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The Ruby in the Smoke

Narrated by: Anton Lesser
Series: Sally Lockhart, Book 1
Length: 6 hrs and 33 mins
Categories: Children, Fiction
4.5 out of 5 stars (80 ratings)

Non-member price: $22.94

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Publisher's Summary

An unabridged reading of Philip Pullman's nerve-shattering thriller, set in the murky streets and opium dens of Old London.

When 16-year old Sally's father drowns in suspicious circumstances, she is left to fend for herself in Victorian London. Although she doesn't know it, she is already in terrible danger.

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  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars
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    5 out of 5 stars

Gripping in the most Victorian way

The best British storyteller tells the most Dickensian of tales in beautiful twisting lanes and characters.

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GREAT mystery fiction...well dictated !

'Twas difficult to put this down and the conclusion was quite a twist. I really enjoyed the 'performance ' by Anton Lesser as it was expressively dictated with wonderful voices which was good as much was driven by dialogue. I think I'm also going to find more Pullman fiction...highly entertaining with plot twists everywhere.

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superb

Great little story with amazing narration. such a relief to find a book that was all I expected from it. such fun.

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Ruby and sally

I just love Philip Pullman books he’s a terrific writer and this one made me cry. The narrators voice is like runny honey. I’m now onto book two

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Brilliant

Philip Pulman never disappoints and this is no exception. Suspense and intrigue from the first chapter. Great characters and well read.

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  • SJT
  • 18-04-2019

Exceptional Narration!

I love the way Philip Pullman writes but, for me, Anton Lesser made this story really come alive! His ability to switch voices between all those characters (particularly loved all the vile, East End, gutter-snipes!) formed a visual in my imagination that was akin to watching a riveting film. More narrations please, Anton Lesser!

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Good as

Best character voices I've ever heard. Awesome 19th century London tale, beautifully written and extremely atmospheric

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Delightfully different

I have loved all of Philip Pullman's books, but this is different and really enjoyable.

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Quite a good way to pass the time

The book was quite good- I love Victorian set books and this one was very atmospheric, and I did like the narrator. Not breathtakingly good, but I stuck it till the end and enjoyed it so definitely not a waste of time.

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The Ruby in the Smoke

I loved this book. It was amazing and kept you guessing until the end. There are many plot twists that you can't see until they are upon you. I highly recommend it.

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  • caroline
  • 10-06-2020

Talented Narration

I thoroughly enjoyed this book. The narration was absolutely brilliant! I look forward to the next installment.

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  • Rosane
  • 26-04-2020

Entertaining story; Mesmerising narration

This atmospheric, entertaining mystery is made even better by Anton Lesser's wonderful narration. Dozens of characters, male and female are so convincingly brought to life that it's hard to believe it's the same actor doing them all. Very enjoyable.

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  • Andreas Hofmeyr
  • 30-04-2017

Heart wrenching, thrilling and darkly mysterious!

With the aid of fantastically tactile narration, Pullman captivates us with a dark and intense, yet at times upliftingly jovial, tale of mystery and grimey suspense set against a cruel and industrial Dickensian backdrop, where danger lurks behind every alley way corner.

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  • Francine
  • 23-01-2015

Another excellent Philip Pullman series!

Any additional comments?

Although historical novels are not usually my forte, this series is lively, interesting, full of well-developed and likable characters and, of course, well written. It's promoted as a "young adults" series but it really isn't. Not for the younger kids for sure as the stories are quite gritty and do not always end well. Philip Pullman has a knack for original writing. Love him!

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  • Paul
  • 31-10-2012

All the elements of a splendid mystery

There are several reasons why I liked this book. At less than 7 hours in length, it left me wanting just that little bit more. My reading time and effort weren't wasted ploughing through extraneous material. And yet for such a short book, the characters were drawn well. There is certainly good and evil, but the characters are more than just goodies and baddies. And the mystery isn't just about who murdered Jo Bloggs. There's the heroine's own history, a missing fortune, a lost ship, and a few other mysteries besides. And because the heroine and her friends do the job themselves, we don't have to yawn our way along as police check out alibis etc. On top of this, we learn a bit about mid-Victorian photography as well. A truly jam packed novel that other crime and mystery writers should read.

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  • Barry
  • 08-09-2016

A layered and satisfying listen

I was not sure what to expect after "His Dark Materials" which I enjoyed with my children several years ago. There has been a rash of badly written Victorian detective novels throwing shapes at Sherlock Holmes but this is not one of them. As the series unfolds you realise that you are experiencing the work of a master craftsman. Philip Pullman knows how to tell a story and what's more he knows how to write, and then some. The main character is multi dimensional and fully realised maturing and taking responsibility as the books hold an impressive character arc across the stories in each novel. We listened to the first book on a car trip and on reaching our destination purchased the next two available on Audible and consumed over meals and evening relaxation. There is a fourth and we await its recording. The history, social observation, ethical concerns and impacts of technical progress and violence are so skillfully interwoven that you are enlightened before you notice. A rare set of books with perfect narration like this does not come along often so grab it. This series provoked great discussions with my teenage kids. Months later we are still discussing the story, the characters, the ethical questions and the thoroughly enjoyable experience listening to this book and its sequels gave to us as a family. A layered and satisfying listen for everyone.

79 people found this helpful

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    4 out of 5 stars
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  • Gustav
  • 27-06-2012

Good first book of a great series.

I first saw the BBC film adaptation of The Ruby in the Smoke, and disliked it. But I had already bought the second book in this series, and that book I ADORED! I quickly gobbled up the third book to, and loved it as much as the second! So I got the first book in audioboook format.

The first book isn't as good as the second and third, but it is still a great book. The story feels a bit contrived at places and the characters a bit unbelievable, but not to a degree that it becomes annoying. Overall, this is a great book, and you simply must read the whole series!

A note about the narrator. He is FANTASTIC and ideal for the time period. The book is worth getting for his narration alone.

35 people found this helpful

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    4 out of 5 stars
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  • Liz
  • 25-11-2008

Smoke Clarified

As an adult I approached this novel with some reservations. Anton Lesser's rendition (as always)was brilliant so I needn't have worried. I can recommend this audio book without reservation for both adults and older children alike.

34 people found this helpful

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    5 out of 5 stars
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  • Doobsters
  • 23-07-2009

Fantastic, could listen to again and again

Brilliant Audiobook, fantastic narator and a really enjoyable listen. Both myself and my husband loved this audiobook and have already listened to it many times since we purchased our copy.

A fantastic story written by Philip Pullman, his stories will never let you down and if you like one your bound to love his others.

Highly recommended, you couldn't ask for more!

18 people found this helpful

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    5 out of 5 stars
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  • Jan
  • 29-07-2012

An excellent mystery thriller

I thoroughly enjoyed this audiobook. The evocation of a dark and atmospheric Victorian London with very believable characters was excellent. I was drawn into the story right from the start and got through the whole of it in less than a week. I could hardly wait to find out what would happen next! I especially liked the unexpected twist towards the end and the reading by Anton Lesser is excellent.
Philip Pullman's novels are very well written. I've read his Northern Lights trilogy quite a few times now and still discover something new. Highly recommended.

14 people found this helpful

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    4 out of 5 stars
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  • Wyn
  • 13-10-2011

Anton Lesser brings the book to life superbly

Pullman writes well and this is a fast-paced absorbing book. However, it is really brought to life by Anton Lesser, who reads it superbly well. Lesser is so good that, increasingly, unabridged books read by him are my first port of call when downloading from Audible.

16 people found this helpful

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  • Salter
  • 14-11-2017

Very enjoyable...

Its what you'd expect from Pullman. A good storyline with depth, some interesting characters and a good plot line.
Very well narrated by Anton lesser.

8 people found this helpful

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  • GAMES MOM
  • 25-01-2015

Fabulous

Thoroughly enjoyable to listen to, great narration looking for more by Anton Lesser. Kept you enthralled with his array of brilliant voices.

6 people found this helpful

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  • Jean
  • 01-12-2013

Atmospheric thriller

Where does The Ruby in the Smoke rank among all the audiobooks you’ve listened to so far?

This is the first in a series of four books featuring the wonderful heroine Sally Lockhart. The grimy, smoky world of Victorian London is vividly brought to life and I would rank this book as one of my favourites.

Who was your favorite character and why?

Jim Taylor the cheeky office boy who has the heart of a lion when it comes to defending his friends stands out amongst a cast of excellent characters.

What does Anton Lesser bring to the story that you wouldn’t experience if you had only read the book?

Having read the book and listened to the audio book Anton Lesser brings the characters to life so vividly that re-reading the book you can hear his voice. The sinister tones of the horrible Mrs Holland actually make you shudder - no wonder she caused such fear among her workers. He is a master at reading audio books and I would always choose a book read by him.

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

It's a page-turner - as you're swept along in the increasingly sinister machinations of Mrs Holland and the vices and crimes of London you can't stop listening until you find out what happens to Sally. Be prepared for some major twists and turns in the plot.

Any additional comments?

If you enjoy this and want to know what happens next to Sally, listen to the second book "The Tiger in the North".

6 people found this helpful

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  • Prof
  • 08-11-2017

Dark days by the docks!

Excellent story evoking the darker side of Victorian London. Sally is a wonderful lead character trying to understand the secrets that surround her. Excellent narration. I’ll have to get the next two!

2 people found this helpful