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Scaramouche by Raphael Sabatini

The passionate Andre-Louis Moreau makes an unexpected entrance into the French Revolution when he vows to avenge his best friend’s death. His target: Monsieur de La Tour d’Azyr, the aristocratic villain who killed his friend. Andre-Louis rallies the underclass to join him in his mission against the supreme power of the nobility. Soon the rebel leader must go underground, disguising himself as “Scaramouche” in a traveling group of actors. In the midst of his swashbuckling adventures and his country’s revolution, he discovers the secret of his own identity.
Known as “The Last of the Great Swashbucklers,” Rafael Sabatini was an Italian-born author whose two lifelong passions—the demand for justice and the desire for tolerance—were common themes in his novels. His best-known works include The Sea-Hawk, Scaramouche, and Captain Blood, all of which were made into films. Sabatini was born in 1875 in the small town of Jesi, Italy. His English mother and Italian father were both well-known opera singers. They traveled extensively, so they sent Rafael to live in England until he was seven. Rafael then lived in Portugal and Milan with his parents until he was sent to school in Switzerland. He was a voracious reader and became proficient in four languages. At age seventeen, his father sent him to Liverpool to work as a translator. Sabatini began writing romances at the age of twenty, and his short fiction was published in a number of national magazines. In 1905, he quit his translator job to devote himself to writing full time, producing a book a year. That same year he married a daughter of a well-to-do Liverpool paper merchant, and four years later they had a son, Rafael-Angelo. Sabatini became a British citizen during World War I and worked in the British Intelligence as a translator. In the 1920s, with the publication of the international bestsellers Scaramouche and Captain Blood, he became an overnight success. In 1927, Rafael was devastated by the death of their only child, who was killed in an automobile accident. He fell into a deep depression, wrote very little, divorced his wife, and suffered financially from the Great Depression. However, in 1931 life improved when he moved outside London to Wye and remarried at age sixty. In his later years, he spent his time writing, fishing, and skiing in Switzerland, where he died in 1950.

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We Shall See God by Randy Alcorn

No author in history has more material in print than Charles Spurgeon. During his lifetime, Spurgeon and his writings affected the world far and wide. Today, nearly 120 years after his death, countless people continue to have a passion for this London preacher, and more and more discover him every day. Some of Spurgeon’s most powerful sermons were those that he preached on the topic of Heaven. Up until now, however, very few of these sermons have been accessible to a mass audience. In what is sure to become an instant classic, best-selling author Randy Alcorn has compiled the most profound spiritual insights on the topic of eternity from these sermons and arranged them into an easily-accessible, highly inspirational devotional format complete with his own comments and devotional thoughts. Whether you are familiar with the works of Charles Spurgeon or not, you are in for a treat, as Alcorn invites you to sit at the feet of the Prince of Preachers and discover timeless pearls of wisdom from one of the greatest theological minds of all time.

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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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In an Antique Land by Amitav Ghosh

Once upon a time an Indian writer named Amitav Ghosh set out to find an Indian slave, name unknown, who some seven hundred years before had traveled to the Middle East. The journey took him to a small village in Egypt, where medieval customs coexist with twentieth-century desires and discontents. But even as Ghosh sought to re-create the life of his Indian predecessor, he found himself immersed in those of his modern Egyptian neighbors. Combining shrewd observations with painstaking historical research, Ghosh serves up skeptics and holy men, merchants and sorcerers. Some of these figures are real, some only imagined, but all emerge as vividly as the characters in a great novel. In an Antique Land is an inspired work that transcends genres as deftly as it does eras, weaving an entrancing and intoxicating spell.

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Tigana by Guy Gavriel Kay

This is not a new book, but I’m only now listing it because of the Earphone Award it has just received from AudioFile Magazine with this excellent review:
Only those who were born in Tigana can speak or hear its name and remember their homeland. But a small resistance band begins to gather in hopes of driving out the sorcerer who tried to wipe out Tigana. Simon Vance is a consummate storyteller. His characterizations are vivid and nuanced. Through an extensive repertoire of accents and judicious use of pace and tone, he differentiates a large number of characters. Vance creates a feeling of intimacy that is effective in maintaining a sense of engagement with the characters and the events that are unfolding. His narration skills are particularly welcome in a book of this length. J.E.M. Winner of AudioFile Earphones Award © AudioFile 2011

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The Return by Håkan Nesser

The ReturnFrom Publisher’s Weekly:red_earphones

Nesser’s latest contemporary police procedural, set in his Swedish homeland, is an excellent puzzler that will remind many of the Inspector Morse series. Nesser’s sleuth, Detective Chief Inspector Van Veeteren, is on the eve of major surgery when a baffling murder case is dumped on his team; a mutilated corpse has been found in a ditch, and is eventually identified as that of Leopold Verhaven, a recently released double murderer. Verhaven’s crimes were odd ones-vicious attacks on women decades apart-and his own killing raises the spectre that he was not guilty of them. Van Veeteren and his squad deftly delve through decades of faded eyewitness recollections before reaching a satisfying solution, albeit one that requires the inspector to cross a line to achieve justice. The sardonic Van Veeteren is an enteratining lead character, and this book should lead many to seek out earlier entries in the series.
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AudioFile Magazine (Earphone Winner):

Swedish mystery writer Håkan Nesser demonstrates that he’s every bit as adept an author as his more famous American counterparts. Of course, having Simon Vance at the microphone never hurts. Vance thrives with well-written dialogue, and the give-and-take among Nesser’s characters is ideally designed for him. In particular, Vance molds the exciting plot involving Detective Chief Inspector Van Veeteren, the sleuth at the center of the action. With a deftness of phrase, Vance makes the book a joy and keeps the listener focused. Couple Vance’s performance with a thoroughly satisfying resolution, and it’s clear why THE RETURN, one of a series, will please even the toughest critics. D.J.S. Winner of AudioFile Earphones Award © AudioFile 2011, Portland, Maine – See more at: http://www.audiofilemagazine.com/reviews/read/65972/#sthash.XFlDtiIY.dpuf

 

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