found this review helpful

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the narrator makes the book

the story is interesting in the verbiage is terrific. Combine that with the accent of the narrator makes a wonderful Tale

3 of 3 people found this review helpful

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    5 out of 5 stars
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  • lynn
  • louisville, Cayman Islands
  • 08-28-18

Terrific

I am a John Boyne fan--has an amazing "painterly" writing style, and among the best for putting you in a scene. "House" at it's core is a romance with a heartfelt twist that breathes new life into an historical Russian mystery. Stefan Rudnicki is dead brilliant and the perfect choice for voice. The fact that the story toggles back and forth in time is a perfect mechanism that keeps the reader from what might have been a worn historical fiction. Loved it!!!!

2 of 2 people found this review helpful

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    5 out of 5 stars
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Wonderful

If only it were true...
This was a beautiful and heartbreaking tale.
I was completely enthralled.

1 of 1 people found this review helpful

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    4 out of 5 stars
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    3 out of 5 stars
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    4 out of 5 stars

Not as good

The story goes back and forth in time and is a bit hard to follow at first but what makes it more challenging is the narrator. His voice is just too deep and booming for these characters and it was distracting. John Boyne’s other book “the hearts invisible furies” is one of my favorites!! Read that if you haven’t yet. He is an excellent writer.

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  • CDRoyall
  • Orange County, CA United States
  • 02-13-19

enjoyed every minute!

well done. thank you for a very entertaining story. I guessed the surprise early on which made it even better because I couldn't wait to hear how their story unfolded.

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Didn't want to stop listening

Captured and held my imagination from cover to cover! The reader does a great job of keeping you engaged.

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  • kh
  • Canal Winchester, Ohio United States
  • 10-12-17

Best I've listen to in a long time

Very enjoyable book with engaging, well written story. Narration excellent. Especially liked the way story revealed with past and present interlaced.

1 of 2 people found this review helpful

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    2 out of 5 stars
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    2 out of 5 stars

Another try at an old story.

I came close to not even bothering to finish this book. It was slow and skipped around a lot. I kept wondering where the heck it was going. Finally the plot and story ending dawned on me. Just another attempt to recreate a worn out plot. Even the title was odd as it only related to one incident in the book, albeit an important one. I'd say keep looking if you are thinking about reading this.

1 of 3 people found this review helpful