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The Wonderling by Mira Bartók

In this extraordinary debut novel with its deft nod to Dickensian heroes and rogues, Mira Bartók tells the story of Arthur, a shy, fox-like foundling with only one ear and a desperate desire to belong, as he seeks his destiny.

Have you been unexpectedly burdened by a recently orphaned or unclaimed creature? Worry not! We have just the solution for you!

Welcome to the Home for Wayward and Misbegotten Creatures, an institution run by evil Miss Carbunkle, a cunning villainess who believes her terrified young charges exist only to serve and suffer. Part animal and part human, the groundlings toil in classroom and factory, forbidden to enjoy anything regular children have, most particularly singing and music. For the Wonderling, an innocent-hearted, one-eared, fox-like eleven-year-old with only a number rather than a proper name — a 13 etched on a medallion around his neck — it is the only home he has ever known. But unexpected courage leads him to acquire the loyalty of a young bird groundling named Trinket, who gives the Home’s loneliest inhabitant two incredible gifts: a real name — Arthur, like the good king in the old stories — and a best friend. Using Trinket’s ingenious invention, the pair escape over the wall and embark on an adventure that will take them out into the wider world and ultimately down the path of sweet Arthur’s true destiny. Richly imagined, with shimmering language, steampunk motifs, and gripping, magical plot twists, this high adventure fantasy is the debut novel of award-winning memoirist Mira Bartók and has already been put into development for a major motion picture.

Here is the Earphone award winning AudioFile magazine review:

Whatever your age, the adventures of part-human, part-animal Number 39 [Ed: This should be Number 13] and Trinket in Mira Bartók’s steampunk otherworld are captivating. Add Simon Vance’s enthusiastic narration, and this is an audiobook to be cherished. The plot, which is unique while paying homage to DAVID COPPERFIELD, WIND IN THE WILLOWS, and other classics, sets our “groundlings,” mild-mannered part-badger Number 39 [13] and flightless-bird Trinket, in a horrible orphanage. After a madcap, daring escape, they search for Trinket’s family and Number 39’s [13’s] destiny. Set in a world of horse-drawn carriages, insect-machines, and flying bicycles, as well as humans and groundlings, the tale offers Vance a chance to invent a myriad of voices and to support the action with his usual attentive pacing. The results will charm young and old alike. A.C.S. Winner of AudioFile Earphones Award © AudioFile 2017, Portland, Maine

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Soho Dead by Greg Keen

Kenny Gabriel is three years away from turning sixty, has forty-three quid in the bank and is occasionally employed to find people who would rather not be found. Broke, clientless and depressed, he knows things can’t get much worse. Then he’s summoned to the office of London media magnate Frank Parr, whose daughter, Harry, is missing – and there’s ten grand on the table to get her back.

It’s a lot of money, and God knows Kenny needs the cash. But he and Frank have a history he’d rather not revisit. Kenny worked for him in the seventies, when Frank was the head of a Soho magazine empire and owner of an infamous nightclub. And Kenny might still be working for Frank now – if he hadn’t witnessed his boss brutally torturing another employee.

Kenny suspects taking this job is a mistake, and he’s probably right. Because while he may be done with the past, the past is far from done with him.

Here is the Earphone award winning AudioFile magazine review:

Simon Vance’s rough-and-tumble delivery pulls listeners right into the mysterious maze of London’s Soho underground. Kenny Gabriel, a skip tracer by trade, receives a request from his old boss to find his daughter. But Kenny soon realizes he’s getting himself into something more than he bargained for. Against a backdrop of torture and murder, listeners meet a number of characters whose voices Vance captures solidly. His English accents vary according to region and add a bit of charm, deftly suggesting the only core of humanity these rogues possess. Vance’s tough-edged tone captures the evil lurking within each character Kenny encounters on the mean streets of Soho. E.B. Winner of AudioFile Earphones Award © AudioFile 2017, Portland, Maine

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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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