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Publisher's Summary

Dean Jocelin has a vision: that God has chosen him to erect a great spire on his cathedral. His mason anxiously advises against it, for the old cathedral was built without foundations. Nevertheless, the spire rises octagon upon octagon, pinnacle by pinnacle, until the stone pillars shriek and the ground beneath it swims. Its shadow falls ever darker on the world below, and on Dean Jocelin in particular.

From the author of Lord of the Flies, The Spire is a dark and powerful portrait of one man's will, and the folly that he creates.

©1964 William Golding (P)2014 Faber Audio

What members say

Average Customer Ratings

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

Brilliant actor

having a book read to you adds another dimension to the story. If you hate the voice and if you are familiar with a story but dislike the actor's take on the story it makes for a painful listen. Fortunately this was not a painful few hours. I am a fan of Mr Cumberbatch and I have to say his involvement in this was one of the reasons I decided to listen. I'm glad I did. I think I could listen to him forever.

3 of 4 people found this review helpful

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  • Overall
    4 out of 5 stars
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    4 out of 5 stars
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    4 out of 5 stars
  • Leena
  • 15-11-2014

Power through for a deep exam. of a man's psyche

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

This is a complicated book. I'm not sure it lends itself all that well to an audio version. But I'm still new to audio books, and find I like them best when I can be a tad bit distracted when listening to them. This is a not a book to digest while being distracted. It requires full attention.

What did you like best about this story?

I enjoyed the many levels this story exists on. It is a story, told from one (increasingly crazy) man about his desires, actions, and motivations.

What about Benedict Cumberbatch’s performance did you like?

I read this book as I listened, so I noticed he occasionally took small liberties. Jocelyn spoke with more contractions! So if you are a purist, know that. But the voices he infused the characters with were fantastic.

13 of 14 people found this review helpful

  • Overall
    2 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    2 out of 5 stars
  • Marie Kemp
  • 30-01-2016

Self torture

This book wasn’t for you, but who do you think might enjoy it more?

Anyone who wants to punish themselves.

Would you ever listen to anything by William Golding again?

Yes...I would listen to Lore of the Flies as I have read that .

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

I would not have been able to endure this had he not performed...and this was a great performance.

What character would you cut from The Spire?

The main one.

10 of 11 people found this review helpful

  • Overall
    3 out of 5 stars
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    5 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    3 out of 5 stars
  • M.Lee Fox
  • 24-05-2017

So so so so sooooo confusing.

I'll be honest. I'm not a philosophical person. I don't enjoy super deep thinking or huge amounts of reading between the lines. This book felt like it was 80% reading between the lines with the constant psychological and philosophical interpretations of the actions and scenes around the main character. Which means, I was utterly lost on what was happening like 70% of the time.
I love Mr Cumberbatch, with his grand scale of varying voices, but at times, the characters were so wildly voiced due to the interpretation of their emotions, that I had no idea who was speaking and who said what.
I will only mention this book to others whom might enjoy the challenge of a severely confusing read.

2 of 2 people found this review helpful

  • Overall
    4 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    3 out of 5 stars
  • Kaui
  • 27-06-2015

A relentless exploration of vanity

Would you recommend this audiobook to a friend? If so, why?

I am unsure if I would recommend this audiobook. This book might be better consumed ocularly via Kindle or (gasp) old-fashioned book. The story is predictable and I found the characters somewhat unremarkable - surprising for Mr. Golding. However, the writing was superb as usual. I think reading it would allow more appreciation of the language without relying upon attention-grabbing characters. That being said, Mr. Cumberbatch does a FANTASTIC job of narrating. I loved his voices, and his voice in general.

5 of 6 people found this review helpful

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    5 out of 5 stars
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    5 out of 5 stars
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    5 out of 5 stars
  • Kate Hoole
  • 29-03-2015

Twisty and dark

Twisty and dark story with a building sense of doom. Wonderfully read by Benedict Cumberbatch, who employs a wide range of voices and creates the dean's character brilliantly.

3 of 4 people found this review helpful

  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars
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    5 out of 5 stars
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    5 out of 5 stars
  • Barbara A Dignan
  • 17-05-2015

The Spire Inspires

Captivating story. The writing was exquisite-- practically poetry. Cumberbatch used his talents of creating accents to the fullest. Fabulous book!

2 of 3 people found this review helpful

  • Overall
    4 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    5 out of 5 stars
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    4 out of 5 stars
  • Jacquelyn Koh
  • 25-02-2015

Enjoyable book

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

Most others are stories, I'd say this should be required reading for Engineering students (especially those who will specialize in Project Management) in Freshman English class.

What was one of the most memorable moments of The Spire?

The confrontation between Roger Mason and Jocelin, when Roger Mason shows how much he'd already done to try and make the Spire work and Jocelin's blind faith practically drives him to despair, though he still tries his best to find a solution.

Which scene was your favorite?

The memorable moment mentioned above.

If you could rename The Spire, what would you call it?

Watching a Train Wreck About to Happen

Any additional comments?

The performance by Benedict Cumberbatch was phenomenal. He inhabited his characters and the voices he created for each character made the book easy to follow and kept me riveted.

3 of 5 people found this review helpful

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    5 out of 5 stars
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    5 out of 5 stars
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    5 out of 5 stars
  • shyday
  • 08-02-2018

If Only Benedict Cumberbatch Narrated Everything

BC's amazing voice acting really brought the novel and its characters to life. I'll buy any audio book he narrates without hesitation. (I'd even pay to hear him read the alphabet.) I doubt I would've been as invested in the story without his performance.

1 of 2 people found this review helpful

  • Overall
    1 out of 5 stars
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    3 out of 5 stars
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    3 out of 5 stars
  • Patrick
  • 03-09-2016

not my style

It Was Written In Good Taste and with good intentions. It's just not my style though. it seemed very disconnected. it wanders in insane little tangents. a priest lost to darker things. and not to ruin it but all he's doing is putting spire on top of a church. and the base the story is that the church has no foundation and people died during its building. and then he dies. perhaps it's a strange Romance of some kind. I just didn't feel it spoke to me.

1 of 2 people found this review helpful

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    1 out of 5 stars
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    4 out of 5 stars
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    1 out of 5 stars
  • Nora Rowland
  • 03-10-2014

Even Benedict Cumberbatch couldn't save this

What disappointed you about The Spire?

I think it was the characters themselves. The main character was so annoying.

Has The Spire turned you off from other books in this genre?

I doubt it.

Which scene was your favorite?

None

4 of 9 people found this review helpful

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    4 out of 5 stars
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  • Morganrandg
  • 11-03-2015

Wonderful narration lifted the whole work.

I found the story rather hard to read in book format but with Benedict Cumberbatch's narration it was a joy to listen. I have listened to the whole book several times already and each time my image of the building grows in detail and stature.
I would listen to Mr Cumberbatch read anything.

5 of 5 people found this review helpful

  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars
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    5 out of 5 stars
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    5 out of 5 stars
  • Earnest
  • 27-01-2015

Scintillating, metaphysical scream.

Most surprising revelation to listen to this when many years ago "Lord of the Flies " had been a compulsory, unpleasant, school based read. Age and experience has made this new experience of Golding such an intellectual, visceral surprise.
The whole gamut of human, very specifically competitive, male and religious life are fore grounded with such potent imagery that it literally takes your breath away.
The narrator is outstanding.

11 of 12 people found this review helpful

  • Overall
    4 out of 5 stars
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    3 out of 5 stars
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    5 out of 5 stars
  • Christine
  • 02-12-2015

A dissenting view

This is an amazing story, but I struggled with Benedict Cumberbatch's performance (controversial I know)! When he is narrating, it is outstanding, but during dialogues I struggled to know who was talking (especially between Jocelyn and Roger). I'm not sure why, but possibly because all the characters had the same voices, and the sudden mood changes of all the speakers (not just Jocelyn, in which it was understandable) kept tricking me into thinking the next person was speaking? I don't know, but I am sure the hordes of Cumberbatch fans will get very irate with me!

3 of 3 people found this review helpful

  • Overall
    4 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    5 out of 5 stars
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    4 out of 5 stars
  • Anony Mouse
  • 26-07-2015

Fascinating insight, nicely read

A fascinating book - after reading this I'll never look at a medieval cathedral in the same way again! Gripping and with enough period detail to be very engaging.

Cumberbatch reads clearly, with style and character.

The story had a slightly frustrating end but apart from that I thought the book was great.

5 of 7 people found this review helpful

  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars
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    5 out of 5 stars
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    5 out of 5 stars
  • Brenda
  • 30-10-2014

Fab story great narration

Would you consider the audio edition of The Spire to be better than the print version?

I've never read the printed version but hearing Benedict Cumberbatch reading it makes the book come alive!

What was one of the most memorable moments of The Spire?

The very sad ending

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

Only Benedict Cumberbatch could give you the amazing voices, excellent narration that enhances the already brilliant writing of William Golding.

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

A bit of both!

7 of 11 people found this review helpful

  • Overall
    3 out of 5 stars
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    5 out of 5 stars
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    4 out of 5 stars
  • Donal
  • 05-08-2018

a tale of hopeful despair. well written. .. if yo

a tale of hopeful despair. well written. .. if you like that sort of thing!

  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars
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    5 out of 5 stars
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    4 out of 5 stars
  • Anonymous User
  • 24-06-2018

Fantastic narration <br />

This is a very deep and intricate work. The story follows a priests folly and the impact it has on those around him and the subsequent mental breakdown of the priest. The novel is loaded with layer upon layer of religious symbolism and pagan imagery, some of which I found hard to get on a first listen. The plot in general is very well written and the characters well constructed especially priest Jocelin and Roger Mason their interactions and relationship was one of my favorite aspects of the work.

The narration is fantastic. I generally find cumberbatch rather irritating however here he shows his full talent as an actor and a reader really bringing the story and the characters to life. Especially the role of priest Jocelin conveying his religious zeal and decent into madness wonderfully.

  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars
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    5 out of 5 stars
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    5 out of 5 stars
  • daisyrock
  • 13-12-2017

Stellar performance

A hard-to-read masterpiece brought vividly to life by a magnificent performance from BC. Fabulous.

  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars
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    5 out of 5 stars
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    5 out of 5 stars
  • Richard Putman
  • 24-10-2017

Spectacular narration

I doubt I could have managed this book in print alone; but I might buy it for further study now having understood and enjoyed much of the text due to the spectacular narrration.

  • Overall
    4 out of 5 stars
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    5 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    3 out of 5 stars
  • Alexandra Moran
  • 02-01-2017

Loved the narrator but sometimes difficult to follow

Really liked this audio book but did find it difficult to follow at times. Due to the style of the writing it was sometimes hard to know what was happening. Took me two goes to get into it.