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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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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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The Girl Who Kicked the Hornet’s Nest by Stieg Larsson

From Publisher’s Weekly:
The exhilarating conclusion to bestseller Larsson’s Millennium trilogy (after The Girl Who Played with Fire) finds Lisbeth Salander, the brilliant computer hacker who was shot in the head in the final pages of Fire, alive, though still the prime suspect in three murders in Stockholm. While she convalesces under armed guard, journalist Mikael Blomkvist works to unravel the decades-old coverup surrounding the man who shot Salander: her father, Alexander Zalachenko, a Soviet intelligence defector and longtime secret asset to Säpo, Sweden’s security police. Estranged throughout Fire, Blomkvist and Salander communicate primarily online, but their lack of physical interaction in no way diminishes the intensity of their unconventional relationship. Though Larsson (1954–2004) tends toward narrative excess, his was an undeniably powerful voice in crime fiction that will be sorely missed. 500,000 first printing. (May)
Copyright © Reed Business Information, a division of Reed Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved.

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Titus Groan by Mervyn Peake

titus_groan_155x238Book 1 in the Gormenghast Trilogy:
A doomed lord, an emergent hero, and an array of bizarre creatures haunt the world of the Gormenghast novels which, along with Tolkien’s Lord of the Rings, reigns as one of the undisputed fantasy classics of all time. Peake has created a world where all is like a dream—lush, fantastical, vivid, and yet symbolic of a dark struggle.At the center of everything is the seventy-seventh Earl, Titus Groan, who stands to inherit the Gormenghast Castle and its kingdom. When he is crowned, he is called “Child-Inheritor of the rivers, of the Tower of Flints and the dark recesses beneath cold stairways…Child-Inheritor of the spring breezes that blow in from the jarl forests and of the autumn misery in petal, scale, and wing….”
“Robert Whitfield is calm and fastidious-voiced in third-person narration, giving us time to revel in the book’s surreal description and ghastly ambience, depictions so heartless that they are funny. In the book’s dialogue, however, he takes on the Gormenghast menagerie with brio and versatility, giving each character a distinctive, appropriate voice….overall his narration is a masterly rendition of a lurid and haunting work.”—WashingtonPost.com

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Narcissus and Goldmund by Hermann Hesse

narcissus_goldmund_175x175From AudioFile Magazine:
Set in medieval Germany, this much-lauded 1930 novel contrasts its hero, the mercurial wandering artist Goldmund, with his great friend, Narcissus, an Apollonian intellectual and priest. The former meanders through medieval Germany, womanizing and striving to discover the meaning of his wayward life, while the latter dedicates his life to science and contemplation. Despite the many violent and emotional occurrences limned herein, narrator Simon Vance adopts a gentle tone, beautifully suggesting the mystical, poetic, and arcane nature of the parable-like story. This he retains throughout while still doing ample justice to the passages of drama, pathos, and humor. A neat trick and one that enhances every passage of this excellent translation. Y.R. Winner of AudioFile Earphones Award © AudioFile 2009

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Man’s Search for Meaning by Viktor E. Frankl

mans_search_for_meaning_155x238Man’s Search for Meaning is the chilling yet inspirational story of Viktor Frankl’s struggle to hold on to hope during the unspeakable horrors of his years as a prisoner in Nazi concentration camps. Frankl’s training as a psychiatrist informed every waking moment of his ordeal and lent him a remarkable perspective on the psychology of survival. As a result of these experiences, Dr. Frankl developed a revolutionary approach to psychotherapy known as logotherapy. At the core of his theory is the belief that man’s primary motivational force is his search for meaning. Frankl’s assertion that “the will to meaning” is the basic motivation for human life has forever changed the way we understand our humanity in the face of suffering.

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The Count of Monte Cristo by Alexandre Dumas

count_of_monte_cristo_266x216 From AudioFile Magazine:
The lightning transformation of Edmond Dantes, blameless sea captain with hair “dark as the raven’s wing,” from joyous manhood to dungeon wretch is one of the great first acts in literature. Dantes is a Frenchman, but we–as Americans–expect our classics read with an English accent. And so Richard Matthews is spot-on for this sweeping and voluptuous romance. Our imprisoned hero educates himself–yes, students, you mustn’t neglect your homework–escapes the dread dungeon of the Chateau d’If, and becomes rich beyond the dreams of avarice. He returns and wreaks a terrible vengeance on the treacherous. Man, woman, French nobility, and Italian banditry, Matthews has the range for a variety of accents and emotions. Excellent performance, great sound. B.H.C. © AudioFile 2006

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V for Vendetta by Steve Moore

v_for_vendettaFrom AudioFile Magazine:
V FOR VENDETTA is a compelling novelization of a screenplay based on 1980s comic books by British writer Alan Moore. Britisher Simon Vance may be the perfect reader for the very British story of a masked man fanning the flames of revolution in a totalitarian future England. Vance draws listeners into his grim, scary world in which an iron-fisted ruler controls every thought and action. Particularly strong is Vance’s portrayal of the frightened Evey, who is drawn into the revolution by the enigmatic “V,” a man whose scarred face is hidden by a mask of the legendary British revolutionary Guy Fawkes. The story is powerful from start to finish, and Vance delivers it with astounding skill. M.S. © AudioFile 2006

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The Suspicions of Mr. Whicher by Kate Summerscale

suspicions_mr_whicher_510x680From AudioFile Magazine:
The art of detection was in its infancy when the murder of 3-year-old Saville Kent rocked Britain’s sensibilities. The child’s body was found on the family’s estate, stuffed down the servants’ outdoor privy. It was a week before DI Jack Whicher of Scotland Yard was called in to investigate. Summerscale uses excerpts from popular Victorian detective fiction as examples of the period, and Simon Vance inhabits each new voice with gusto and originality. He expertly conveys British attitudes toward criminality and class distinction, and when Whicher names his prime suspect, Vance makes listeners feel Whicher’s disappointment and subsequent disgrace as the media and the courts turn against him. The audiobook includes a house plan a family tree, and a chart listing the large cast of characters. Artful, suspenseful, and worthwhile listening. S.J.H. Winner of AudioFile Earphones Award © AudioFile 2009

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Stone’s Fall by Iain Pears

From AudioFile Magazine:
Iain Pears unravels the story of an English arms supplier whose mysterious death (and mysterious wife) intersect with twentieth-century history. This lengthy story proceeds in a backwards chronology, starting in England in 1909 (after a prologue set in the 1950s), moving to Paris in the 1890s, and then to Venice in 1867. Like an audio tag team, John Lee, Simon Vance, and Roy Dotrice share the microphone, each doing an impeccable job with accents and narrative turns. Lee starts in London, Dotrice performs the Paris segment, and Vance completes the final hours in Venice. Each segment can stand alone as solid storytelling, but combined they create a trifecta that’s mesmerizing, carefully plotted, and packed with fascinating historic details. R.W.S. Winner of AudioFile Earphones Award © AudioFile 2009, Portland, Maine [Published: JUNE 2009]

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