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Jerusalem by Alan Moore

jerusalemHere 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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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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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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The Drowning by Camilla Läckberg

drowningFrom worldwide bestseller Camilla Läckberg: a new novel from a reclusive Fjallbacka resident has enraptured the community?but what secrets and tragedies are lurking behind the pages and threatening to come to life?

Christian Thydell’s dream has come true. His debut novel, The Mermaid, has been published to rave reviews. So why is he as distant and unhappy as ever?

When crime writer Erica Falck, who helped Christian discover and develop his talents, learns he has been receiving anonymous threats, she investigates not just the messages but also the young author mysterious past. Then, one of Christian’s closet friends, Magnus, goes missing.

Erica’s husband, Detective Patrik Hedström, has his worst suspicions confirmed as the mind-games aimed at Christian become a disturbing reality. Christian’s group of friends?a “gang of four” from childhood?is a tangled web of relationships, love triangles, and family secrets that Erica and Patrick must unravel in order to discover what really happened to Magnus and who is still threatening Christian.

But, with the victims themselves concealing evidence, the investigation is going nowhere. Is their silence driven by fear or guilt? What is the secret they would rather die to protect than live to see revealed?

Here is the Earphone award winning AudioFile magazine review:

There will be no stopping once you start listening to Simon Vance’s performance of this riveting new mystery. Christian, a successful novelist and protégé of Erica Hedström, collapses after receiving another in a series of threatening notes. Christian’s friend, Magnus, has disappeared, and the police are stymied. After Magnus’s body is found, Detective Patrik Hedström and his wife, Erica, investigate, revealing a shocking secret going back decades and winding through the lives of the residents of Fjallbacka. Vance makes the listening smooth, pronouncing the many Scandinavian names and places with professional expertise. He removes all barriers between listener and characters, and as the puzzle grows more intricate, guides us expertly through the dark places just below the surface. S.J.H. Winner of AudioFile Earphones Award © AudioFile 2016, Portland, Mainered_earphones

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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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Euphoria by Lily King

euphoria-book-cover-flatRead with the wonderful Xe Sands

From Booklist

Just after a failed suicide attempt, Andrew Bankson, English anthropologist studying the Kiona tribe in the territory of New Guinea, meets a pair of fellow anthropologists fleeing from a cannibalistic tribe down river. Nell Stone is controversial and well respected. Her rough Australian husband, Fen, is envious of her fame and determined to outshine her. Bankson helps them find a new tribe to study, the artistic, female-­dominated Tam. Nell’s quiet assurance and love of the work, and Fen’s easy familiarity, pull Bankson back from the brink. But it is the growing fire between him and Nell that they cannot do anything about. Layered on top of that is Nell’s grasp of the nuances of the Tam, which makes it clear that she will once again surpass Fen. Set between the First and Second World Wars, the story is loosely based on events in the life of Margaret Mead. There are fascinating looks into other cultures and how they are studied, and the sacrifices and dangers that go along with it. This is a powerful story, at once gritty, sensuous, and captivating. –Elizabeth Dickie

 

Here is the Earphone award winning AudioFile magazine review:

In a perfect marriage of words and voice, narrators Simon Vance and Xe Sands join author Lily King to produce an extraordinary audiobook experience. Inspired by events in the life of cultural anthropologist Margaret Mead, King has fashioned a haunting novel of love, ambition, and obsession, focused on three anthropologists off-map in New Guinea just before WWII. Delivering the alternating chapters of Mead’s stand-in, American Nell Stone, and Englishman Andrew Bankson, Sands and Vance perform the stupendous feat of creating memorable versions of the same characters. Their performances offer nuanced interpretations of the different personalities and echo, but do not copy, each other’s approach. Also, each uses a unique narrative pace that enhances the listener’s understanding of this unforgettable tale. A.C.S. Winner of AudioFile Earphones Award, 2015 Audies Winner © AudioFile 2014, Portland, Mainered_earphones

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The Zhivago Affair by Peter Finn and Petra Couvée

zhivagoThe Kremlin, the CIA,and the Battle Over a Forbidden Book

Drawing on newly declassified government files, this is the dramatic story of how a forbidden book in the Soviet Union became a secret CIA weapon in the ideological battle between East and West.

In May 1956, an Italian publishing scout took a train to a village just outside Moscow to visit Russia’s greatest living poet, Boris Pasternak. He left carrying the original manuscript of Pasternak’s first and only novel, entrusted to him with these words: “This is Doctor Zhivago. May it make its way around the world.” Pasternak believed his novel was unlikely ever to be published in the Soviet Union, where the authorities regarded it as an irredeemable assault on the 1917 Revolution. But he thought it stood a chance in the West and, indeed, beginning in Italy, Doctor Zhivago was widely published in translation throughout the world.

From there the life of this extraordinary book entered the realm of the spy novel. The CIA, which recognized that the Cold War was above all an ideological battle, published a Russian-language edition of Doctor Zhivago and smuggled it into the Soviet Union. Copies were devoured in Moscow and Leningrad, sold on the black market, and passed surreptitiously from friend to friend. Pasternak’s funeral in 1960 was attended by thousands of admirers who defied their government to bid him farewell. The example he set launched the great tradition of the writer-dissident in the Soviet Union.

In The Zhivago Affair, Peter Finn and Petra Couvée bring us intimately close to this charming, passionate, and complex artist. First to obtain CIA files providing concrete proof of the agency’s involvement, the authors give us a literary thriller that takes us back to a fascinating period of the Cold War—to a time when literature had the power to stir the world.

Here is the Earphone award winning AudioFile magazine review:

This audiobook proves yet again that fact can be as fascinating as fiction, particularly when Simon Vance is the narrator. Although Nobel Prize-winning author Boris Pasternak believed that DOCTOR ZHIVAGO could never be published in his native country, the CIA thought differently, recognizing the book’s importance to the Cold War. In this eye-opening historical work, the authors document how the CIA smuggled the masterpiece into the Soviet Union, where it sold furiously on the black market and had a transformative effect on society. Vance’s adept use of accent and inflection complement the book, which is as exciting as a spy novel. Calling this a page-turner doesn’t do justice, however, to Vance’s elegant and memorable performance. D.J.S. Winner of AudioFile Earphones Awardred_earphones

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The Hidden Child by Camilla Läckberg

Hidden_ChildThe brilliant new psychological thriller from worldwide bestseller Camilla Läckberg—the chilling struggle of a young woman facing the darkest chapter of Europe’s past.
Crime writer Erica Falck is shocked to discover a Nazi medal among her late mother’s possessions. Haunted by a childhood of neglect, she resolves to dig deep into her family’s past and finally uncover the reasons why. Her enquiries lead her to the home of a retired history teacher. He was among her mother’s circle of friends during the Second World War but her questions are met with bizarre and evasive answers. Two days later he meets a violent death. Detective Patrik Hedström, Erica’s husband, is on paternity leave but soon becomes embroiled in the murder investigation. Who would kill so ruthlessly to bury secrets so old? Reluctantly Erica must read her mother’s wartime diaries. But within the pages is a painful revelation about Erica’s past. Could what little knowledge she has be enough to endanger her husband and newborn baby? The dark past is coming to light, and no one will escape the truth of how they came to be…red_earphones

Here is the Earphone award winning AudioFile magazine review:

Lesser narrators might be challenged by meshing two eras and an enormous cast of characters. However, Simon Vance’s transitions are smooth, and his narration fluid despite myriad emotions and the author’s complicated plot. Vance’s accurate pronunciations make listeners comfortable in the Swedish setting, allowing easy entry into the fifth gripping mystery in Läckberg’s series. Present-day crime writer Erica Falck is puzzled when she finds a Nazi war medal in her mother’s possessions. Erica and her husband, police detective Patrik Hedstrom, juggle parenting a toddler and their investigations. Vance enhances the story’s comic relief, parenting struggles, and culture clashes through outstanding characterizations, all the while reflecting the building tension. S.W. Winner of AudioFile Earphones Award © AudioFile 2014, Portland, Maine

 

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