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An excellent debut from Peter Hanington. This is a book of gritty realism pitching characters who are built carefully into strong personalities without being imbued with unrealistic talents or capabilities. The main protagonist William Carver is as cynical an old hack as you can imagine. A man who knows the ropes, a solid journalist but with his significant weaknesses too, especially when he's had a few and women are involved! The other characters are likewise built into well-rounded individuals with conflicting motivations and often not quite enough talent to achieve all they would want to. Hanington avoids the usual clichés of having clever young thing trying to outwit older character and vice versa in a joint smugness contest. We've all read far too many of those!
The story is not a sentimental one. It's about how money and politics dominate foreign policy and the behaviour of those in power. However, it's told with what I felt was a genuine and warm affinity to the region and its troubles. I am certainly no expert but throughout the book seemed to ooze authenticity whether it was scenes within the hallowed halls of British institutions like the BBC or the shadowy underworld of Kabul. I particularly enjoyed Baba and his fountain!
The narration by Jonathan Keeble captures the essence of the book with real aplomb. His William Carver is as perfect as I could imagine and he carries the tension and excitement expertly to the book's very satisfying conclusion. His down to earth delivery re-enforces the realism of the characters Hanington has crafted for this story.
This is one of those rare books. It promised a lot and it delivered what it promised. If the description of the story from the publisher appeals to you then I have high confidence you'll enjoy this one.
15 of 19 people found this review helpful
Would you recommend this audiobook to a friend? If so, why?
I would recommend this book because it portrays the middle east as a complicated area with cultural and economic aspects that perhaps we westerners are not capable of understanding. We seem arrogant when we try to manage or make what we call improvement to Afghanistan when we have little in common historically,culturally and spiritually.
What was one of the most memorable moments of A Dying Breed?
The Afghanistan Warlord,has a story and a point of view that is understandable, that while it
doesn't make him a sympathetic person or justify his activities, I could see that he too has a
humanity. For example the Warlord was concerned about a young relative that he was helping. When the young man was killed, the Warlord wanted to know how and by whom.
The Americans and English thought that the Warlord had economic issues the Warlord was
trying to advance. The Americans and the English and the Warlord were working at cross purposes.
Have you listened to any of Jonathan Keeble’s other performances before? How does this one compare?
I have heard his name before, but I can't remember anything of his that I have listened to
before. He is excellent.
Was this a book you wanted to listen to all in one sitting?
I had a very difficult tine, setting this book aside,so I get ready for work, sleep or other duties. I still finished it in 2 days.
10 of 10 people found this review helpful
If you like to follow journalists (real or fictionalized) on their adventures around the world, you will enjoy this book. It is set for the most part in Afghanistan and London -- places where journalists ply their trade as troop-embedded witnesses to the longest war in history; and where their bosses make decisions about what makes news while embedded behind ornate desks in big offices. This book has a great deal of horrific brutality in its story; and also provides a glimpse of the lonely life that must be that of journalists sent to cover conflicts in other nations. Lots of alcohol, lots of competition, lots of missed opportunities for relationships, families and ethical purpose.
In all, the characters were very well done and the narration terrific. A good story!
8 of 8 people found this review helpful