The Elfin Ship : Balumnia

  • by James P. Blaylock
  • Narrated by Malk Williams
  • Series: Balumnia
  • 11 hrs and 0 mins
  • Unabridged Audiobook

Publisher's Summary

Trading with the elves used to be so simple. Every year Master Cheeser Jonathan Bing would send his very best cheeses downriver to traders who would eventually return with Elfin wonders for the people of Twombly Town. But no more.
First the trading post at Willowood Station was mysteriously destroyed. Then a magical elfin airship began making forays overhead; Jonathan knew something was definitely amiss. So he set off downriver to deliver the cheeses himself, accompanied by the amazing Professor Wurzle, the irrepressible Dooly, and his faithful dog Ahab.
It would have been a pleasant trip, if not for the weeping skeleton, mad goblins, magic coins, an evil dwarf, a cloak of invisibility - and a watch that stopped time. However, the return trip would not be so simple.
This, the first volume in a trilogy, tells the story of Master Cheeser Jonathan Bing who sends his best cheeses downriver each year to the elves, in exchange for elfin treasures for the people of Twombly Town. When things go wrong, Jonathan has to set out to deliver the cheeses himself.

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What the Critics Say

"A magical world, magically presented...having journeyed there, you will not wish to leave, nor ever to forget." (Philip K. Dick)

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Customer Reviews

Most Helpful

Wallace and Gromit meet Swallows and Amazons

Would you consider the audio edition of The Elfin Ship to be better than the print version?

The audiobook is best for me because I like to listen whilst knitting and therefore do not have my hands free to turn the pages. In this case I also think the narrator's voice added a depth to the characters and the environment and enhanced the link to Wallace and Gromit (a favourite of mine). His voice is warm and friendly (as I think the book should be) and feels like a well-loved uncle reading the story.


What other book might you compare The Elfin Ship to, and why?

Wallace and Gromit - a Northern cheesemaker and his dog go on an adventure.
Swallows and Amazons - It is a rafting and boating adventure
Enid Blyton - Told in a slightly (mock?) old-fashioned children's bed time story style.
Lord of the Rings - Travelling adventure with a (mostly) safe elven town as part-way refuge. Spooky woods, Elves and dwarfs and other fantasy creatures including rather silly goblins.
Scooby Doo - The intrepid team have to investigate the goings on in the spooky woods


What about Malk Williams’s performance did you like?

The softly spoken Northern tones and accents Malk Williams uses in reading it are just perfect for the Wallace and Gromit-like atmosphere and add a lot to the character of the book and its inhabitants. I loved it.


Did you have an emotional reaction to this book? Did it make you laugh or cry?

It is light hearted and humerous even when the bad things happen and has wonderfully imagined and evoked characters.


Any additional comments?

It is characterful and intrepid in all the best ways.

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- Charlie Paull

Just not interesting enough

The narrator uses a mock Northern accent, which could sound ok in the right circumstance, but undermines the idea by describing cotton wood trees on the river banks and Lima beans. These things are not really known in Yorkshire. The characters are shallow and the storyline weak. Maybe kids up to 7 years of age would like it, but I suspect anyone older would find it irritating.
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- Garethman

Book Details

  • Release Date: 23-04-2014
  • Publisher: Audible Studios