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Publisher's Summary

The beloved first novel in Tad Williams' classic fantasy series Memory, Sorrow and Thorn.

Kitchen-boy Simon is bored, restless and 14 years old - a dangerous combination. It seems, however, that his life has just taken a turn for the better when he's apprenticed to his castle's resident wizard. As Simon's learning to read and write under Doctor Morgenes' tutelage, forces greater than he could possible imagine are gathering: forces which will change Simon's life - and his world - forever.

Following the death of Good King John, Osten Ard is plunged into civil war as his sons battle for control of the fabled Dragonbone Chair - the country's throne as well as the symbol of its power. Simon is forced to flee the only home he has ever known, a journey which will test him beyond his worst nightmares. 

With The Dragonbone Chair, Tad Williams introduced readers to the incredible fantasy world of Osten Ard and kicked off the beloved, internationally best-selling series Memory, Sorrow and Thorn.

©1988 Robert Paul ‘Tad’ Williams, published by permission of DAW Books (P)2015 Hodder & Stoughton

What listeners say about The Dragonbone Chair

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Nostalgia and Surprise

What did you like most about The Dragonbone Chair?

A classic from my childhood I have read the paperbacks again and again. This is a classic fantasy tale, one I have thoroughly enjoyed every time I have visited it. The audiobook adds an extra dimension and the performance by Andrew Wincott helped bring this story to life.

Who was your favorite character and why?

Simon is and always will be my favourite character in this book. The daydreaming youth who has responsibilities thrust upon him. Its a character I can relate to and sympathize with.

Which character – as performed by Andrew Wincott – was your favourite?

A tough question, I felt he did such a great job with them all. I did rather enjoy his portrayal of Duke Isgrimnir the gruff old duke from the north.

Did you have an emotional reaction to this book? Did it make you laugh or cry?

There were definately moments when i laughed whilst listening to this story, but mostly it just swept me back into my childhood memories of reading this, with the delightful surprise of experiencing someone else's vision for how the characters sounded.

10 people found this helpful

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would recommend

one of the best I've read in my 21 years. anyone who loves fantasy should read, and everyone else too.

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Boring narrator

If only this story had a better narrator. I've read these books and decided to listen to the audible version. Dumb mistake. Read the book and you will love it. Listen to it and you will want to rio your ears off. 😳

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excellent presentation

I've been listening to audio books for many years and have found myself a hard man to please now. Struggling to find audio books as good as Robert Jordans Wheel of time or Lord of the Rings, or the Black Company. This was excellent. a very good story, and an excellent narrator. I highly recommend it.

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awesome.

just bought book two so I con continue listening to this compelling story. can't wait to start it.

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excellent

this is a great book and purly brilliant narration. happy recommend this book to anyone

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Dragon bone chair

Awesome story!Narrated brilliantly, if the next book is as good as this, I'll be eagerly awaiting the next book.

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One of the best

Narrated so well. This is one of my favourite series of books, downloading the next as I type this!!

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slow start strong finish

very very slow start. finished with a bang and a cliff hanger. enjoyed the voicing and accents.

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Excellent narration!

I loved this book when I was younger and thoroughly enjoyed revisiting it as an audio book. How does the narrator keep track of all the different voices! He does a really good job of flagging the different groups with different accents.

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  • 9littlebees
  • 16-12-2015

Excellent fantasy with superb narration

What did you like best about this story?

This is a traditional fantasy epic, but unlike many from its era, it derives much of its inspiration from the original European mythology, and not Tolkien's interpretation. Here we have fair elves, but they are much more savage and alien than those of Tolkien.

While the story is a somewhat cliched kitchen boy's journey to power, it is a cracking yarn that I found to have a good mix of action, suspense and intrigue.

What does Andrew Wincott bring to the story that you wouldn’t experience if you just read the book?

Love the accents for the different cultures on show. Andrew mixes the standard British English accents with Welsh, Norse and Scottish, among others.

1 person found this helpful

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  • Sean
  • 18-08-2015

Epic relatable fantasy. Gritty and wonderful!

Where does The Dragonbone Chair rank among all the audiobooks you’ve listened to so far?

It ranks up near the top. I love this novel and I really hope the entire Memory, Sorrow and Thorn trilogy is made available by Audible.

What other book might you compare The Dragonbone Chair to and why?

A Song of Ice and Fire by George RR Martin
The Riftwar Saga by Raymond E. Feist

Have you listened to any of Andrew Wincott’s other performances before? How does this one compare?

I don't normally focus on narration unless it is especially awful. The narrator did a great job and I'd be happy to hear him voice any further novels in the series.

If you were to make a film of this book, what would the tag line be?

Read or listen to books - don't watch movies.
Theater of the mind - use it!

Any additional comments?

This is the first novel in a fantasy trilogy about Simon, his friends, and a land in turmoil as an inescapable darkness approaches.
Simon is neither a magician or a magical warrior. He's a flawed and believable character amid a great number of flawed and believable characters - in a world painted believable despite the fantasy setting.

I'm not normally a HUGE fan of fantasy because often the authors of big fantasy epics get bogged down trying to fill a huge world with hundreds of characters and their stories.

Tad William's keeps a tight narrative focus and only expands on the stories of other characters when it pushes the over arching plot forward. It's an amazing trick to pull off - there ARE other stories in here besides Simon's - but they never seem unnecessary and they always add to the over arching plot rather than being distracting word bloat.

When you've finished this novel you'll be aching for the next installment. I promise you.

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  • Viktor
  • 23-02-2016

A word of caution.

First, let me say that the world, plot and narration are all excellent. However, it falls short were it truly matters, the main character. The kitchen boy, Simon, is naive, clumsy, willful, selfish and stupid. He lacks any virtue that I can admire, nor is he being mistreated in any way that would allow me to feel either pity or riotous indignation on his behalf. Also, he has no strong motivation to drive him.

In short, he should not have been the main character.

It feels like the actual story is happening to the side with all the rich and intriguing characters all taking part. And we, the listeners, only get a glimpse of it, the few times Simon happens by to eavesdrop. The rest of the time its just the boy feeling bad for himself or getting a lecture on the history of the world.

(Dropped a the 12 hour mark. Couldn't take it anymore.)

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  • Anonymous User
  • 12-10-2019

A slow start but rewarding completion

This first book in the series “Memory, Sorrow and Thorn” is a opening to an epic and very intriguing tale of young Simon and how he goes from being a kitchen boy to a hero in many tales.

This series as a whole I would rate among the best books I’ve ever listened to, without doubt and it’s definitely worth reading/listening to. However, among these books I would rate this, the first one, the lowest because it has such a slow start, I vaguely remembered what happened the first 10 hours of this book. But if you can power through that, you have 4 books (plus 3 more) of absolute amazing adventure and heart filled moments that I personally will never forget. The series keeps gradually getting better the more you get into the thick of it.

It’s clear that this is inspired by many fantasy writers, especially Tolkien. There’s a lot of information to take in, a lot explaining and a lot of thinking. That’s why I only recommend a series like this to someone who’s really determined to have a grand story told to them with a lot of viewpoints. If you’re more into quick paced and simpler told stories, this perhaps is not for you.


My ratings for the books:

The Dragonbone chair: 3/5
To Stone of Farewell: 4/5
To Green Angel tower part 1 and 2: 5/5

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  • Cameron
  • 16-06-2017

Tad Williams and Andrew Wincott ...simply awesome

excellent narration. Andrew brings the characters to life in a way that fits so well

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