After listening to Georgette Heyer’s novels Sylvester and The Convenient Marriage, read by RA, I was a little adamant to tackle The Lords of the North. This Bernard Cornwell novel, part of the Saxon Stories, didn’t sound like anything I would be interested it. Third in the series, it is based in the 9th Century Anglo-Saxon kingdoms Wessex and Northumbria.
You see my point- Saxon, Danish, Vikings and battle, guts and such.
It turned out there were 2 things I didn’t take into account:
♦ Bernard Cornwell weaves stories in such a wonderful picaresque manner, his sense of humour balances out the gore of battle.
♦ Richard Armitage can read a story like no other and create a reality that is extremely appealing. As I have seen with his other audiobooks, he is able to create a multum of characters with hybrid accents, that perfectly fit the era. As always you end up forgetting all the characters are read by one man. Truth be told, it doesn’t seem read at all.
The combination is simply magical. I regret that RA recorded only one of the books of the series, however I shall have a clear image of Uhtred when I read the remaining. And what an attractive image it is!
With 12 hours, do yourself a favour, grab Serpentbreath and get to it!
The protagonist, Uhtred of Bebbanburg, makes his way back to his native Northumbria seeking revenge against his uncle Ælfric and childhood enemies Sven the One-Eyed and Kjartan the Cruel. He is upset because of King Alfred’s snub and wishes to cut all ties with him.
I know history buffs will be upset at me, but throughout the recording, I imagined Uhtred as a Saxon version Guy of Gisborne.
My imagination, my right 🙂
Ok, so there aren’t any bows and arrows, but you get the point…
As I said over on my blog, Richard doesn’t just read these books; he performs them. His mastery of all those different accents, male, female, child, adult, aged person–he brings the characters to life for us. Somehow you can just sense how much joy he takes in the process.
I used to read aloud to my classmates quite often in my school days. Richard’s wonderful voice and his expressiveness have inspired me to start reading aloud to myself quite often and to even record my voice reading a ficlet which I incorporated into a video. Another one of those things I probably would never have done were it not for Richard.
I giggle when he reads the girls part 🙂 I really did love listening to The Lords, I laughed a lot, I cried a little. I really do regret he never recorded all of the parts of Saxon Stories. I guess now the chances of him being involved in such projects are slim to none 😦
I really hope I’m wrong though…
The Lords of the North by Bernard Cornwell as read by Richard Armitage is my all-time favorite audiobook. ♥ Twelve whole hours of Richard Armitage’s voice is pure bliss. I hope that everyone takes care to get the unabridged Richard Armitage version as there is also an abridged version with another narrator.
I think I’ll start listening again today!
I think RANet has a notice up to draw attention to the fact there are two versions. BTW, the abridged version is read by the actor who played the older Monet in The Impressionists (his name escapes me for the moment). Just a bit of Six Degrees of Richard Armitage. 😉
I know, I feel like the only way I can “give back” is to convince non RA nuts (I know, shocking those even exist) to give it a try. I really can’t see how someone wouldn’t love it. Best 12 hours EVER. It could only get better if RA was phisically sitting there reading… a girl can dream 😉
Can’t agree more! That voice is Liquid chocolate for the ears!
Hhmmm chocolate..hhmmm RA…hhmm.. combine the two… 😉
Listening to The Lords of the North is on my to do list! It gives me something RA related to look forward to between now and December. 🙂
🙂 you should definately!
I am waiting for the Robin Hood boxset, The Impressionists (I haven’t seen either) and North and South. I have watched the latter, but decided to get a new copy as I’ve been raving about it to friends for months, but couldn’t bear to part with it long enough to lend it. I still have Strike Back to purchase. Oh, happy days 😉
That’s still loads of goodies ahead of you! I also loved the Robin Hood audiobooks.
I’ve listened to The Siege, which I enjoyed, however I was definately missing a context 🙂
Ha – that is the odd one out 🙂 it might make some sense when you’ve seen the whole series – that particular one somewhat (it does stand outside of the series) fits in towards the end of Season 3 –
I love this too – so good! I listened to samples of other readers reading this book (there have been at least two) and Richard’s reading is so much better.
It is unfair to compare anyone to RA- the phrase” pales in comparison” springs to mind 😉
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