Audible Premium Plus

$14.95 a month

1 audiobook of your choice.
Stream or download thousands of included titles.
$14.95 a month after 30 day trial. Cancel anytime.
Buy for $21.81

Buy for $21.81

Pay using card ending in
By confirming your purchase, you agree to Audible's Conditions of Use and Amazon's Privacy Notice. Taxes where applicable.

Publisher's Summary

Random House presents the audiobook edition of Warlight by Michael Ondaatje, read by George Blagden.    

Longlisted for the Man Booker Prize 2018.

An elegiac, dreamlike novel set in post-WW2 London about memory, family secrets and lies, from the internationally acclaimed author of The English Patient.

‘The past never remains in the past…’

London, 1945. The capital is still reeling from the war. Fourteen-year-old Nathaniel and his older sister Rachel are abandoned by their parents who leave the country on business, and are left in the dubious care of a mysterious figure named The Moth. Nathaniel is introduced to The Moth’s band of criminal misfits and is caught up in a series of teenage misadventures, from smuggling greyhounds for illegal dog racing to lovers’ trysts in abandoned buildings at night.

But is this eccentric crew really what and who they claim to be? And most importantly, what happened to Nathaniel’s mother? Was her purported reason for leaving true? What secrets did she hide in her past? Years later Nathaniel, now an adult, begins to slowly piece together using the files of intelligence agencies - and through reality, recollection and imagination - the startling truths of puzzles formed decades earlier.
 

©2018 Michael Ondaatje (P)2018 Random House Audiobooks

Critic Reviews

"A novel of shadowy brilliance." (The Times)

"Fiction as rich, as beautiful, as melancholy as life itself, written in the visionary language of memory." (Observer)

"Ondaatje brilliantly threads the mysteries and disguises and tangled loyalties and personal yearnings of the secret world...and has constructed something of real emotional and psychological heft, delicate melancholy and yet, frequently, page-turning plottiness. I haven’t read a better novel this year." (Telegraph

What listeners say about Warlight

Average Customer Ratings
Overall
  • 4 out of 5 stars
  • 5 Stars
    28
  • 4 Stars
    14
  • 3 Stars
    7
  • 2 Stars
    5
  • 1 Stars
    0
Performance
  • 4.5 out of 5 stars
  • 5 Stars
    30
  • 4 Stars
    11
  • 3 Stars
    4
  • 2 Stars
    4
  • 1 Stars
    0
Story
  • 4 out of 5 stars
  • 5 Stars
    25
  • 4 Stars
    11
  • 3 Stars
    9
  • 2 Stars
    4
  • 1 Stars
    0

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

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

Extraordinary characters; storytelling at its best

I came to this book with high expectations – and I was not disappointed. This is not an easy read, but it is mightily rewarding for those who like a challenge. Deep and multi-layered would best describe the extraordinary characters as the author develops them along with a remarkable story. We discussed the novel at my monthly book club – at great length! Some loved the 'gaps' that sparked the reader's imagination, while others despised having certain questions left unanswered. Literary fiction at its best. About the reviewer: My reviews may be critical but never unkind or malicious. I am a voracious reader who consumes books in print and audio -- fiction, non-fiction and professional reference -- in equal measure, and my reviews reflect this wide readership.

Sort by:
Filter by:
  • Overall
    3 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    4 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    3 out of 5 stars
Profile Image for Ruben
  • Ruben
  • 08-01-18

4 stars for the good writing, 2 for the story

never really got into the story, only occasionally was I really curious to see what would happen. maybe more of a reading book than a listening one. that being said, there are plenty of beautiful sentences and original images that transport you to the mysterious world of the main character's cloudy recollection of his youth. glad I read something by Ondaatje, but not really hungry for more.

3 people found this helpful

  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    5 out of 5 stars
Profile Image for Hamish Betteridge
  • Hamish Betteridge
  • 07-21-18

Quality writing

Oddly intimate and enveloping , Drawing the reader into his world with vivid memorable images captured in the mind like old monochrome images.

3 people found this helpful

  • Overall
    2 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    2 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    2 out of 5 stars
Profile Image for Joey Queens
  • Joey Queens
  • 02-03-19

Not one of the best listens

I found story dull and slow, and narrator's unvarying wistful tone really annoying. He sounded like a sixth former reading poetry, and didn't do the dynamic prose justice.

2 people found this helpful

  • Overall
    3 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    2 out of 5 stars
Profile Image for Manda N
  • Manda N
  • 08-14-18

Oh dear, a tad on the dull side.......

I had great expectations with this being a man booker nominated read. Certain aspects I loved; the historical period, the sublime language. Simply a shame the story is somewhat dull, I only wish the author had written the story from a more interesting characters perspective such as the sister, Rachel. The audible presentation is faultless and the narrator wonderful.

5 people found this helpful

  • Overall
    4 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    3 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    3 out of 5 stars
Profile Image for Anonymous User
  • Anonymous User
  • 07-10-19

Ripples in the water

This book considers the influences of other people's decisions on the live of the central character. The links about how this information is discovered at times seems tenuous.

1 person found this helpful

  • Overall
    4 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    4 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    4 out of 5 stars
Profile Image for Kindle Customer
  • Kindle Customer
  • 06-06-19

Thoroughly recoomend

Excellent narration; great story. I enjoyed not having everything spelled out to me: allowing the listener to fill-in the gaps.

1 person found this helpful

  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    5 out of 5 stars
Profile Image for Bascot
  • Bascot
  • 03-08-19

Achingly beautiful and infinitely surprising

This is an uncanny experience of a book. One enters small worlds and existences radiant with beauty and stillness or suddenly alert and stark. A mesmerising evocation of the twilit wartime experiences of the protagonist and those he thought he knew, or longed to know. Some enthralling characters here; George Blagden has just the right voice, tone and pitch to bring them alive.

1 person found this helpful

  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    5 out of 5 stars
Profile Image for bookylady
  • bookylady
  • 09-10-18

Loved every minute.

From the first page to the last, I found this to be a great novel to listen to. The narrator's voice was just perfect for this tale of skullduggery and espionage during and after WW2. The cast of characters was both entertaining and intriguing and the historical details were well-researched and often unusual. A war story with a difference and a really nice, satisfying twist at the end. Utterly believable.

3 people found this helpful

  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    5 out of 5 stars
Profile Image for Earnest
  • Earnest
  • 07-27-18

Assembling stories from a grain of sand

An overwhelmingly restrained composition of a book. As close to the manner of creating a painting as I have ever read. We read not about the exploits of many, many unknowable people in a period of terrible savagery and fear, but instead we feel the disruption in the air or water around us as they pass on by. Truly. Imagine brush strokes that suggest war light. Negative spaces momentarily filled. The existence of “war/ness” amongst people so unlikely to be recognized, but immeasurably brave.

5 people found this helpful

  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    5 out of 5 stars
Profile Image for Sarah
  • Sarah
  • 07-04-18

Unsung Heroes

An amazing and enlightening book about a time I had not given enough thought to. Highly recommended.

3 people found this helpful

Sort by:
Filter by:
  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    5 out of 5 stars
Profile Image for @GlobalCrimeFict
  • @GlobalCrimeFict
  • 06-22-18

Deeply moving

I was completely absorbed by the lives of Nathaniel, the Moth and the Darter, and at times moved to tears. This is a book largely about honourable and kind men, who lived on the margins, or had crossed into the criminal world.

1 person found this helpful

  • Overall
    4 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    4 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    5 out of 5 stars
Profile Image for Graham Williams
  • Graham Williams
  • 08-12-20

Audible?

This is another marvellous creation by Michael Ondatjje. What he creates is the story of secret wartime work in England and it's incidental but profound effect on an adolescent boy and his sister. Deprived of his mother and vaguely watched over by a shifting group of people who come to the house, get him odd jobs, involve him in minor criminality. His life never really moves on as he spends years trying to piece together his mother's life and her wartime activities. The reader is excellently chosen, though his reading initially comes across as flat and uninvolving. Gradually, you perceive the character emerging through this performance, but you do require quiet conditions or ideally headphones to hear it. As a listener whose early childhood was in the fifties I appreciated the writer's recreation of those uncertain times, with the evidence of destruction everywhere but nobody speaking about the profound experiences they had gone through; and when 'a tube of toothpaste cost a precise amount of money'.

  • Overall
    3 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    2 out of 5 stars
Profile Image for James W. Matson
  • James W. Matson
  • 12-20-19

ambling, some great moments

brilliantly read. novel lacked some of the order/structureI was looking for. Worth a listen. characters v well crafted.

  • Overall
    4 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    4 out of 5 stars
Profile Image for Mary-Lou O'Brien
  • Mary-Lou O'Brien
  • 10-17-19

Had me at the 1st line

Warlight had me at the first line "In 1945 our parents went away and left us in the care of two men who may have been criminals." Warlight was a bit like sitting through a 3hr epic movie where you get a vague idea of what's going on through the lens of a childs memory. Then the second half the child is an adult and as he discovers more about his past so does the reader. I can't say I loved it, it was a slow and steady burn that given the first line I thought might be far more thrilling than it was.

  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    5 out of 5 stars
Profile Image for Anonymous User
  • Anonymous User
  • 08-23-19

Warlight - a review

Well deserving of a second or third listen. A young boys interpretations and inferences about characters that he and his sister were left with during WW2. His awareness of love as imagined through a relationship that his mother has w a man she has known from childhood. The character development is stunning as is the narration.

  • Overall
    1 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    1 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    1 out of 5 stars
Profile Image for Amazon Customer
  • Amazon Customer
  • 01-17-19

Repetitive, slow, wearing questioning style

I could not recommend this book at all. The storyline was fine but the repetition became exasperating.

  • Overall
    1 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    1 out of 5 stars
Profile Image for Anonymous User
  • Anonymous User
  • 08-27-18

A U-turn

I loved the first third but didn't enjoy the rest of the book. The narrator was great though.

  • Overall
    3 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    3 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    1 out of 5 stars
Profile Image for kate
  • kate
  • 07-13-18

Unnecessarily disjointed plot

A beautifully written but tedious book with an intricate but ultimately uninteresting storyline; even the narrator sounded bored. Set in post war London two children are left in the care of 2 unrelated adults with dubious, mildly criminal backgrounds whilst the mother continues with unconvincing espionage work which ultimately exposes her children to risk. This author is no John Le Carre. There is a final plot twist/reveal but by then I hardly cared.