The Orpheus Descent

  • by Tom Harper
  • Narrated by Gareth Armstrong, Kris Milnes, Sarah Feathers
  • 14 hrs and 57 mins
  • Unabridged Audiobook

Publisher's Summary

Would you pay the ultimate price for the ultimate knowledge? I have never written down the answers to the deepest mysteries, nor will I ever....
The philosopher Plato wrote these words more than 2,000 years ago, following a perilous voyage to Italy - an experience about which he never spoke again, but from which he emerged the greatest thinker in all of human history. Today, 12 golden tablets sit in museums around the world, each created by unknown hands and buried in ancient times, and each providing the dead with the route to the afterlife.
Archaeologist Lily Barnes, working on a dig in southern Italy, has just found another. But this tablet names the location to the mouth of hell itself. And then Lily vanishes. Has she walked out on her job, her marriage, and her life - or has something more sinister happened? Her husband, Jonah, is desperate to find her. But no one can help him: not the police, and not the secretive foundation that sponsored her dig. All Jonah has is belief, and a determination to do whatever it takes to get Lily back.
But like Plato before him, Jonah will discover the journey ahead is mysterious and dark and fraught with danger. And not everyone who travels to the hidden place where Lily has gone can return.

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What the Critics Say

"Tom Harper has been writing elaborate thrillers that marry ironclad narrative skills with some of the most elegantly understated writing in the field; he's the thinking person's Dan Brown. Actually, Harper deserves the latter's success - and more, as Harper is comfortably the better writer." (Barry Forshaw)
"Harper effortlessly draws the reader into an unfamiliar time, bringing alive the characters and their motivations." (Publishers Weekly)

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Customer Reviews

Most Helpful

Myth Reworked - Badly

I read the blurb for this book and it sounded so good that I bought it without waiting for my monthly credits. I shouldn't have bothered.

The first few chapters are exciting, making the reader want to race on to find out how the plot is going to develop. Unfortunately, the rest of the book fails to live up to this promising beginning. The first mistake is that the current day mystery is wrapped around a dramatised tale of Plato's visit to Italy; the narratives in no way mirror each other and the author should have concentrated on just one.

The Plato story is one that has been revisited many, many times over the last two and a half millennia. Everything that could possibly have been said has been said and the author should have left well alone. The other strand of the book is basically a modern day version of the "Orpheus and Euridice" myth. Again, this has been done to death over the centuries and this is not one of the better versions. It starts well, but fizzles out and even the ending is predictable and not particularly well plotted out.

In the book's defence, the narrators did a sterling job. The exception to this is the quotation from Plato read at the beginning of each strand of that part of the story; it was recorded using an echo chamber mike and made it sound like the start of a cheap rock music track (an album track at that!). This was totally unnecessary.

In summary, this book attempts to be too many things and, as is usual with such things, fails to do any of them well.
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- Michelle

A descent into Hades!

The premise of the novel was good but it all went on for far too long! It was extremely irritating the way the story kept switching between Ancuent Greece and modern times. The author should have put Plato's story ss a preface and then told Lily's story...switching between one and another just slowed down the pace of the novel.
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- M. Price

Book Details

  • Release Date: 23-05-2013
  • Publisher: Hodder & Stoughton