• The Red Hill

  • Thomas Berrington, Volume 1
  • By: David Penny
  • Narrated by: Ian Russell
  • Length: 11 hrs and 16 mins
  • 3.8 out of 5 stars (112 ratings)

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The Red Hill  By  cover art

The Red Hill

By: David Penny
Narrated by: Ian Russell
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Publisher's summary

In 1482 the Englishman Thomas Berrington is living in the last remnants of Moorish Spain. A physician, he is an unwilling friend to the most powerful man in the kingdom. When bodies start to turn up, each showing the marks of a savage attack, Thomas is asked to investigate.

When one of the Sultan's wives is brutally murdered, what begins as a reluctant task turns into a fight for survival. Together with the eunuch Jorge, Thomas attempts to hunt down the killer before they become his next victims. Except nothing is as it seems - friends turn into enemies and enemies into friends.

Thomas's investigation lays bare the secrets of the Red Hill and the people who inhabit it. His discoveries culminate in a battle not only for his own life, but for the lives of those he loves.

©2014 David Penny (P)2016 David Penny

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Worth it for the second novel

First, Ian Russell's narration is excellent, as always. Very good character differentiation, including among female characters, not always a strength for male narrators.

As for the book, the first 2/3 is very good - solid characters with backstory, good flow, believable plot.

Then something goes kind of haywire, and the execution turns into kind of a mess. Repeated exposition, people running this way and that, unsupported decisions, changes in character definition to justify plot points (including a sudden memory glitch in a character who never would have forgotten such a thing). It was frustrating, because it wasn't necessary -- the evidence had been set up well. It felt like the editor quit part way through.

HOWEVER! I had inadvertently listened to the second book in this series, Bone Breaker, which was excellent, no such problems, very enjoyable (also narrated by Ian Russell). It would have been better if I had listened to this one first to understand the relationships... but I'm not sure I would have gone on to the next one if I'd started here.

So! Listen to The Red Hill, enjoy, suspend your disbelief through the messy bits, then move on to Bone Breaker, a real treat.

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