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Buccaneers, heroes and zealots

Gesamt
4 out of 5 stars
Sprecher
5 out of 5 stars
Geschichte
4 out of 5 stars

Rezensiert am: 17.07.2019

Charles Kingsley will not make the best seller lists anymore and there are a couple of aspects, which make his writing hard to digest nowadays, but I came across Westward Ho, when I visited the lovely village of Clovelly in Devon, where Kingsley did most of his work.

Kingsley was quite a character. He was a minister of the Church of England, but his ardent dislike of Catholics, the bottomless hatred of the Spanish and the incredible contempt of the Irish are hard to reconcile with his office.

Regardless of that, I was immediately enthralled by the story, just by listening to Frederick Davidson, who did an outstanding job. His voice makes the characters come alive and it is pure pleasure to listen to him.

Westward Ho is the story of the Elizabethan Amyas Leigh, who sailed with Sir Francis Drake and Sir Walter Raleigh to the New World. The young Amyas is quite a handful and soon enough he sails with Drake around the world. He becomes a buccaneer and his insatiable hunger for gold and his hatred of the Spaniards drives him to the Caribbean and the jungles of South America.

There are enough sea battles, duels and sword fighting to make the story entertaining and of course there is love and passion to spice the story even more. The final bonus is the accurate description of the battle of the Spanish Armada.

Yes, the story was written more 150 years ago and some of it appears silly now, but regardless of that, I enjoyed the book

1 Person fand das hilfreich

Gripping, but runs out of steam at times

Gesamt
4 out of 5 stars
Sprecher
5 out of 5 stars
Geschichte
4 out of 5 stars

Rezensiert am: 16.06.2019

Of course, Michael Connelly knows how to write crime fiction and he is extremely good at creating unusual, but plausible characters. This is one of the reasons, why I am a real fan of the Harry Bosch series. In Gods of Guilt, Mickey Haller, the Lincoln lawyer, is a completely different character and much less likeable. It comes with the profession that we tend to regard lawyers as scum, because they try so very hard – if the money is right – to get criminals of the hook.

This story is a classical example of this conflict. Mickey Haller takes over the defense of a pimp, who is accused of having viciously killed one of his prostitutes. All the evidence is pointing his direction and his past as a smalltime perpetrator does not help him. No wonder, Mickey Haller’s daughter, as well as his ex, have serious issues with that. Against all odds, Mickey Haller and his team work very hard to uncover the truth and to prove the innocence of his client.

From this point on the story becomes more a detective story with all the usual ingredients, even attempted murder. Regardless of all the action, the story sags a little bit in the middle part, but ends with thunder and lighting.
All in all, nicely told and entertaining enough.

1 Person fand das hilfreich

Dan Brown has answers to the ultimate questions

Gesamt
3 out of 5 stars
Sprecher
5 out of 5 stars
Geschichte
3 out of 5 stars

Rezensiert am: 11.10.2018

I became ardent fan of Dan Brown, when I read the DaVinci Code. It was such an unusual, mesmerizing thriller, filled to the brim with well researched historical facts and speculations, I simply could not put the book down. Of course I also came to like Robert Langdon, this unbelievable smart and savvy historian.

Unfortunately Dan Brown struggles very hard to deliver anything close to that with his later novels. Origin is well written and packed with trivia of art and history, especially the detailed information about Antoni Gaudi and his architecture are a pleasure to hear. On top of that the author does not shy away from tackling the great issues of humanity, the conflict of science and religion and the impact of artificial intelligence on our future. Regardless of that, Dan Brown wanted too much and ran the risk of coming across as a preacher of his own religious beliefs and wannabe prophet of mankind’s future.

In Origin we meet again with Robert Langdon in Bilbao Spain. He is attending an event in the world famous Guggenheim museum, where his friend and former student Edmund Kirsch will reveal to the world the answer to the ultimate questions, where do we come from and where are we going. His friend is well aware of the tremendous impact his revelation will have on religions and mankind in general, but even he did not expect, what is going to happen.

In the course of events Harry Langdon is chased across Spain, accompanied by the beautiful director of the Guggenheim museum and future queen of Spain. In a battle against ultraconservative forces he makes it his mission to make the findings of his friend Robert Kirsch known to the world. In this life threatening task he finds a comrade-in-arms in Vincent, the AI computer programmed by Robert Kirsch.

Yes, this is a mouthful, but overall entertaining and fun to listen to.

1 Person fand das hilfreich

Van Gogh amidst the twin tower tragedy

Gesamt
2 out of 5 stars
Sprecher
4 out of 5 stars
Geschichte
2 out of 5 stars

Rezensiert am: 10.10.2018

I know that Jeffrey Archer can do better than that. This novel is far from what he usually delivers. Using the tragic events of September 11 as a setting for a disappointingly weak crime story about a stolen van Gogh painting is simply poor taste.

Anna Petrescu, a brilliant PhD art expert, who works for a rich but shady banker starts to doubt the legality or ethics of her employer’s business practices. When an aristocratic old lady in Great Britain is in danger to lose her estate, including a valuable art collection, she sets out on a mission to put things right again. She is unaware of an ongoing FBI investigation and her actions put her under suspicion and make her look like an accomplice.

It is a fast moving story, covering events in the USA, Great Britain, Romania and Japan and including crimes of all types, murder, fraud, money laundering etc. Regardless of all that, the story appears construed and predictable, the characters are black and white and the romantic ending reminds you of pulp fiction.

Some listeners were unhappy with Lorelei King's Performance. I cannot agree with that, she actually made me finish the story.

1 Person fand das hilfreich

Immigration, the real story

Gesamt
4 out of 5 stars
Sprecher
5 out of 5 stars
Geschichte
4 out of 5 stars

Rezensiert am: 17.09.2018

I do not know, whether this is a great book, but it definitely is an important book. Ngozi Adichie tells the story of Ifemelu and Obinze, two Nigerian teenagers, a young couple with great dreams and expectations. They want to leave Nigeria, because they don’t see any chance for an adequate career and a decent live, they want to move to the USA. Unfortunately reality catches up with them and their plan turns into an odyssey full of hardship, misery and pain and finally their lives drift apart.

No doubt, Adichie is a skillful narrator. She tells the story with sufficient warmth and passion and the characters are drawn in loving detail and appear to be lifelike individuals. The prose is adequate and fits to the diary like narrative.

I especially liked the voice of Adjoa Andoh. She might not be Nigerian, but she tells the story with a charming accent, which makes the listening pure joy.

The book is full of interesting details and observations. Ifemelu’s blog about white and black America is full of biting wit, but very depressing at the same time. You will learn a lot about immigration issues, trafficking and related crimes. The book also offers a lot of insight into Nigerian politics and everyday life of the prosperous as well as the poor.

The romantic thread did not impress me that much. There were signs of deep love and affection, but also a lot of superficial aspects. Ifemelu does not hesitate at all to break a family apart, just to get her Obinze back.

Some of the book's content rubbed me the wrong way. Corruption, political intrigue and nepotism in Nigeria appear to be widely accepted as part of the culture. Ifemelu, who had a sharp eye for all the sore spots in the US society, appeared to be rather blind after her return to Nigeria.

I still do not know, whether I really liked the book, but it was good that I read it.

1 Person fand das hilfreich

The old Jack Reacher is back

Gesamt
4 out of 5 stars
Sprecher
5 out of 5 stars
Geschichte
4 out of 5 stars

Rezensiert am: 22.02.2018

With the ‘The Midnight Line' Lee Child brings back the Reacher, we fell in love with. I was ready to give up on him during the last couple of books, which appeared to me flat and construed, but the new book surprised me. It is not just the reappearance of the old Reacher, powerful, stubborn and self-assured, who will set out to put things right against all odds, but also the haunting and evocative storyline resonated strongly with me. It is an emotional story, deeply moving with a strong message. It is a story about forgotten heroes and society’s indifference and neglect.

In a pawnshop in Wisconsin Reacher finds a class ring West Point 2005. The ring is small with the initials engraved on the inside and obviously made for a petite woman. Why would somebody give up a ring like that? Reacher would not be Reacher, if he was not piqued to find out more. He sets out on a quest, which quickly draws him into a quagmire of corruption, organized crime and drug dealers and no wonder, soon enough, he becomes a target himself.

Of course, we all know, how likely it is that one guy beats up a bunch of other guys, not just once, but with a certain regularity. It really is highly unlikely, but we would love it to be true. Jack Reacher is a fairy tale figure for adults and his existence would give us comfort in a world, where fairness and justice are hard to find sometimes.

3 Leute fanden das hilfreich

Russian teenage physicist saves the world

Gesamt
4 out of 5 stars
Sprecher
4 out of 5 stars
Geschichte
3 out of 5 stars

Rezensiert am: 22.02.2018

It is a lovely book and Katie Kennedy managed to charm me in spite of all the misgivings, I had initially. The story cannot be taken too seriously, it is rather harmless and unrealistic and probably targeted at young adults, but is nicely told and Katie Kennedy really knows how to create enchanting and endearing characters. It really is a “feel good” story and that helps to overlook all the clichés presented in the narrative. At times, I was afraid that Yuri, the young Russian and Dovie with her hippy parents would turn into cartoon characters, but somehow the author managed to avoid this trap.

Learning to Swear in America is not a nail biting thriller, even though it is full of action and events. The story is quite funny at times, but most of all I perceived it as a story of coming of age, first love, purpose and meaning of life and maybe even the essence of being human.

Briefly summarized, the plot is as follows. An asteroid threatens to destroy the earth or at least most of California. There are just a couple of days left and all the leading scientists are clueless, how to stop it. Luckily, there is Yuri, a 17 year old Russian physicist, who could help with his ground breaking research on antimatter, but the eggheads at NASA distrust his approach. In the pending doom and the disaster just days away, Yuri meets Dovie and his eyes are opened to a completely different world apart from physics and math. He starts to understand, why it is so important to save the world.

Perhaps the story is a little bit corny, but it is a pleasure to read it.

Love and Jealousy in the Jungle of New Guinea

Gesamt
5 out of 5 stars
Sprecher
5 out of 5 stars
Geschichte
5 out of 5 stars

Rezensiert am: 31.01.2018

Relax, Euphoria is not a biography of the famous and at times very controversial anthropologist Margaret Mead, even if Nell Stone, the protagonist of the story, has a kindred spirit and might remind you of her. With Euphoria Lily King created a deeply moving and highly intelligent novel about human ambition and greed, love and jealousy, life and death, set in the exotic environment of the interior of New Guinea.

No surprise, Lily King knows how to tell a story. Her prose is full of powerful images and she precisely depicts not just the environment, but mood and emotions as well. She literally takes you to the jungle in New Guinea and you will start to smell the stink of rotting vegetation, foul breath and unwashed bodies. You will feel the oppressive heat and the onslaught of myriads of insects and most important of all, you will sense the lingering doom and impending tragedy.

The book tells the story of 3 young anthropologists, studying the culture and behavior of tribes in New Guinea untouched by civilization, the already modestly famous American Nell Stone, her envious and jealous Australian husband Fen and the British Andrew Bankson. Nell and Fen had to flee from their last project, when an enraged Mumbanyo tribe member throws a dead baby at Nell Stone. She breaks a leg during the flight and she and her husband are dispirited, dirty and sick with fever and downcast by failure. This is how they run into the depressed and lonesome Andrew. Andrew craves for company and easily persuades Nell and Fen to restart their research work with the Kiona tribe on a nearby lake. Very quickly Andrew becomes enthralled with the couple, especially with Nell. The three of them do some of their best work together, but it does not take long and love and jealousy get out of control, the three of them are heading for disaster.

It is a great book, beautifully read and the only complaint I have, it is too short.

2 Leute fanden das hilfreich

Hadrian and Royce on a quest to save a fairy

Gesamt
5 out of 5 stars
Sprecher
5 out of 5 stars
Geschichte
4 out of 5 stars

Rezensiert am: 26.01.2018

Michael J. Sullivan did not disappoint me. The Death of Dulgath, the third book of the Riyria chronicles is as entertaining as its predecessors. Of course this is not Pulitzer prize stuff, but it is just fun to hear more from Hadrian Blackwater and Royce Melborn. The witty and snappy banter, their dare devil attitude and the quality of good old fashioned story telling make it hard to put the book down or stop listening.

The story might be a little bit less violent this time, but this did not diminish its quality. Royce is still as vicious as ever and good natured Hadrian might have even gotten a bit more naïve, but both of them throw all their principles over board, when there is an opportunity to help a damsel in distress. Only this time the damsel is the last member of an old noble house and targeted for assassination, but even more disturbing is the dark secret this lady is sharing with Royce.

This is phantasy as good as it gets.

1 Person fand das hilfreich

A Modern Epic, Spanning Decades and Continents

Gesamt
4 out of 5 stars
Sprecher
2 out of 5 stars
Geschichte
4 out of 5 stars

Rezensiert am: 24.01.2018

To say the least, Purity is a very ambitious book. Jonathan Franzen takes you on a quest, where he tries to deal with the blessings and woes of information society, the war between sexes, the problems of early adulthood, self-abandonment and even murder. Of course this tour de force is never boring, regardless of its epical length. At times plausibility might be stretched a little bit too far and the story gets a little bit too close to a modern fairy tale, but overall it is a masterpiece of storytelling.

The book tells the story of 23 year old Pip Tyler, an awkward young girl, who does not know her real name, but is stuck with 130.000 $ student debt. Her mother is overly protective and possessive and hides from the world in a small cabin in the woods. After a period of squatting with some drop-outs in Oakland, Pip is lured by a German woman to the jungles in South America, where she meets the mesmerizing Andreas Wolf, a Snowdon-like whistle-blower and former dissident in East-Germany. Torn between hostility and infatuation her stay in Wolf’s camp becomes unbearable and she is sent to Denver to work as an intern for the journalist Tom Aberant. A dark secret binds Wolf and Aberant together and Pip does not know, how to untangle herself.

Especially when describing the life in East-Germany and the fall of the Berlin wall, the narrative is not always accurate, but this might only be noticeable to German listeners. There are also lengthy passages, where you might ask, where this is going, but these are minor flaws. Overall it is an extremely fascinating story with great characters, especially Pip, with all her hostility and bitchiness will get close to your heart.

The one aspect of this audiobook, which became a real nuisance, was the constant mispronunciation to imitate a bad German accent. This was even more aggravating, because German Words and names were mispronounced as well. Otherwise all of the speakers did a good job.

2 Leute fanden das hilfreich