The year is 1018 and the war with England is finally over, but the unified kingdom ruled by Cnut of Denmark is far from peaceful. Halfdan has lost everything to the war but his sense of humor. Once a proud nobleman, now he wanders the country aimlessly powered only by his considerable charm and some petty theft. When he finds an unlikely ally in Winston, a bookish former monk, the two set out together for Oxford, the seat of the new king. The pair's arrival in court coincides with news of a murder, and Cnut has an idea only a king could get away with: Why not enlist Halfdan and Winston - the Danish womanizer and the upright Saxon intellectual - to defuse a politically explosive situation? They're given just two days to solve the murder and they set off to uncover the truth, on the order of the king and with the reluctant assistance of the agitated townspeople.
©2013 Brilliance Audio, all rights reserved.; 2013 Martin Jensen
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"Interesting mystery and promising new series"
I bought this story on the cheap as a whispersync set, hoping for something good, and I was not disappointed. This is the first book in a series from Danish author Martin Jensen, his first translated into English. It promises to be an excellent mystery series with great, enjoyable characters. The story takes place during 11th Century England in which the country has not enjoyed much recent stability in leadership. The new king Cnut, a Dane, is trying to unify the various sects of the English population in order to provide a lasting peace across the land. Unfortunately, during a large gathering of his most important Saxon and Danish subjects, a murder takes place that implicates him, as well as threatens to bring complications to his plans for his country. Our two protagonists, Winston (a smart, sensible illustrator of books) and Halfdan (a sly, womanizing opportunist) are placed on the case by the king, and our mystery story takes off from there. There is a fun Sherlock/Watson rapport between the two very different personalities of Winston and Halfdan, and the reader is quickly drawn into the story, with a good appreciation for the historical setting. Not knowing much about this time period in England, I found this aspect fascinating. The narrator Napoleon Ryan has one of those mellifluous English voices that you could listen to all day. His pacing was a bit pokey for my taste, but an adjustment to 1.25 speed helped to alleviate that problem. All in all, it was an excellent listen, and I look forward to the release of the second title in this series in spring of 2014!
"Early English Espionage"
Interesting and delightful listen! Early kings and kingdoms, jealousy and double crosses . . . and an ex-monk turned private investigator . . . the narration is first rate . . . and the twists and turns keep you on the trail trying to figure out whodunit.
"Suspense. Mystery. Humor. History."
What is not to like? It is an interesting and entertaining view of the time period.
"Great EARLY English history"
With these unfamiliar names, it was easier to follow the well crafted story by listening to a talented narrator. I look forward to the subsequent stories.
"This is absolutely fantastic narrated."
Yes. In fact I am. Great voice, great story both read, and especially narrated.
The Hobbit. Great characters--humour--and the middle ages might as well be science fiction.
I love the interactions with the donkey.
It has a perfect name.
Read everything you can get your hands on by this author.
Yes, i thoroughly enjoyed the book and its setting. It was cunningly read, the voice changes were credible at all times.
I am hoping there will be a follow up or at the least more in this vein...
I gave this book 3 stars, which is what I give most books that are interesting without being particularly compelling. The whole idea of the Saxon / Dane clashes during the reign of King Cnut is worth a read. The only problem with this audio is the very slow delivery by the narrator, particularly when voicing Winston. I tried speeding it up, but found I couldn't keep track of the plot at a faster speed. None-the-less, I will probably give book 2 a go.
"Don't buy! Truelly dreadful!"
There is nothing to recommend this audio book. From the instance the narrator starts his horrible drawl you know you've made a mistake. Was it just the awful narrator spoiling an otherwise good book? No, the story line is weak and flawed, the characters are poorly developed and quite frankly repulsive in parts, the pace of the book and narration, tortuously slow. All-in-all this book was a tremendous disappointment. With the wealth of fine historical mysteries and dramas out there ...give this one a very wide berth!
SGMcLean or Hilary Mantel or CJ Sansom or Rory Clements
He had a ridiculousy forced accent which rapidly became extremely annoying and his character interpretation was often inappropriate and sleezy, doing nothing to enhance the story-line.
None of these characters gained my interest.
Gave up several times, listening to other books hoping that when I returned I would see the whole book through. I failed. A book I definitely regretted purchasing.
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