• The Old Gods Waken

  • The Silver John Series, Book 1
  • By: Manly Wade Wellman
  • Narrated by: Stefan Rudnicki
  • Length: 5 hrs and 21 mins
  • 4.2 out of 5 stars (738 ratings)

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Publisher's Summary

The first Silver John novel.

In the wilds of Southern Appalachia lies Wolter Mountain - a sacred place for the Indians and their predecessors. But the land atop the mountain, taken over by two Englishmen, Brummitt and Hooper Voth, is undergoing frightening changes.

©1979 Manly Wade Wellman (P)2014 Skyboat Media, Inc.

What listeners say about The Old Gods Waken

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

I loved this!

This is my first adventure with Silver John and I loved it! My friend Ronald recommended this author to me a while ago. I saw this title as one i could listen to for free with my audible membership and I added it to my list. I'm so glad I spent the day with Silver John up on Wolter Mountain. I love, love the dialect. I'm from north east Tennessee and I can vouch for it accuracy. The story was engaging and very entertaining. Stefan Rudnicki reads this. He does a very good job. His voice is very deep and I loved it. He was a perfect match to read this southern tale of horror.

20 people found this helpful

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    2 out of 5 stars
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Old stereotypes

Same old story. I get this came out right before the " satanic panic" of the 80s but some stories are as old as time. Pagans are "evil" ,the villain's of the story with their blood thirsty Gods. The Christians are the hero's, all knowing and righteous. Complete nonsense to the point of being offensive. Not much of a story. The narrator did the best he could with what he had. Glad this was free.

12 people found this helpful

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    5 out of 5 stars
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Brilliant new version of a true classic

What did you love best about The Old Gods Waken?

Stefan Rudnicki brings Wellman's wonderful Silver John to vibrant life with this new performance. Please...PLEASE tell me Stefan will be recording the rest of the John the Balladeer stories.

What was one of the most memorable moments of The Old Gods Waken?

First time I'd heard these stories on audio, and Stefan infuses each character with individuality and authenticity.

Which scene was your favorite?

When we first meet John I cheered because I've been a fan of these stories since I was a kid and it was a delight to 'meet' Silver John in this way.

Was this a book you wanted to listen to all in one sitting?

I sat on the beach with headphones...watching the waves and the whales and listened to the whole thing on a lazy Sunday afternoon.

Any additional comments?

Please record the rest of the Silver John stories. Now.

12 people found this helpful

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Awesome horror story

Awesome horror story, great narration and the story (originally from 1979) still holds up well today

9 people found this helpful

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An Appalachian story needs an Appalachian voice

This narrator is excellent at what he does, but why in the world would you not use a narrator with an Appalachian dialect to read an Appalachian story with Appalachian characters? Or at least someone who could do a fair imitation of one. The narrator was a terrible match for this book.

As far as the story goes, it's a tired old yarn about how the Pagans are bad and evil and scary and we need good ol' Christianity to save us from them. It completely ignores that there was good and evil in the ancient mountains for thousands of years before the Christians invaded. Even the native character fell back on Christian folklore most of the time. Terrible. I'm glad it was free.

7 people found this helpful

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I might could say I enjoyed this rightly

Lemme just say that Wellman has such a way eith characters that it is impossible to not know each of who these people are. Such great detail eith characters, telling who they are in such a fluid way that doesn't feel like a character sheet read off. Nicely done. Its a simple story but I still found myself really enjoying the journey.

Loved Stefan's performance here. I got a buddy from rural Alabama and has a habit of saying "Might Could" so I kept thinking of him each time i heard it said. This was a fun listen thanks to the writing and performance.

2 people found this helpful

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here's the required, not optional at all, headline

This was an awesome find. I have always enjoyed stories of the mountains & the old ways but this was excellently blended with supernatural elements so as to make it awfully difficult to have to stop listening. I only wish that there were more of the Silver John books on audible as seems only to be one of the 4 books has been made available.

2 people found this helpful

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    3 out of 5 stars
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    3 out of 5 stars

Meh

The ending was good. The middle seems like it couldn't fully commit to a genre and it spent waaaay too much time on exposition. I think I might have enjoyed this in October if it has a different narrator and was 1/2 the length.

Speaking of narrator: I've enjoyed Rudnicki on several other books. He's a very good narrator but was the wrong pick for this book. This book was meant to be an oral tale with an Appalachian accent. His clean crisp speech was a terrible fit for the colloquialisms and mountain slang.

2 people found this helpful

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    3 out of 5 stars
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Had lots of potential

Great premise for a story. Great characters, although underdeveloped. The story dips into a great historical adventure but falls flat. The ending is abrupt and disappointing.

2 people found this helpful

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A solid pulp adventure

I gave this 4 stars but I see it as more of a 3.5 star book. The Old Gods Waken has a simple, straightforward plot, some genuinely eerie moments and a good sense of humor. Wellman does a particularly nice job with the Appalachian setting and dialogue. If you're new to this sort of material, this book might have more impact. As a long-time reader of pulp writers like Lovecraft, Howard (and Wellman himself), I found myself entertained but in familiar territory.

Stefan Rudnicki's deep, expressive voice isn't the perfect match for this material but he always does a good job and this book is no exception.

2 people found this helpful

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  • July Moon
  • 08-30-22

A pretty good listen

Stefan Rudnicki you certainly brought this story to life and it was a good story. If I brought a hard copy of this book your voice would be in my head and I would read it just the same.
Manly Wade - Your characters were well rounded and your story fashioned well, the only thing I didn’t like is the the short almost an after thought ‘ let’s have some lovey/hearts and roses people’ - the story didn’t need you to add that, some things are better to imagine when the book is finished. This was a good weekend listen if you have a project to do at the same time.

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  • Matthew B.
  • 08-20-22

Increasingly gripping until an underwhelming end

I very much enjoyed this book/audiobook right through to the last 10 minutes or so where it felt like the author didn't know how to finish the story. Gutted honestly. I was so into it. Thoroughly enjoyed the book don't get me wrong but wow the end came so suddenly and in such an unexpected way. There was so much potential, I was on the edge of my seat listening...and suddenly it was over.

Well worth a listen despite my feelings about the ending.

The narration/reading itself is fantastic. The voice suits the tone of the book as well as given voices of the characters.

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  • Lightboy
  • 04-02-22

Remarkable Folklore in the Appalachians

A new discovery for me, Manly Wade Wellman (what a name!) spins a rich yarn with an 'old time' America feel. Loaded with rural legends, strange original creatures and wise but simple living people in the midst of supernatural events.
This is the kind of tale that makes you want to explore wild places and believe the trees and rocks are haunted, and drips with character with the perfect rich voice of Stephan Rudnicki.
For those readers of Lovecraft - think Dunwich Horror, but far more earthy and more accessable to listen to. For lovers of legends, the supernatural and folklore this is an absolute gem!

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  • Janey
  • 03-29-22

Fabulous

Great story. Brilliant narrator. Thanks to Audible for introducing me to another author I never heard of before. I will definitely seek out his other books, and also the narrator, who has a lovely voice and reads so well.