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One of those books I'd always wanted to read but never got around to, so the chance to listen to it whilst commuting was too good to miss. The stories are often odd, sometimes amusing and regularly exciting. They also give a fascinating glimpse into the way the mediaeval mind worked.
However, I so nearly asked for a refund as the narration is quite simply diabolical. Frederick Davidson has a posh old Etonian-style accent and he enunciates well with no mistakes, but his delivery of the prose is as the dryest sermon you ever heard from some stuffy old vicar who has long since given up trying to win any new souls. There are no changes of mood, no excitement in the heat of battle, no sorrow or love, just stoic indifference (dearly beloved, blah, blah, blah). The dialogue is even worse as he changes hiis voice by moving back from the microphone, looking down his nose and expressing himself like a constipated wombat. Merlin, the kings, the knights of the round table and poor farmers alike are all afflicted with this most unnatural voice. Only Arthur himself (generally) manages to avoid the wombat treatment but instead sounds entirely effete.
In short, I thoroughly recommend the book, but not this version.
6 of 7 people found this review helpful
If this book wasn’t for you, who do you think might enjoy it more?
The quality of the book is far below par it sounds like it's been recorded from a tape via the world worst mic.
Has Le Morte D'Arthur put you off other books in this genre?
No I still like the genre
How could the performance have been better?
Better quality recording
What reaction did this book spark in you? Anger, sadness, disappointment?
Disappointed by this
Any additional comments?
I would remove it until you manage to get a recording of better quality
5 of 6 people found this review helpful
Like so many, I grew up reading the tales of Arthur, and though it's been years since I've read this particular version of it, it's always stood out to me as one of the best versions. Let it be said that it's still a fantastic version, but it's nowhere near as straightforward as I remember it.
The knights and their lineages are given rapidly (it's good to have Wiki or some other resource with you), and many of the story points are told out of order or given through prophecy. I realize that spoilers are a bit of a non-issue for a story like this, but for a first-timer, it's not the most friendly version. Then again, they do kind of give you all the spoilers in the book's description, don't they? Even so, it doesn't detract from the magic of the tales.
This particular reading... skip it. Unless you're already predisposed as liking Frederick Davidson's narrating style, let this be a warning. Like so many other reviewers, I find his voice to be ok, but his tone and presentation make him come across like a British Tommy Lee Jones: bored, annoyed, and otherwise disgusted with the material. I have an abridged version on cassette narrated by Derek Jacobi that I bought some 20+ years ago, and it's a far, far superior reading. I'd love to find an unabridged version by him or someone with equal enthusiasm for the material.
14 of 15 people found this review helpful
Would you listen to Le Morte D'Arthur again? Why?
Le Morte D'Arthur is an easy listen and I would listen to it again because these timeless tales are always entertaining.
Have you listened to any of Frederick Davidson’s other performances before? How does this one compare?
This book is just as great as other Frederick Davidson's readings. I don't know why some people do not like his voice, I find it great. Have you ever heard him read Les Miserabes by Victor Hugo...FANTASTIC!
3 of 3 people found this review helpful