The Ruby in Her Navel

  • by Barry Unsworth
  • Narrated by Andrew Sachs
  • 12 hrs and 22 mins
  • Unabridged Audiobook

Publisher's Summary

Thurstan, a young Norman and would-be Knight at the Court of King Roger in Palermo, has been in love since boyhood with Lady Alicia, now returned a widow from the Holy Land. Thurstan soon finds himself caught in a tangle of plots.


What the Critics Say

"A richly imagined novel of the Middle Ages, filled with questions of race, God and fidelity, from the Booker Prize-winning Unsworth." (Kirkus Reviews)


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Customer Reviews

Most Helpful

Sol y Sombra or Sun and Shade

This book is an audio page-turner. The plot moves fast and keeps the listener wondering as it twists and turns with good descriptions of the landscape, people and architecture of Palermo and southern Italy in the mid-12th Century.

The court of King Roger of the Two Sicilies is rife with plots, intrigue and tensions between the Normans and the Arabs who both run the adminstration of the court and country. Caught in the power struggle is Thurston, a young man, half English and half Norman so of no fixed loyalties. He is young with hopes and dreams and makes mistakes with the usual unhappy consequences, but is an engaging character.

This is well narrated and well-worth a listen for the plot and the moment in history.
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- Rogayah


What did you like best about The Ruby in Her Navel? What did you like least?

The twist in the story, although it was sign posted. It is about cultural difference and the impact of a changing balance of power. In this way its modern, but the story is slow and unconvincing. I was expecting more from the write up.

How would you have changed the story to make it more enjoyable?

I think the end was a bit too contrived and wound up too quickly to be satisfying.

What three words best describe Andrew Sachs’s performance?


Do you think The Ruby in Her Navel needs a follow-up book? Why or why not?

No one of these is enough. It served the purpose the author set for the story.

Any additional comments?

A fictional exploration of mixing cultures whereby the story suffers.

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- Ms G. Lovell

Book Details

  • Release Date: 12-06-2007
  • Publisher: Audible Studios