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Portrait of a Spy by Daniel Silva

Gabriel Allon, master art restorer and spy, returns in a spell binding new novel from the #1 New York Times best selling author Daniel Silva.
Gabriel Allon has been hailed as the most compelling creation since “Ian Fleming put down his martini and invented James Bond” (Rocky Mountain News), and “one of the most intriguing heroes of any thriller series” (Philadelphia Inquirer). A man with a deep appreciation for all that is beautiful, Gabriel is also an angel of vengeance who will stop at nothing to see justice done. Sometimes he must journey far in search of evil. And sometimes evil comes to him.
In a dangerous world, one extraordinary woman can mean the difference between life and death . . .
For Gabriel and his beautiful Venetian-born wife, Chiara, a pleasant weekend in London turns deadly when the newly retired operative spots a man exhibiting traits common to suicide bombers. But before Gabriel can prevent the attack, he is knocked to the pavement and can only watch as a scene from his nightmares unfolds.
Haunted by his failure to stop the massacre of innocents, Gabriel returns to his isolated cottage on the cliffs of Cornwall, until a summons brings him to Washington and he is drawn into a confrontation with the new face of global terror. At the center of the threat is an American-born cleric in Yemen to whom Allah has granted “a beautiful and seductive tongue.” A gifted deceiver, who was once a paid CIA asset, the mastermind is plotting a new wave of attacks.
Gabriel and his team devise a daring plan to destroy the network of death—from the inside—a gambit fraught with risk, both personal and professional. To succeed, Gabriel must reach into his violent past. A woman waits there—a reclusive Saudi heiress and art collector who can traverse the murky divide between Islam and the West. She is the daughter of an old enemy, a woman joined to Gabriel by a trail of blood. Together they form an unlikely and dangerous bond.
Set against the disparate worlds of art and intelligence, Portrait of a Spy moves swiftly from the corridors of power in Washington, to the glamorous auction houses of New York and London, to the unforgiving landscape of the Saudi desert. Featuring a climax that will leave readers haunted long after they turn the final page, this deeply entertaining story is also a breathtaking portrait of courage in the face of unspeakable evil—and Daniel Silva’s most extraordinary novel to date.

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The King’s Speech by Mark Logue and Peter Conradi

The “quack” who saved a king… Featuring a star-studded cast of Academy Award® winners and nominees, The King’s Speech won the 2010 Toronto International Film Festival People’s Choice Award and is generating plenty of Oscar buzz. This official film tie-in is written by London Sunday Times journalist Peter Conradi and Mark Logue–grandson of Lionel Logue, one of the movie’s central characters. It’s the eve of World War II, and King Edward VIII has abdicated the throne of England to marry the woman he loves. Never has the nation needed a leader more. But the new monarch, George VI–father of today’s Queen Elizabeth II–is painfully shy and cursed with a terrible stammer. How can he inspire confidence in his countrymen when he cannot even speak to them? Help arrives in speech therapist Logue, who not only is a commoner, but Australian to boot. Will he be able to give King George his voice? The King’s Speech tells an inspiring tale of triumph over adversity and the unlikely friendship between a reluctant king and the charismatic subject who saved the throne.
From AudioFile Magazine: This stellar audio production of the book that preceded the Oscar-winning film THE KING’S SPEECH is a must-listen for historians, gossips, royalists, colonialists, and everyone else. The audio begins with something the book can’t offer—a recording of King George VI’s actual wartime speech. It’s an atmospheric introduction to the story of two different men who become essential to each other and to Britain. An extrovert Australian vocal coach who helped create modern speech therapy and a shy, stammering Duke transformed into a fine and fluent monarch—Simon Vance inhabits them subtly, shading character with accent, tone, and pace. He also propels the plot by reading with the verve of fiction while keeping his narration behind the words. A captivating and exemplary performance. A.C.S. Winner of AudioFile Earphones Award © AudioFile 2011, Portland, Maine

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Nicholas Nickleby by Charles Dickens

The Life and Adventures of Nicholas Nickleby is closely modelled on the 18h-century novels that Charles Dickens loved as a child, such as Robinson Crusoe, in which the fortunes of a hero shape the plot. The likeable young Nicholas, left penniless on the death of his father, sets off in search of better prospects. His meandering route to happiness includes work as a teacher at Dotheboys Hall, where the brutal Wackford Squeers ill-treats his impoverished pupils, and a spell as an actor with the absurdly melodramatic Crummles troupe. Nicholas’s many adventures give Dickens the freedom to follow the eccentricities of a vivid gallery of characters, exploring themes of class, love, and self-awareness with exuberant comedy and biting satire.

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

From AudioFile Magazine:
Simon Vance and Stieg Larsson are to blame for an exhausting 10 days in which I spent every spare daytime moment and most of each night listening to Lisbeth Salander outwit Swedish bad guys. Though I am groggy, I am grateful. This is a terrific finale to the worldwide bestselling Swedish series about the skinny, bisexual, socially hostile computer wizard Lizbeth Salander, ace reporter Mikael Blomkvist, and a host of nefarious criminals, bureaucrats, police, and politicians. The compulsively listenable Simon Vance personifies men, women, young, and old so well that one hesitates to interrupt their conversations by turning off the book. And he propels the narrative with fine timing and a seductive voice that leaves the listener satiated and happy. Get this book and start listening now. A.C.S. Winner of AudioFile Earphones Award © AudioFile 2010
This book was nominated for an Audie in two categories – Distinguished Achievement in Production and Thriller/Suspense – it won in the latter of the two!

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Paul is Undead by Alan Goldsher

Recorded May 2010 for release in June 2010 – Blackstone Audio

From the publisher:
LADIES AND GENTLEMEN, IT’S TIME TO REALLY MEET THE BEATLES.For John Lennon, a young, idealistic zombie guitarist with dreams of global domination, Liverpool seems the ideal place to form a band that could take over the world. In an inspired act, Lennon kills and reanimates local rocker Paul McCartney, kicking off an unstoppable partnership. With the addition of newly zombified guitarist George Harrison and drummer/Seventh Level Ninja Lord Ringo Starr, the Beatles soon cut a swath of bloody good music and bloody violent mayhem across Europe, America, and the entire planet.

In this searing oral history, discover how the Fab Four climbed to the Toppermost of the Poppermost while stealing the hearts, ears, and brains of smitten teenage girls. Learn the tale behind a spiritual journey that resulted in the dismemberment of Maharishi Mahesh Yogi. Marvel at the seemingly indestructible quartet’s survival of a fierce attack by Eighth Level Ninja Lord Yoko Ono. And find out how the boys escaped eternal death at the hands of England’s greatest zombie hunter, Mick Jagger.

Through all this, one mystery remains: Can the Beatles sublimate their hunger for gray matter, remain on top of the charts, and stay together for all eternity? After all, three of the Fab Four are zombies, and zombies live forever. . . .

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Audies History

Below, on this page and the next, are all the Audie nominations and finalists I have read since 2002.
If you want to go straight to particular years you can page down or go back to the drop down menu above and click on the individual years….
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2010 Audies – May 25th NYC

While there are four books listed here I suppose I should, more honestly, have put “two and two bits”! I read one of The Canterbury Tales (The Clerk) and the preamble or introduction to The Turn of the Screw. Kushiel’s Scion and The Midnight Charter are both solo narrations… keeping my fingers crossed.

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The Midnight Charter by David Whitley

From the Publisher:
In a society based on trade, where everything can be bought and sold, the future rests on the secrets of a single document-and the lives of two children whose destiny it is to discover its secrets. In this spellbinding novel, newcomer David Whitley has imagined a nation at a crossroads: misshaped by materialism and facing a choice about its future. He has brought to life two children who will test the nation’s values-and crafted a spellbinding adventure story that will keep readers turning the pages until the very end.
For readers who love Philip Pullman, THE MIDNIGHT CHARTER combines great storytelling with a compelling vision – a many layered adventure with powerful and timely implications.
From AudioFile Magazine:
Young readers who enjoy tales of mystery and fantasy will find much to admire in Whitley’s story, which follows the fortunes of Lily and Mark as they struggle to survive in the isolated city-state of Agora. While the two seem to be on different paths—Lily is devoted to service while Mark strives for personal power—a dark prophecy known only by a powerful few binds them together. Simon Vance’s thoughtful, unrushed narration is the perfect foil for the book’s brooding atmosphere. Vance is a master narrator who brings characters of every type to life. M.L.K. 2010 Audies Finalist © AudioFile 2010

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Great Classic Science Fiction: Eight Unabridged Stories

Authors: H.G. Wells, Stanley G. Weinbaum, Lester Del Rey, Fritz Leiber, James H. Schmitz, Philip K. Dick, Frank Herbert, Andre Norton
Read by Simon Vance, Nick Sullivan, Robert Fass, Katherine Kellgren, Stephen R. Thorne, Greg Itzin, Scott Brick, Barbara Rosenblat
With its eight unique tales, fans will enjoy this audiobook by masters of both science fiction and narration. The collection proves to be a great sampler as each story provides a different genre motif. The narrators are well selected for their pieces, and their range is bittersweet since listeners will want to hear more from each. Of particular note is Barbara Rosenblat’s performance of Norton’s “All Cats are Gray,” in which she elicits the smooth and matter-of-fact tone of the nameless narrator so well that her performance blends seamlessly with the text. Scott Brick’s rendition of “Missing Link” by Herbert also proves especially enjoyable, in part because of Brick’s extensive experience narrating Herbert’s works. L.E. 2011 Audies Finalist © AudioFile 2011

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Kushiel’s Scion by Jacqueline Carey

kushiel's_scion_240x317From AudioFile Magazine:
Imriel was once a pirates’ slave. It’s no wonder that he’s sometimes unpredictable and seemingly lost in a dark place—but he’s always loyal to the few he calls friends. During his sojourns, he studies at university and then travels to a friend’s wedding, ending up in a city under siege. There he fights for his life in an army led by a friend who has been possessed by the spirit of a dead general. In the hands of Simon Vance, this long book never lags. He’s adept at creating characters that quickly become familiar. His narrative voice is intimate and confiding. During the long preparation for the sustained siege, Vance keeps the action fresh and steady. J.E.M. Winner of AudioFile Earphones Award © AudioFile 2009

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