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Kenneth

  • 25
  • reviews
  • 7
  • helpful votes
  • 31
  • ratings
  • Pompeii

  • By: Robert Harris
  • Narrated by: Steven Pacey
  • Length: 10 hrs and 18 mins
  • Unabridged
  • Overall
    4.5 out of 5 stars 26
  • Performance
    5 out of 5 stars 23
  • Story
    4.5 out of 5 stars 22

A sweltering week in late August. Where better to enjoy the last days of summer than on the beautiful Bay of Naples? All along the coast, the Roman Empire's richest citizens are relaxing in their luxurious villas. The world's largest navy lies peacefully at anchor in Misenum. The tourists are spending their money in the seaside resorts of Baiae, Herculaneum and Pompeii. Only one man is worried.

  • 5 out of 5 stars
  • Not revisited, but re-enacted

  • By Kenneth on 03-06-2019

Not revisited, but re-enacted

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

Reviewed: 03-06-2019

With his usual accuracy of detail and skill in storytelling, Robert Harris has allowed us to enter into what was one of the most horrendous and mind-altering events of Roman history. People of our century know Pompeii as a faintly gruesome historic tourist destination; Harris peoples it with inhabitants like us. His use of scientific volcanic quotations and facts about water engineering is both fascinating and informative. Steven Pacey’s reading of the story is excellent.

  • The Inklings

  • C. S. Lewis, J. R. R. Tolkien, Charles Williams, and Their Friends
  • By: Humphrey Carpenter
  • Narrated by: Bernard Mayes
  • Length: 12 hrs and 40 mins
  • Unabridged
  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars 4
  • Performance
    5 out of 5 stars 4
  • Story
    5 out of 5 stars 4

During the 1930s at Oxford, C. S. Lewis, J. R. R. Tolkien, and Charles Williams - remarkable friends, writers, and scholars - met regularly to discuss philosophy and literature and to read aloud from their own works in progress. Calling themselves the Inklings, their circle grew. It was in this company that such classics as The Lord of the Rings, The Screwtape Letters, and The Lion, the Witch, and the Wardrobe first found an audience.

  • 5 out of 5 stars
  • Certainly surprised by joy

  • By Kenneth on 05-03-2019

Certainly surprised by joy

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

Reviewed: 05-03-2019

What an insightful account of a remarkable group. To bring this group from a possible fate of being simply an academic footnote to a fascinating and informative account of creative humanity is a tour de force. The vignettes of less well known members of the group are marvellous. And Bernard Mayes’ reading of it is wonderfully warm and clear.

  • The Daughter of Time

  • By: Josephine Tey
  • Narrated by: Derek Jacobi
  • Length: 5 hrs and 23 mins
  • Unabridged
  • Overall
    4 out of 5 stars 19
  • Performance
    4.5 out of 5 stars 17
  • Story
    4.5 out of 5 stars 17

'Truth is the Daughter of Time' is an old proverb. And The Daughter of Time is Josephine Tey's search for the truth about the murder of the Princes in the Tower. Was the hunchback, Richard III, the monster that Shakespeare and the history books have made him out to be?

  • 5 out of 5 stars
  • History without Tears

  • By Kenneth on 07-07-2018

History without Tears

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

Reviewed: 07-07-2018

It is the rare writer that can maintain the reader’s interest when the setting of the entire novel is a single hospital room, and when the subject matter is a research into, and an analysis of, historical data. But that is exactly what Josephine Tey has done. And the competent and clear reading of the text adds a further attractive dimension to it: it is Derek Jacobi doing what he does so very well. Having read the book decades ago, what a pleasure it has been to be able to listen to it now.

  • Scoop

  • By: Evelyn Waugh
  • Narrated by: Simon Cadell
  • Length: 6 hrs and 34 mins
  • Unabridged
  • Overall
    4.5 out of 5 stars 15
  • Performance
    5 out of 5 stars 14
  • Story
    4.5 out of 5 stars 15

Lord Copper, newspaper magnate and proprietor of the Daily Beast, has always prided himself on his intuitive flair for spotting ace reporters. That is not to say he has not made the odd blunder, however, and may in a moment of weakness make another. Acting on a dinner party tip from Mrs. Algernon Stitch, Lord Copper feels convinced that he has hit on just the chap to cover a promising war in the African Republic of Ishmaelia. So begins Scoop.

  • 5 out of 5 stars
  • Thoroughly enjoyable

  • By Kristine on 25-11-2018

Voles triumphant!

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

Reviewed: 20-07-2017

The wit, the observation, the storytelling, the plethora of unforgettable (and recognised) characters – one could ask for little more in a novel that keeps one chuckling all the way through. It is Waugh at his very best. And the performance by Simon Cadell is wonderful - with great subtlety, he catches, in his various voices, the essence of each character, and makes every minute of our listening to his reading a pure delight.

  • Shadow of the Silk Road

  • By: Colin Thubron
  • Narrated by: Jonathan Keeble
  • Length: 13 hrs and 52 mins
  • Unabridged
  • Overall
    4.5 out of 5 stars 6
  • Performance
    4.5 out of 5 stars 6
  • Story
    4.5 out of 5 stars 6

Out of the heart of China into the mountains of Central Asia, across Northern Afghanistan and the plains of Iran into Kurdish Turkey, Colin Thubron undertakes a journey along the greatest land route on earth: the Silk Road. Travelling 7,000 miles in eight months, he traces the passage not only of trade and armies, but of ideas, religions and inventions.

  • 5 out of 5 stars
  • A marvel to hear

  • By Kenneth on 03-03-2017

A marvel to hear

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

Reviewed: 03-03-2017

It is more than 20 years since first I read this book, and others, by Colin Thubron. I was immediately taken by the lucidity of the prose and the clarity of his observations; and now to find it read with such intelligence and understanding by Jonathan Keeble is a bonus beyond measure. I would recommend it highly.

  • The King Must Die

  • By: Mary Renault
  • Narrated by: Kris Dyer
  • Length: 15 hrs and 46 mins
  • Unabridged
  • Overall
    4 out of 5 stars 2
  • Performance
    5 out of 5 stars 2
  • Story
    4 out of 5 stars 2

The epic of Thesus, the boy-king of Eleusis, ritually preordained to die after one year of marriage to the sacred queen but who defies God's decree and claims his inheritance - the throne of Athens. This re-creation of a Greek myth is written by the author of The Last of the Wine.

  • 5 out of 5 stars
  • Evocation of a forgotten civilisation

  • By Kenneth on 28-12-2016

Evocation of a forgotten civilisation

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

Reviewed: 28-12-2016

The world of the Minatour and the bull dancers is brought from ancient frescoes into the immediacy of our present-day imagination. A wonderful re-telling and reading of the classic legend. All honour to both author and reader.

  • The Bull from The Sea

  • By: Mary Renault
  • Narrated by: Kris Dyer
  • Length: 11 hrs and 7 mins
  • Unabridged
  • Overall
    4 out of 5 stars 2
  • Performance
    5 out of 5 stars 2
  • Story
    4 out of 5 stars 2

This second instalment in the story of the legendary hero begins with Theseus' triumphant return from Crete after slaying the Minotaur. Having freed the city of Athens from the onerous tribute demanded by the ruler of Knossos - the sacrifice of noble youths and maidens to the appetite of the Labyrinth's monster - Theseus has returned home to find his father dead and himself the new king. But his adventures have only just begun: He still must confront the Amazons; capture their queen, Hippolyta; and face the tragic results of Phaedra's jealous rage.

  • 5 out of 5 stars
  • Legends Reborn

  • By Kenneth on 28-12-2016

Legends Reborn

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

Reviewed: 28-12-2016

We tend to grow up knowing legends presented either as children's entertainment or read by chance when in primary or junior secondary school. To come across them again as an adult could be a dangerous activity in terms of disillusionment or dismissal. However, Mary Renault not only re-presents the stories, but offers interpretation and commentary on them that allow them to assume their proper stature.

And in this audiobook Kris Dyer's reading captures the youthfulness of the narrator, Theseus, as well as pointing to his destiny.

  • The Praise Singer

  • By: Mary Renault
  • Narrated by: Tim Bentinck
  • Length: 11 hrs and 5 mins
  • Unabridged
  • Overall
    4 out of 5 stars 3
  • Performance
    4.5 out of 5 stars 3
  • Story
    4 out of 5 stars 3

Set in sixth-century Greece at the time of the Tyrants, the Persian Wars, and a great flowering of the arts, this novel takes the form of Simonides' memoirs, written in retirement in Sicily. The author was a fellow of the Royal Society of Literature, and she also wrote "The King Must Die".

  • 5 out of 5 stars
  • Worthy of Great Praise

  • By Kenneth on 25-10-2016

Worthy of Great Praise

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

Reviewed: 25-10-2016

It is remarkable how effective Mary Renault is in peopling the past with characters that we recognise and respond to. In The Praise Singer, she takes, as the protagonist, a figure from the sixth century BC, Simonides, about whom we know relatively little, but who is regarded as one of the great lyric poets of that period in ancient Greece. And yet, in her presentation, she makes him live fully and convincingly in our minds and imaginations . And Mary Renault's clear knowledge of that complex period of Greek history when all was in flux, is truly awe-inspiring. It is a fascinating and enlightening work.

And in this audible version of it, all praise should be given to the narrator for his excellent reading of the text. He can nuance his voice, for the various people that we meet, in a most effective way, but for me, his skill came out most effectively in the various dialogues we hear: the continuing dialogue between Simonides and his brother; the great dialogue between Simonides and the hetaera, as well as others.

It is a book Simonides would have found worthy of song.

  • The Mask of Apollo

  • By: Mary Renault
  • Narrated by: Barnaby Edwards
  • Length: 15 hrs and 31 mins
  • Unabridged
  • Overall
    4 out of 5 stars 4
  • Performance
    4 out of 5 stars 4
  • Story
    4 out of 5 stars 4

In a vivid depiction of Ancient Greece and its legendary heroes, The Mask of Apollo tells the story of Nikeratos, the gifted tragic actor at the centre of political and cultural activity in Athens, 400 B. C. Wherever he goes, Nikeratos carries a golden mask of Apollo, a relic and reminder of an age when the theatre was at the height of its greatness and talent. Only a mascot at first, the mask gradually turns into Nikeratos' conscience as he encounters famous thinkers, actors, and philosophers, including the famous Plato himself.

  • 5 out of 5 stars
  • Enriching insight

  • By Kenneth on 21-10-2016

Enriching insight

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

Reviewed: 21-10-2016

I know of no other work, fictional or analytical, that allows the reader to enter into, and appreciate, the world of the Greek theatre and its place within the society of the Ancient World. And achieving that, it allows us to see why Greek theatre still influences and attracts 21st century people.

The narrator reads the text wonderfully, with the correct lightness of tone, but astuteness of observation, for a protagonist who is, in fact, giving us a sort of diary, covering the events that simply happen around him.

  • The Ocean at the End of the Lane

  • By: Neil Gaiman
  • Narrated by: Neil Gaiman
  • Length: 5 hrs and 43 mins
  • Unabridged
  • Overall
    4.5 out of 5 stars 344
  • Performance
    4.5 out of 5 stars 324
  • Story
    4.5 out of 5 stars 324

The Ocean at the End of the Lane is a fable that reshapes modern fantasy: moving, terrifying and elegiac - as pure as a dream, as delicate as a butterfly's wing, as dangerous as a knife in the dark - from storytelling genius Neil Gaiman. It's about memory and magic and survival, about the power of stories and the darkness inside each of us. It began for our narrator forty years ago when the family lodger stole their car and committed suicide in it, stirring up ancient powers best left undisturbed.

  • 5 out of 5 stars
  • Magical and imaginative!

  • By Isabelle on 31-05-2016

Exquisite

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

Reviewed: 09-10-2016

Gaiman's ability to enter in to and express the mind of a child is simply remarkable. Add that to his consummate ability to tell a good story, and one has something that any civilised person should have as part of his reading knowledge