• The Knight

  • The Wizard Knight Series, Book One
  • By: Gene Wolfe
  • Narrated by: Dan Bittner
  • Length: 16 hrs and 6 mins
  • 4.2 out of 5 stars (206 ratings)

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Publisher's Summary

From legendary fantasy author Gene Wolfe comes The Knight, the first half of the Wizard Knight duology, now for the first time in audio.  

A young man in his teens is transported from our world to a magical realm that contains seven levels of reality. Very quickly transformed by magic into a grown man of heroic proportions, he takes the name Able and sets out on a quest to find the sword that has been promised to him, a sword he will get from a dragon, the one very special blade that will help him fulfill his life ambition to become a knight and a true hero.  

Inside, however, Able remains a boy, and he must grow in every sense to survive the dangers and delights that lie ahead in encounters with giants, elves, wizards, and dragons. His adventure will conclude in the second installment of The Wizard Knight, The Wizard.

©2004 Gene Wolfe (P)2018 Macmillan Audio

What listeners say about The Knight

Average Customer Ratings
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  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars
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    5 out of 5 stars

A worthy narration of a great story

The audio production was invaluable and motivated me to do a re-read: the voice actor had impressive range, convincing as a callow boy, a boy trying to be a knight, and a knight of sure and well-earned nobility, giving tonal cues for the fast-paced dialogue. However, the audio is best taken as a supplement to the text, since it is often necessary stop reading when a new character is introduced and go back to the list of characters, where Able has sometimes placed information he had forgotten to include in the body of his letter, the whole effect to give a sense of verisimilitude.

14 people found this helpful

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    5 out of 5 stars
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intelligent, well-crafted fantasy for literate adults

Wolfe on the one hand is a thorough and artistically gifted craftsman of narrative. Beset by complexities that he himself barely understands, his narrator Able births a story shimmering with intrigue and puzzles beneath its surface. Undergirded by Wolfe’s seamless prose, occasionally brilliant figurative language, and multilayered plotting, the story builds momentum as it casts us further into its strange, imaginative vision. The narrator’s tone is a perfect blend of straightforwardness, incredulity, naivety, and deliberately withheld knowledge— all of which may sound contradictory but is not so in the context of this narrator’s experience. Herein perhaps lies the finest literary aspect of this engaging story.
I will caution others that I did not fully appreciate this book until a second reading.
In addition to all of the above, _The Knight _ is a fun, entertaining story.
On Audible the narrator is excellent, one of the finest whom I have ever heard.
If you appreciate George Martin’s ASOIAF, Richard Morgan’s trilogy starting with_The Steel Remains_, and similar high-quality, literate adult fantasy, then pickings are lamentably slim. Wolfe’s The Knight and its sequel stand proudly among those other imaginative accomplishments of high literature. This is a book to be reread with pleasure after intervals of some years , which is one mark of its significance. A fantasy to be savored while it sends one’s speculations awhirl. Wonderment, wonderful.

4 people found this helpful

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Great book but robotic, distracting narration

I love this book. I've read it at least four times in print and now I'm on my second listen. I'm braving the Audible version again only because the audiobook format is so convenient, and I have more time to listen (while driving to work or doing dishes or laundry) than to read. The narration is so bad it's puzzling. At first I thought it was a text-to-speech program, but the narrator occasionally tries out different accents for different characters. The pronunciation of the names is consistently bad. The one that I have the hardest time ignoring is Kulili, the goddess of Aelfrice, which the narrator consistently pronounces "Koo Loo Lee." The word "stripling," which Berthold uses to refer to Able, he pronounces "strapling." But the worst part is that the narrator apparently doesn't understand what he's reading. Able's style is colloquial, simple American English, not literary. The narrator will often stress the wrong word in a sentence, changing it to nonsense. If I had not already read the book several times, I would be completely thrown off by this. Wolfe's writing, although extremely rewarding, is difficult enough without this added layer of misdirection in the reading. Sorry, Mr. Bittner, but I wish you had more feeling for the text.

9 people found this helpful

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Confusing as hell.

The writing style is fun, good to listen to, but I was so confused as to why, who, what for, reasons, so if that was what the book was going for then I'm doing it a injustice, but I could not follow what was going on most of the time, and the main character was something else. Usually the main character is somebody you root for, but his actions, hes supposed to be a young teenager in a grown man's body, but it should be a 5 year old in a mans body. He's a bully all the time, not some confused teenager. Was hoping he would get his ass kicked just so he'd stop being such a dick, but I guess that's the story. Couldn't get behind it, couldn't understand what the author was going for.

16 people found this helpful

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    4 out of 5 stars
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great book

The reader nails the male chars, but when the sultry elf maiden seduces the main character you will wish for finger nails on a chalkboard.

1 person found this helpful

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Good book and narrator

Really enjoyed the book, and the narrator does a top notch job. Strongly recommend giving it a listen.

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Glorious, deep, and wonderfully narrated

The Wizard Knight is a fantasy tale that draws on Arthurian tradition and the works of authors such as Chesteron, Tolkien, and Lewis. Gene Wolfe is a deep and meticulous writer, and he adopts a very concrete and subjective perspective in telling his tale. It will take multiple readings to grasp in its fullness, though one reading will suffice for the bulk of its main narrative. That said, it is one of the most beautiful and challenging stories one can read, to be ranked with Chesteron's The Man Who Was Thursday, Lewis' Till We Have Faces, and even The Lord of the Rings by J.R.R. Tolkien.

The narration is superb. Many voices are presented with gusto, character, and clarity by Dan Bittner. I did note a couple of awkwardly phrased lines and perhaps some mispronunciations, but these were minor, and did not detract from the powerful telling of a beautiful tale. Highlights include the dialogue between Able and Lothur, and the emotional conclusion in Able's voice. Highly, highly recommended, but be prepared to put in some work to fully enjoy the experience.

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Rated Low Even Though It Wasn't Terrible

I struggled to understand the imagery throughout this book. I found it hard to follow at parts. I would not relisten to this book.

Also I find the mc to be selfish and nonsensical.

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confusing and random

made it 29 chapters and the disjointed story and random timelines were too much. great performance by Narrator.

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meh

MC is an all around Dick. and not the kind that comes off as a loveable Dick. he answers everything with violence. EVERYTHING. and for some reason everyone loves him. He breaks a no fighting rule by punching a guy and bashing a chair over his head because he interrupted him and the Duke smiles and thinks it the greatest thing ever. And the rambling dialouge is extremely difficult to get past even in the audible version. world building was good. but the characters and plot make little to no sense. but maybe its just me.