Your audiobook is waiting…

The Spider in the Laurel

Narrated by: Terry F. Self
Series: Rafael Ward, Book 1
Length: 10 hrs and 6 mins
4.5 out of 5 stars (23 ratings)

$14.95/month after 30 days. Cancel anytime.

OR
In Cart

Publisher's Summary

In Tomorrow's America, Belief is the New Enemy. Even a Silent Prayer can get you Black-Bagged.

Historian Rafael Ward is a good citizen, teaching students the government approved narrative of the nation's history. Until the black-baggers come calling. They have a job for him, one he's not allowed to refuse: Ward must go undercover as a Believer and smuggler to hunt down and destroy the artifacts he cherishes. Before he knows it, he's following fugitive Hannah MacKenzie on a fool's quest to recover the legendary Vase of Soissons, a Dark Age relic prophesized to restore faith to the world. 

Soon, however, Ward is betrayed by the Republic he's trying to serve. His only chance to save himself is to come clean with MacKenzie and, together, find the Vase first. Pursued through the cathedrals and catacombs of Europe, Ward and MacKenzie must battle their mistrust of each other to stay alive. Only when they are within reach of their goal do they discover the Vase is not what they thought. With more than just their lives on the line, Ward and MacKenzie must choose between each other and the Vase, between belief and salvation. 

"A fascinating dystopian tale from one of speculative fiction's rising stars" (C.T. Phipps, author of Lucifer's Star

©2015 Michael Pogach (P)2017 Michael Pogach

What members say

Average Customer Ratings

Overall

  • 4.5 out of 5 stars
  • 5 Stars
    9
  • 4 Stars
    11
  • 3 Stars
    3
  • 2 Stars
    0
  • 1 Stars
    0

Performance

  • 4.5 out of 5 stars
  • 5 Stars
    12
  • 4 Stars
    10
  • 3 Stars
    1
  • 2 Stars
    0
  • 1 Stars
    0

Story

  • 4.5 out of 5 stars
  • 5 Stars
    9
  • 4 Stars
    11
  • 3 Stars
    3
  • 2 Stars
    0
  • 1 Stars
    0

Reviews - Please select the tabs below to change the source of reviews.

Sort by:
Filter by:
  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    4 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    5 out of 5 stars

Awsome!

a very interesting story. cool concept and I loved the chracters, the whole odea had me hooked. would get afain 10/10

  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Neal T.
  • Chicago, IL, USA
  • 09-21-19

Highly Underrated

Stop reading this right now and go slap down a credit on this bad boy.

Okay, for those of you who are still reading this, you're in for an excellent treat. Pay no attention to the meager reviews here on Audible. Check out the Amazon scores if you must, and you'll see a totally different picture. Part dystopian, part tomb raider, you're in for an action-packed ride that sucks you in from start to finish. Plus there's enough twists and turns that keep you guessing.

All right, I'm done. Now take the plunge and have fun.

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

My anticipation was not readily met.

While this story is good. It did not lock me in. I found myself drifting off as much as it did on tangents. I had to come back to it repeatedly and relisten to parts that, due to the dryness of the subject matter, I zoned out of. Still the story is good and the characters well constructed (sometimes too much so.)

I was given this free review copy audiobook at my request and have voluntarily left this review.

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

Fantastic!

Loved it! The alternative history and biblical references were awesome. The author really did a great job.

The narrator was also great! His characters were perfect as well as his accents and pronunciations of foreign languages. Impressive!!


I received the audiobook at my request for an unbiased review.

Thanks for the opportunity to listen.

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

Ayn Rand + Dan Brown with a twist of Gaiman

If a Dan Brown novel got thrown into a magical closet with an Ayn Rand book and a book by Neil Gaiman this is what would come out. This book is fast paced with enough mystery to make a person binge to get answers. It took me a bit to get sucked in, but once I was hooked I couldn't stop.
I was not expecting it to go where it did.
I can't wait to get my hands on the next one.
At my request, I received this audiobook in exchange for an honest review.

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

New Indiana Jones

This was a fun adventure. It reminded me alot of Indiana Jones or maybe Robert Langdon. Looking forward to the next book.

At my request, I received this audiobook in exchange for an honest review.

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

The Spider in the Laurel

I was very impressed by this book.It is a take on a possible America that puts christians in the spotlight being oppressed.If you are reported for praying,say goodbye to your family.A man tasked with going undercover to bring tresspassers to light ultimately starts to see things differently.Terry F.Self was a fine narrator.I was voluntarily provided this free review copy audiobook by the author, narrator, or publisher.”

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

Surprising story with a great ending!

I really enjoy books that stretch the imagination and give you different possibilities for our future. This book takes the path of a society in which the United States has turned secular, religion is banned and people are sent to work camps or killed for their profession of any religious beliefs. It centers around religious artifacts and delves a bit into the supernatural, but it's not done so overwhelmingly that it's completely implausible. There's quite a bit of religious speak, history of religion and how some people believe that religion came about.

There's also quite a bit of action as the main character travels from the US where the narrative is controlled very tightly and the citizens are unaware of life outside it's borders to other places where they learn the truth.

I really got into the characters, both good guys and bad guys.

The narration was wonderful and kept a great pace and tone throughout.

Overall, great book.

I was given a copy of this book in exchange for my honest review.

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

definitely worth a listen

I received this book free from ebalst, and the author, and this is my unbiased opion. I enjoyed the story. Good characters, good plot. I will definitely listen to the next book.

  • Overall
    3 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    4 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    3 out of 5 stars
  • S A
  • Portland, OR USA
  • 08-18-17

Fast Paced Adventure

Any additional comments?

This book moves quickly through a Big Brother type future world. It really never came together for me in a way I cared about the characters or the plot. I did finish it, but it left me feeling pretty blah. Reminiscent of Dan Brown or other similar works.
The narrator does a good job and delivers an enjoyable performance.
I was given this free review copy audiobook at my request and have voluntarily left this review.

Sort by:
Filter by:
  • Overall
    3 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    3 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    3 out of 5 stars
Profile Image for Kate
  • Kate
  • 09-07-19

Tomorrow's world...

The Spider in the Laurel, Rafael Ward series, Book 1 by Michael Pogach blends elements of urban fantasy with Orwellian dystopia to bring us a fast-paced debut.

I really liked this audiobook's premise; anything that features a historian and relic hunter has me humming the Indiana Jones theme tune before the book has even finished downloading. Pogach's vision of the not-too-distant future soon snapped me out of my reverie, however, as in 'Tomorrow's America' things are a little more Big Brother than Temple of Doom (despite both having ties to 1984).

The protagonist, Rafael Ward, has his life turned upside-down when the authorities - the mysterious REC - command him to track down a historical artifact at a time when history, if in any way influenced by spirituality or religion, is prohibited. The mission is dangerous and our hero is reluctant... at least until he meets the alluring Mackenzie.

I struggled to connect with the book at first, despite my initial interest in the subject, but after a few chapters it began to click. I'm not sure why it took me that long to really settle in with this audiobook, but once past that early slump it picked up pace and was much more engaging.

Many of the themes in this audiobook make me think of the Reformation. The destruction of history we experienced then is evident throughout England today in many a ruined church and defaced statue. With so many tangible examples of just how easily the state has previously wiped out all traces of a religion with which it clashed, it was not too big a leap to imagine a more contemporary, political landscape in which the same objective might be achieved. Whilst the loss of treasured artifacts tugs at my heart, I was intrigued by a world which was not ruled by religion, especially given its influence in America. (Ours, I feel, is a much more secular society, by comparison.)

With that in mind, I found that I was just as uncomfortable with the religious 'underground rebels' being portrayed as the oppressed good guys as I was with the totalitarian regulation they opposed. I think this was partly because we live in a world full of people who genuinely believe their way of life is under attack, and frequently respond by attacking others' beliefs. Instead of campaigning for greater tolerance they seem to fight hardest for the right to be intolerant. These musings were not unwelcome, I liked that it made me think, and that I did so from a similar perspective to Ward; someone with a deep appreciation for human history, art, architecture, and literature, but without the same connection to the religious beliefs that often underpinned it. I was most able to relate to his character, and appreciated the awe with which he looked upon the intricately-crafted churches and cathedrals beyond his own government's newly-sanitised borders.

The narrator, Terry F. Self, brings the characters alive with an enjoyable, energetic performance, and is pleasant to listen to.

The audiobook's production was very good, except for background sounds in places during Audible chapters 27/28/29/30. For example, a vibrating mobile phone alert went off several times, and actually became quite annoying. It's a rather insignificant thing, but occurred at a tense point in the story when Ward and McKenzie were supposed to be off-grid, which made it stand out more, jarring me out of the story rather than blending into the background.

I would still gladly recommend this audiobook to people who like near-future dystopia, shady government organisations, action, and a little fantasy.

*I received this audiobook free of charge in exchange for an honest, unbiased review.

  • Overall
    4 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    3 out of 5 stars
Profile Image for Norma Miles
  • Norma Miles
  • 08-17-19

Answers await you in the depths.

Rafael Ward is a professor of history and literature and, secretly, an agent for Relic Enforcement Command (REC), this latter being a position for life and one into which he had been co-opted, not voluntarily. Sent in an alternative present, in the Citizen's Republic of America - an amalgam of the U.S.A., Canada, Greenland and parts of Mexico, formed after destructive riots blamed on religion - the belief in God had been outlawed, the teachings and stories relegated to myth and legend, and any relics pertaining to it, from paintings to books to bits of saint's bodies, sought out and destroyed, a fate also awaiting any Believers caught.
Reluctantly entrusted with the retrieval of a religious artifact, Rafael gets caught up in the dangerous business of keeping one of the group leaders, a woman he comes to know as Mackenzie, under observation and travels with her first to France then Italy, where he finds beauty and excitement and the truth that his own government media constantly lies to the citizens. And, all the while, the couple search for ...?

This is a book of many moods. When first it began, although very different, it was reminiscent of Brave New World but later morphed more into Indiana Jones meets the daVinci code. Action is so fast and furious there is little time to draw breath as coincidence after coincidence hurdles out protagonists forward in their quest, through bookshops and churches, tunnels and sewers.to a final dramatic and rather unexpected conclusion. There will be more to come. The narration is very good, fast paced like the story, Terry F. Self reading with expression and enthousiasm, energy infusing every sentence; and each protagonist is given their own appropriate voicing. A remarkable performance with only occasional and slight technical hiccups.

I was fortunate in receiving The Spider in the Laurel as a freely gifted complimentary y following my request to the rights holder via Audiobook Boom. Thank you so much. As a debut novel, it was good, well written and informative as well as exciting, though perhaps just a little bit too contrived. But for anyone who has enjoyed the thrillers of Dan Brown coupled with the archaeological survival prowess of Indiana Jones, with extra sinister figures thrown into the visual writiing, this is the book to read.