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Adolfo Kaminsky by Sarah Kaminsky, Mike Mitchell [Trans.]

Here is the Earphone award winning AudioFile magazine review:

The skill of Simon Vance, narrator of this audiobook, is his ability to take a memoir that opens during the French Resistance in WWII and fully capture its suspense-filled drama. Adolfo Kaminsky, the daring and heroic document forger, helped hundreds of Jewish families escape Occupied France with his perfectly created passports. Although his talent for creating them could have earned him thousands of dollars, Kaminsky, incredibly, never took any payment for his services. This first-person narrative follows 30 years of Kaminsky’s career as he went on to fight injustice with his talent around the world. Simon Vance breathes a terrifying reality into what it means to defy tyranny. E.E.S. Winner of AudioFile Earphones Award © AudioFile 2017, Portland, Maine

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Back to Christmas by Dennis Canfield

Here is the Earphone award winning AudioFile magazine review:

Gleefully performed by Simon Vance, this quirky and charming Christmas tale is as good as it gets. Who knew that some of Santa’s elves are Irish, others North American, and at least one is Scandinavian? “Of course!” one thinks as this grin-worthy story about the Krumwerth family unfolds. They are about to land on the dreaded Permanent Naughty List (which is worse than lumps of coal) because they have become unpleasant to each other. One grumpy elf hopes they do make the list, but others, including a marvelously cheerful Santa, want to save them. They turn to 12-year-old Amanda Krumwerth–for whom Vance channels his inner preadolescent female. She has two days to help her family relearn the spirit of Christmas. A.C.S. Winner of AudioFile Earphones Award © AudioFile 2016, Portland, Maine

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Jerusalem by Alan Moore

In the epic novel Jerusalem, Alan Moore channels both the ecstatic visions of William Blake and the theoretical physics of Albert Einstein through the hardscrabble streets and alleys of his hometown of Northampton, UK. In the half a square mile of decay and demolition that was England’s Saxon capital, eternity is loitering between the firetrap housing projects. Embedded in the grubby amber of the district’s narrative, among its saints, kings, prostitutes, and derelicts, a different kind of human time is happening, a soiled simultaneity that does not differentiate between the petrol-colored puddles and the fractured dreams of those who navigate them.

Jerusalem‘s dizzyingly rich cast of characters includes the living, the dead, the celestial, and the infernal in an intricately woven tapestry that presents a vision of an absolute and timeless human reality in all of its exquisite, comical, and heartbreaking splendor.

*** Here is the Earphone award winning AudioFile magazine review:***

Alan Moore’s vivid imagistic prose, which touches all the listener’s senses, has the perfect partner in Simon Vance, who delivers this epic mellifluously. From the opening scene, one’s awareness of the sheer length ahead falls away because each moment absorbs one’s attention. Many characters’ viewpoints emerge as the narrative recounts the past 200 years of impoverishment in Northampton, England. Vance treats each person’s story and language—some of a time and status that visual readers might be hard pressed to re-create—with respect and enough humor to keep it all from becoming a deluge. Here’s a monument to a place, a people, a writer whom too many have dismissed as “a mere graphic novelist,” and a narrator who provides the author’s text with all it deserves. F.M.R.G. Winner of AudioFile Earphones Award © AudioFile 2016, Portland, Maine

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Hero of the Empire by Candice Millard

heroempireThe Boer War, a Daring Escape, and the Making of Winston Churchill

From New York Times bestselling author of Destiny of the Republic and The River of Doubt, a thrilling narrative of Winston Churchill’s extraordinary and little-known exploits during the Boer War
 
At age twenty-four, Winston Churchill was utterly convinced it was his destiny to become prime minister of England one day, despite the fact he had just lost his first election campaign for Parliament.  He believed that to achieve his goal he must do something spectacular on the battlefield.  Despite deliberately putting himself in extreme danger as a British Army officer in colonial wars in India and Sudan, and as a journalist covering a Cuban uprising against the Spanish, glory and fame had eluded him.Churchill arrived in South Africa in 1899, valet and crates of vintage wine in tow, there to cover the brutal colonial war the British were fighting with Boer rebels. But just two weeks after his arrival, the soldiers he was accompanying on an armored train were ambushed, and Churchill was taken prisoner.  Remarkably, he pulled off a daring escape–but then had to traverse hundreds of miles of enemy territory, alone, with nothing but a crumpled wad of cash, four slabs of chocolate, and his wits to guide him.

The story of his escape is incredible enough, but then Churchill enlisted, returned to South Africa, fought in several battles, and ultimately liberated the men with whom he had been imprisoned.

Churchill would later remark that this period, “could I have seen my future, was to lay the foundations of my later life.” Millard spins an epic story of bravery, savagery, and chance encounters with a cast of historical characters—including Rudyard Kipling, Lord Kitchener, and Mohandas Gandhi—with whom he would later share the world stage. But Hero of the Empire is more than an adventure story, for the lessons Churchill took from the Boer War would profoundly affect 20th century history.

Here is the Earphone award winning AudioFile magazine review:

Simon Vance’s full-throttle narration is one of the many delights in this rousing biography of Winston Churchill’s youthful escapades in the Boer War. Yes, the future statesman WAS a colossal egoist blessed with complete self-confidence, but, trust me, he was also funny, smart, talented, brave, good-hearted, and an all-together boon companion. He’s also lucky in Vance, who reads the future statesman’s boastful letters home with a straight face, which allows the audience to laugh, and with just the right hint of the Churchillian timbre. His interpretations of others, including Boer soldiers, Brits of all classes, and the odd American are equally well shaded. And when the adventure breaks out, as it often does, he breathlessly dodges bullets with the best of them. A.C.S. Winner of AudioFile Earphones Award © AudioFile 2016, Portland, Mainered_earphones

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Black Prism by Brent Weeks

The first book in the blockbuster fantasy epic from New York Times bestselling author Brent Weeks.

THE BLACK PRISM begins an action-packed tale of magic and adventure . . .

Guile is the Prism, the most powerful man in the world. He is high priest and emperor, a man whose power, wit, and charm are all that preserves a tenuous peace. Yet Prisms never last, and Guile knows exactly how long he has left to live.
When Guile discovers he has a son, born in a far kingdom after the war that put him in power, he must decide how much he’s willing to pay to protect a secret that could tear his world apart.

So far in the Lightbringer series:
The Black Prism
The Blinding Knife
The Broken Eye
The Blood Mirror

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In The Shadow of Frankenstein Edited by Stephen Jones

shadowfrankensteinTales of the Modern Prometheus

Also narrated by:Clive Chafer, Derek Perkins, Steve West, Mil Nicholson, Paul Michael Garcia, R.C. Bray, Saskia Maarleveld, Simon Prebble, Simon Templeman, Anthony Heald, Stefan Rudnicki, Tim Gerard Reynolds

The most infamous doctor of the Gothic Era once again delves into the forbidden secrets of the world, when literature’s most famous creature lives again…

Frankenstein… His very name conjures up images of plundered graves, secret laboratories, electrical experiments, and reviving the dead.

Within these pages, the maddest doctor of them all and his demented disciples once again delve into the Secrets of Life, as science fiction meets horror when the world’s most famous creature lives again.

Here are collected together for the first time twenty-four electrifying tales of cursed creation that are guaranteed to spark your interest?with classics from the pulp magazines by Robert Bloch and Manly Wade Wellman, modern masterpieces from Ramsey Campbell, Dennis Etchison, Karl Edward Wagner, David J. Schow, and R. Chetwynd-Hayes, and new contributions from Graham Masterton, Basil Copper, John Brunner, Guy N. Smith, Kim Newman, Paul J. McAuley, Roberta Lannes, Michael Marshall Smith, Daniel Fox, Adrian Cole, Nancy Kilpatrick, Brian Mooney and Lisa Morton.

Plus, you’re sure to get a charge from three complete novels: The Hound of Frankenstein by Peter Tremayne, The Dead End by David Case, and Mary W. Shelley’s original masterpiece Frankenstein; or, The Modern Prometheus.

As an electrical storm rages overhead, the generators are charged up, and beneath the sheet a cold form awaits its miraculous rebirth. Now it’s time to throw that switch and discover all that Man Was Never Meant to Know.

 

Here is the Earphone award winning AudioFile magazine review:

Three distinct voices have always inhabited the world of Frankenstein: that of the story’s mannered nineteenth-century narrator; that of the crazed genius scientist; and that of the monster himself. It goes without saying that Mary Shelley’s novel (read here in its entirety) has shaped and shaken the imaginations of writers, filmmakers, and audiences since its 1818 publication. Bringing together top voice talents (Derek Perkins, Simon Vance, Stefan Rudnicki, et al.) with a considerable cross-section of pulp and horror authors (Robert Bloch, Michael Marshall Smith, Lisa Morton, and more), this 24-story collection is a wonderful celebration of all things Frankenstein. Naturally, it includes the themes the horror genre has always lived by–the search for immortality, the unnatural creation of life, and a healthy distrust of modern science. Keep the lights on. B.P. Winner of AudioFile Earphones Award © AudioFile 2016, Portland, Mainered_earphones

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League of Dragons by Naomi Novik

With the acclaimed Temeraire novels, New York Times bestselling author Naomi Novik has created a fantasy series like no other, combining the high-flying appeal of Anne McCaffrey’s Pern saga and the swashbuckling derring-do of Patrick O’Brian’s historical seafaring adventures. Now, with League of Dragons, Novik brings the imaginative tour de force that has captivated millions to an unforgettable finish.

Napoleon’s invasion of Russia has been roundly thwarted. But even as Capt. William Laurence and the dragon Temeraire pursue the retreating enemy through an unforgiving winter, Napoleon is raising a new force, and he’ll soon have enough men and dragons to resume the offensive. While the emperor regroups, the allies have an opportunity to strike first and defeat him once and for all—if internal struggles and petty squabbles don’t tear them apart.

Aware of his weakened position, Napoleon has promised the dragons of every country—and the ferals, loyal only to themselves—vast new rights and powers if they fight under his banner. It is an offer eagerly embraced from Asia to Africa—and even by England, whose dragons have long rankled at their disrespectful treatment.

But Laurence and his faithful dragon soon discover that the wily Napoleon has one more gambit at the ready—one that that may win him the war, and the world.

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Hour of the Wolf by Håkan Nesser

hourofthewolfA riveting story in show-stopping prose, the latest chapter of this internationally bestselling series is the Nordic noir superstar’s darkest tale yet.

In the middle of a dark, rain-slicked night, a young man is struck and killed by a car. The driver, drunk, abandons the body by the side of the road. Tormented with guilt the next morning, he struggles to put the death out of his mind—until a blackmail note arrives and sets into motion a devastating chain of events.

Reinhart, the new chief inspector of the Maardam police force, initially has few leads. But when the victim of a second, possibly related killing is identified as somebody in his inner circle, Reinhart realizes that this is no ordinary investigation. And as the killer becomes increasingly unhinged, former chief inspector Van Veeteren—a legend now in retirement—is called forth to face the most haunting and difficult case of his life.

 

Here is the Earphone award winning AudioFile magazine review:

This Swedish crime thriller sets the tone for its dark story with the hit-and-run death of a teenage boy. Narrator Simon Vance embodies the unnamed male narrator whose perspective fills most of the first half of the novel. Vance characterizes him with a neutral tone that is in keeping with his lack of guilt toward his crime. The policemen in the story are especially vivid as Vance picks up his pace to project their growing desperation to solve the rising number of deaths in their small town. Vance makes the most of a whodunit that mixes the intrigue of blackmail with an array of frustrated detectives. Listeners will lean in to see the villains get their due. M.R. Winner of AudioFile Earphones Award © AudioFile 2016, Portland, Maine

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Icarus by Deon Meyer

icarusDeon Meyer, South Africa’s preeminent crime fiction writer, is internationally acclaimed for his razor’s-edge thrillers, unforgettable characters, and nuanced portrayals of contemporary life in his native country. The latest pulse-pounder starring Captain Benny Griessel, a lead detective in South Africa’s Priority Crimes Investigation unit, delves into a high-profile murder case and the country’s burgeoning tech and wine industries.

A week before Christmas, a young photographer discovers a plastic-wrapped corpse amidst the sand dunes north of Cape Town. It doesn’t take long for the police to identify the body as that of Ernst Richter—the tech whiz and founder of Alibi, an internet service that provides unfaithful partners with sophisticated cover stories to hide their affairs. Meanwhile, Benny Griessel is called to the scene of a murder-suicide involving a former colleague, and 602 days of sobriety are undone on the spot. He seems determined to drink away his career, but the take-no-sass Major Mbali Kaleni, now his boss, wants Griessel on the Richter case. The murder has already been the subject of fierce media speculation, with questions swirling about the potential for motive: could the perpetrator be one of the countless jilted spouses? An aggrieved client? Before the week is out, an unexpected connection to a troubled family winery comes to light, and Griessel must either quit drinking and close the case, or risk losing everything he loves. Mounting towards a startling conclusion, Icarus is another first-rate novel from the “King of South African Crime.”

 

Here is the Earphone award winning AudioFile magazine review:

The sublime voice of Simon Vance enhances this fascinating story, Book 5 of the Benny Griessel series, which takes place in South Africa. Two compelling scenarios are dramatically presented and merge only at the conclusion. Vance inhabits vintner François du Toit as he tells his riveting story; on his property was found the body of Ernst Richter, the founder of MyAlibi, a company that serves those who want extramarital “adventures” without the risk. Listeners will learn that the alcoholic Griessel is back on the booze after a traumatic incident, and his reluctant partner is covering for him and heading the murder investigation. Vance skillfully re-creates South Africa’s melodious voices and diverse accents as the police question multiple witnesses and suspects. The shocking climax is as timely as today’s headlines. S.G.B. Winner of AudioFile Earphones Award © AudioFile 2015, Portland, Mainered_earphones

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In Search of Thomas Browne by Hugh Aldersey-Williams

thomas-browneThe extraordinary life and ideas of one of the greatest?and most neglected?minds in history.

Sir Thomas Browne (1605–1682) was an English writer, physician, and philosopher whose work has inspired everyone from Ralph Waldo Emerson to Jorge Luis Borges, Virginia Woolf to Stephen Jay Gould. In an intellectual adventure like Sarah Bakewell’s book about Montaigne, How to Live, Hugh Aldersey-Williams sets off not just to tell the story of Browne’s life but to champion his skeptical nature and inquiring mind.

Mixing botany, etymology, medicine, and literary history, Aldersey-Williams journeys in his hero’s footsteps to introduce us to witches, zealots, natural wonders, and fabulous creatures of Browne’s time and ours. We meet Browne the master prose stylist, responsible for introducing hundreds of words into English, including electricity, hallucination, and suicide. Aldersey-Williams reveals how Browne’s preoccupations?how to disabuse the credulous of their foolish beliefs, what to make of order in nature, how to unite science and religion?are relevant today.

In Search of Sir Thomas Browne is more than just a biography?it is a cabinet of wonders and an argument that Browne, standing at the very gates of modern science, remains an inquiring mind for our own time. As Stephen Greenblatt has written, Browne is “unnervingly one of our most adventurous contemporaries.”

Here is the Earphone award winning AudioFile magazine review:

This fine audio production illustrates the great appeal of audiobooks today, not just for mainstream titles but also for those pockets of interest that seemingly target only a narrow range of listeners. Essayist, stylist, and prolific word-maker Sir Thomas Browne is almost forgotten in literature today, but he’s a fascinating personality, and his life and writings prove highly illustrative of his age, especially its medical practices and beliefs. Simon Vance is adept at balancing the author’s contemporary approach with Browne’s famously baroque style. This reflective biography is probably not for everyone, but for those who love the unique and obscure and odd, as Browne did, this title offers many pleasures. D.A.W. Winner of AudioFile Earphones Award, 2016 Audies Finalist © AudioFile 2015, Portland, Mainered_earphones

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