• by Peter Ackroyd
  • Narrated by Sir Derek Jacobi
  • 11 hrs and 6 mins
  • Unabridged Audiobook

Publisher's Summary

Peter Ackroyd's Hawksmoor was first published in 1985. Alternating between the eighteenth century, when Nicholas Dyer, assistant to Christopher Wren, builds seven London churches that house a terrible secret, and the 1980s, when London detective Nicholas Hawksmoor is investigating a series of gruesome murders on the sight of certain old churches, Hawksmoor is a brilliant tale of darkness and shadow.


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Customer Reviews

Most Helpful

Strangely compelling

One of the strangest and yet most compelling books I've listened to. About 45 minutes into this, I thought I would have to abandon it because the story seemed to be going nowhere. It was only the love of Sir Derek Jacobi's voice which kept me listening. And then I "got it". Well, sort of got it!. If you are expecting a conventional murder mystery, this is not it. The beauty of the book lays in the manipulation of words and images far more than it does the plot. I do not think I could read the print version of this, for me it only works because of Jacobi, I truly think he is the only actor who could narrate this. The speed, clarity and dexterity of his delivery is awesome. I shall listen to this one again, not for the story but for the comforting feeling of listening to well-written English prose read by one of the best actors ever.
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- Enquiring Mind

London as a place of darkness and enlightenment

I first read this book well over twenty years ago and immediately identified with Peter Ackroyd’s vison of London as being a place with a unique arcane character. Living in London's East end (having moved down from up North) I was immediately struck by the curiously elegant Hawksmoor churches that stood out brilliantly against the decay and grime of the City's edge and I often wondered if there was something behind their strange otherness. This is beautifully addressed in this novel where the author tells us about the building of the churches and mixes historical facts with a fictional story of mystery, arch villainy and magic. Here the architect is Nicholas Dyer; a man on one hand is firmly rooted in reality and with a very human and petty sense a rivalry with Sir Christopher Wren. In contrast he harbours dark and murderous secrets and beliefs that belong in the world of paganism and devil worship. The historical story is interlaced with the tale of the modern day Nicholas Hawksmoor who is a detective investigating a series of murders centred on the Hawksmoor churches and seems to have a link with the erstwhile Mr Dyer. This is a book that is difficult to describe but for those who enjoy chilling, imaginative and innovative fiction it is a wonderfully atmospheric experience which will entice you to find out more about London’s incredible history.
I think on balance I enjoyed reading the book more than listening, but I really liked Derek Jacobi's performance and in particular his interpretation of Nicholas Dyer which very neatly avoided the obvious temptation to make him sound too much like a pantomime villain. As an aside, if you want an easier introduction into Peter Ackroyd’s fiction, I recommend Dan Leno and the Limehouse Golem and I think from that you could very easily develop an addiction to this very special author.
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- Kaggy

Book Details

  • Release Date: 05-11-2010
  • Publisher: Audible Studios