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4 out of 5 stars

Reviewed: 01-12-15

How and why the British Raj ended.

Would you recommend this audiobook to a friend? If so, why?

Definitely. This not only gives a very readable history of India but also an insight into the characters involved. There is a very interesting insight into the relationship between Lady Edwina Mountbatten and Jawaharlal Nehru. It also made me realise that Gandhi was not quite the force I had thought.

Who was your favorite character and why?

I did not have favourites. I did however come to view characters I thought I knew in a different light.

Did you have an emotional reaction to this book? Did it make you laugh or cry?

This made me embarrassed to be British and made me very thoughtful about other more modern events we have been, and are, involved in.

Any additional comments?

I found this book very easy to listen to. Stephen Thorne reads it well and kept my interest.

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1 of 1 people found this review helpful

3 out of 5 stars

Reviewed: 27-09-15

Amateur reading, superficial story

Would you try another book written by Mike Hoare or narrated by Mike Hoare?

This depends on the availability of other books on the subject being considered

Who might you have cast as narrator instead of Mike Hoare?

This is read in an amateurish way with cats heard in the background! Needs a professional actor or presenter for this.

Do you think The Last Days of the Cathars needs a follow-up book? Why or why not?

Not really. The story is fully covered though in a superficial way. Fortunately for me I have enough background of the Cathars to be able to make sense of the story.

Any additional comments?

This is the only book in Audible on the subject of Cathars and therefore is the best available. A much better book is "The Cathars: The Rise and Fall of the Great Heresy" by Sean Martin (available on Kindle) and would benefit from being an audiobook.

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2 of 3 people found this review helpful

4 out of 5 stars

Reviewed: 20-07-15

Masterly Written and Performed

What made the experience of listening to Shakespeare the most enjoyable?

This book is by three masters: the playwright (Shakespeare), the author (Peter Ackroyd) and the narrator (Simon Callow).

Shakespeare himself is something of an enigma. Whilst we know very little about him Ackroyd has managed to get three volumes out of the life story. Inevitably some of the things he has to say is supposition but is dealt with authoritatively.

The story does not always flow and there is some repetition. Nevertheless I found this an intriguing book.

One of the strengths of this production is that the narrator is Simon Callow, one of the great Shakespearian actors of the modern stage. This adds to the reading of the well written text of Peter Ackroyd.

It is disappointing that all three volumes were not included in one volume since all three are required for this to be a true biography and none of the volumes are useful as stand alone texts.

Having said all of this, I did thoroughly enjoy all three volumes.

What other book might you compare Shakespeare to, and why?

The only other audiobook on Shakespeare I have listened to is the Bill Bryson book "Shakespeare". The Ackroyd book comes across as much more authoritative and the narration no where near as effective as that of Simon Callow.

What does Simon Callow bring to the story that you wouldn’t experience if you had only read the book?

There is no doubt that listening to Simon Callow at any time is a treat. He, in his own right, is an authority on Shakespeare and he make the excellent text of Ackroyd all the more believable and worth listening to. He manages to present the nuances of Shakespeare and Ackroyd in a way that I would have missed if I had only read the book.

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5 out of 5 stars

Reviewed: 13-04-13

Moving and well written

A book about leprosy does not seem to be the best subject for a good read - but this book proves the exception. It is not surprising that it has won a book award.

The story starts with Alexis Fielding investigating family history on her mother's side of the family especially since her mother had been reticent about giving any information about her past. She visits the small village on Crete where her mother was born and as the book unfolds we find out about the family history of leprosy and isolation on the leprosy colony of Spinalonga, an island off the coast of Crete.

The story takes us through several generations, through village life, the impact of the German invasion in World War II and the discovery of treatments for leprosy.

This is all written beautifully with wonderful descriptions of the various personalities, the social impact of leprosy and of village life.

Whilst there are moving sad occasions there is also much to uplift.

This audiobook is beautifully read by Sandra Duncan who really gives life to the characters.

A must buy.

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