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The English Monster (Unabridged Audiobook) [Audiobook, Unabridged] [Audio CD]

Lloyd Shepherd , narrated by Steven Crossley
4.2 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (50 customer reviews)
RRP: 25.52
Price: 19.57 & FREE Delivery in the UK. Details
You Save: 5.95 (23%)
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Hardcover 12.99  
Paperback 3.86  
Audio, CD, Audiobook, Unabridged 19.57  
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Book Description

1 Jun 2012
A brilliantly imagined debut from a major new literary voice London, 1811. The twisting streets of Wapping hold many an untold sin. Bounded by the Ratcliffe Highway to the north and the Dock to the south, shameful secrets are largely hidden by the noise of Trade. But two families have fallen victim to foul murder, and a terrified populace calls for justice. Based on the real-life story of the gruesome Ratcliffe Highway murders, The English Monster takes us on a voyage across centuries. This recording is unabridged. Typically abridged audiobooks are not more than 60% of the author's work and as low as 30% with characters and plotlines removed.

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Product details

  • Audio CD: 11 pages
  • Publisher: Whole Story Audiobooks; Unabridged Audiobook 11 CDs edition (1 Jun 2012)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 1471202208
  • ISBN-13: 978-1471202209
  • Product Dimensions: 15.2 x 13.8 x 2.6 cm
  • Average Customer Review: 4.2 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (50 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 2,427,263 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

More About the Author

Given Amazon is a bookstore (among a great many other things), it seems a bit weird to be introducing myself on here. I mean, if you wandered into a real-world bookstore and there was an author standing there offering to fire random facts about himself at you, it'd be a bit off-putting. Wouldn't it? Or perhaps it'd be nice to bump into David Mitchell or Stephen King as you're browsing the racks.

So I'll keep this short, and do tell me to go away if it's getting a bit weird.

My name's Lloyd. I live in South London. I've got two children and a lovely wife (she's a headteacher). My first book, The English Monster, came out in 2012. My second, The Poisoned Island, followed in 2013. They're both set in London in the early 19th century, they both feature a proto-detective named Charles Horton and his magistrate John Harriott, and they both combine historical fiction with murder-mystery and a good healthy dash of the supernatural. They've been called 'Regency X-Files' and I rather like that.

If you're interested, I enjoy reading literary fiction, horror and some science fiction. My favourite book is The Portrait of a Lady. My favourite author - possibly by virtue of how many of his books I've read - is Stephen King. The best novels I've read recently were The Thousand Autumns of Jacob De Zoet by David Mitchell and The Sisters Brothers by Patrick Dewitt.

I blog at, I've got a Facebook page (Lloyd Shepherd: Author) and a pretty active Twitter account (@lloydshep). Do come and say hello. We can talk, then, without me feeling that I'm intruding.

Happy shopping!

Product Description


'... a story as rich in ideas as it is in intrigue' --Independent on Sunday

'A joyously, flamboyantly melodramatic scamper' --The Guardian

'A brilliantly imagined historical crime novel' --The Sun

About the Author

Lloyd Shepherd is a former journalist and digital producer who has worked for the Guardian, Channel 4, the BBC and Yahoo. He lives in South London with his family. The English Monster is his first novel. --This text refers to the Hardcover edition.

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Customer Reviews

Most Helpful Customer Reviews
19 of 20 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Atmospheric, gruesome and gripping 12 April 2012
Lloyd Shepherd's debut, The English Monster, begins with a puzzle: six pirates are hanged from the gallows by a river; five of them are dead, but one of them is only pretending to be dead.

It is an enticing hook - macabre and gory - and sets the tone for a yarn which is part pirate adventure, part detective story, part historical fiction and part horror.

The novel is broadly set over two time periods, with two narratives.

In 1564 (during the reign of Queen Elizabeth) a flotilla of ships, captained by John Hawkyns, is on a clandestine trade mission; his crew includes Billy Ablass, a young man seeking his fortune.

In `the present' (1811), the local officials in Shadwell and Wapping bungle the investigation into a set of apparently motiveless killings, which will go down in history as the Ratcliffe Highway murders. The jaded magistrate, John Harriott, undertakes to catch the perpetrator, with the assistance of Waterman-Constable Charles Horton.

John Hawkyns's voyage, a real historical event, was the first official attempt to exploit what Shepherd chillingly refers to as `African treasure'. Rumours fly above and below decks as Billy Abless pieces together the purpose of their grizzly assignment. It will spawn a global trade, generating fabulous wealth for some - and unimaginable suffering for a great many others. The riches seem to be guaranteed; the question becomes whether Billy will return to his beloved wife, Kate, with his body and soul still intact?

Meanwhile, the 19th century murders take place in a filthy maritime metropolis on the Thames. Trade (with a capital `T') is the lifeblood of the riverside community now living in fear. Law and Order, by comparison, is still in its infancy.
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10 of 11 people found the following review helpful
By Curiosity Killed The Bookworm TOP 500 REVIEWER
The year is 1811. On the streets of Wapping, a family have been brutally slaughtered in their home. There is no motive and the police on land have no interest in investigations. However the watermen who patrol the river have other ideas. Jump back in time to 1564 and a ship is setting sail to the coast of Africa, embarking on a mission that will change history, and not for the better.

The English Monster paints a murky picture of Britain's maritime history, there's a real sense of how the streets of around London's burgeoning docklands would have felt at the time. There are lots of historical elements woven into the fiction and there is a pretty comprehensive author's note to explain what is more fact than fiction and vice versa, just in case you keep putting the book down to google names and events. It is not straight historical fiction so history purists may want to back away now. It's hard to explain this novel without spoilers but it will help to keep an open mind that something other may be going on. I think the author has hinted enough to this fact in interviews that it will not be too big of a spoiler on my shoulders.

Based on the real life Ratcliffe Highway murders, it also highlights the huge difference between the early days of policing and what we know now. The city-based police did not care at all about solving crimes and were most likely to arrest criminals caught in the act or if they conveniently fell at their feet. Don't expect a riveting historical police procedure because, in all seriousness, they were no procedures. This is itself is a fascinating facet of the novel.
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6 of 7 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars An oustandingly original debut 9 Jan 2013
Format:Kindle Edition|Verified Purchase
The English Monster is a rare type of book, because it is one that I will recommend to people without me being entirely sure how satisfied I was with it overall. Let me explain. As reading any random plot synopsis will tell you, this is a two thread story, with one part following the investigation into brutal murders carried out in Wapping in the 19th century, and the being set (initially) in the 16th century with a distinctly pirate flavour to it.

The genius behind this book is in the premise. These two stories are clearly connected, and the connection is pretty much handed to the reader about a third of the way through the book. But even then a distinct layer of mystery remains, and as the book progresses the reader essentially watches as to jigsaw pieces (being the two plot lines) edge closer together. The individuals stories are interesting, and the book did hold my attention with little difficulty.

The problem is that I'm not sure whether it actually worked by the end. The book is steeped in historical fiction but also possesses a clear supernatural edge. Yet the mystery has no supernatural element, and the murders fundamentally could be drawn from any crime novel (albeit they did actually happen and are clearly shocking in themselves). As a result I just didn't feel like the detective story ended up clicking quite right with the far more fantastical pirate story, as skilfully as the plot was constructed. For all the entertainment value that the book provided to me as I was reading it, when I put it down I just didn't quite feel as satisfied as I should have been.

Yet it is difficult to criticise Shepherd with any degree of force for this, because as a debut novel The English Monster is an ambitious breath of fresh air, and is the sort of book that should be encouraged. As such I recommend it, even if I can't quite shake the fact that I wasn't wholly satisfied by it when all was said and done.
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Most Recent Customer Reviews
5.0 out of 5 stars Gripping Slow Burner
When I was reading the first few chapters of this fantastic book I really wondered where it was going; the alternate chapters set in different centuries seemed to have no... Read more
Published 29 days ago by lbeeswax
4.0 out of 5 stars Pretty good!
Dealing both with some famous London murders in 1811 and with the adventures of a young farmer in the 16th century 'the English Monster' is a clever tale of adventure and revenge. Read more
Published 1 month ago by H. Lacroix
5.0 out of 5 stars Excellent
Bought as a gift for my boyfriend who reports that although it was a bit hard to get into a first, after a few chapters he couldn't put it down. Read more
Published 1 month ago by CatFanatic
4.0 out of 5 stars Fascinating, gripping and compelling
A truly excellent, atmospheric period thriller that I enjoyed tremendously. A really good read that kept me enthralled from beginning to end. Read more
Published 2 months ago by R. Knapton
1.0 out of 5 stars Someone explain the point of this book
What a horrible reading experience! I only ploughed through it because we'd chosen it for Book Club. Read more
Published 5 months ago by Leonore
2.0 out of 5 stars The only Monster is the Book
Hard to follow one minute back knows when the next minute brought forward, story line not that good will not be buying the authors second Novel. Read more
Published 5 months ago by Grandad bob
5.0 out of 5 stars Highly recommended.
This book can be enjoyed in so many ways. Well researched, interesting concept with twists and surprises presented with intelligent writing. Read more
Published 6 months ago by Hal Mason
5.0 out of 5 stars Astounding and clever novel
This is without question the finest novel I have read this year - brilliantly tying in 2 diverse storylines drawing on an actual horrific event and another fictional event that... Read more
Published 7 months ago by Mikhail The Terrible
4.0 out of 5 stars Good holday read
Took with me as part of my holiday reading and couldn't put it down.
A great read with a few twists that I liked
Published 8 months ago by altoland
5.0 out of 5 stars Great Thriller
Edge of the seat stuff, Loyd Shepard is certainly an author to watch. Will be purchasing his next work with interest.
Published 8 months ago by Kindle Customer
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