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The Testimony

The Testimony [Kindle Edition]

James Smythe
3.9 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (67 customer reviews)

Print List Price: 7.99
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Product Description


‘[An] utterly gripping and highly original debut novel…a tour de force of virtuoso writing that explodes off the page’ DAILY MAIL

‘As if Philip K Dick and David Mitchell had collaborated on an episode of The West Wing … unsettling, gripping and hugely thought-provoking’ FHM

‘A fiercely-imagined dystopia of the near future. Intelligent, visionary and compulsively readable’ ALEX PRESTON, author of The Revelations

‘A literary post-apocalyptic novel built around a clever conceit’ GUARDIAN

Product Description

A global thriller presenting an apocalyptic vision of a world on the brink of despair and destruction.

What would you do if the world was brought to a standstill? If you heard deafening static followed by the words, ‘My children. Do not be afraid’?

Would you turn to God? Subscribe to the conspiracy theories? Or put your faith in science and a rational explanation?

The lives of all twenty-six people in this account are affected by the message. Most because they heard it. Some because they didn’t.

The Testimony – a gripping story of the world brought to its knees and of its people, confused and afraid.

Product details

  • Format: Kindle Edition
  • File Size: 1044 KB
  • Print Length: 368 pages
  • Publisher: Blue Door (26 April 2012)
  • Sold by: Amazon Media EU S. r.l.
  • Language: English
  • ASIN: B006I1AEO2
  • Text-to-Speech: Enabled
  • X-Ray:
  • Average Customer Review: 3.9 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (67 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: #64,080 Paid in Kindle Store (See Top 100 Paid in Kindle Store)
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More About the Author

James Smythe is the author of the Wales Book Of The Year Fiction Award winner THE TESTIMONY (2012); THE EXPLORER (2013); and THE MACHINE (2013).

In January 2014, HarperCollins will publish the first sequel to THE EXPLORER, THE ECHO.

He currently writes a continuing series of articles for The Guardian called Rereading Stephen King and teaches Creative Writing in London. He can be found on twitter @jpsmythe and Facebook.

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Customer Reviews

Most Helpful Customer Reviews
5 of 5 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Interesting Apocalyptic Story 21 May 2012
Format:Hardcover|Vine Customer Review of Free Product (What's this?)
The Testimony is a dystopian story which starts when everyone or nearly everyone hears a noise which sounds very like the static that a TV or radio would emit. It seems that the noise is heard inside the head rather than externally and there are various theories as to where it is coming from and what is causing it, but nothing is conclusive.

The story is told from the point of view of various people in different parts of the world. Each section is dedicated to a different person and their observations which range from one line to several pages. Some of these people keep appearing so that we understand their thoughts and what is happening to them and their families and friends as the story develops. Others appear only once or twice. Of particular note is Andrew Brubacker, the advisor to POTUS (President of the United States), as the Government in America struggles to make sense of the phenomena. Rather predictably, terrorism is high on the list of suspects.

This is a reasonably original take on an apocalyptic type scenario and the presentation works rather well, once the story starts to develop. Of particular interest is the way that when faced with circumstances that cannot be explained most people react in a superstitious way and consider that if something cannot be rationalised then there must be a religious dimension at the root of it. I will not give any spoilers by revealing how the downward spiral develops, but suffice to say that I did not find it very predictable and it was not one of those stories where the reader is constantly jumping ahead of the author.

To summarise, I found this an interesting story though not one which was particularly tense at any stage.
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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars The fragility of culture 4 Sep 2013
By Roman Clodia TOP 100 REVIEWER
Format:Kindle Edition|Verified Purchase
I recently read Smythe's The Machine and thought it was so brilliant that I immediately wanted to read everything else he's ever written. This has the same intriguing intelligence about it, and a wonderful originality combined with fluent writing but doesn't have the technical mastery or emotional grip of the latest book.

Set in a world a few years in our future (9/11 was 20 years ago), this has a gripping set-up: one day, out of the blue, a burst of static is heard around the world and then a voice speaks. Is it god, and, if so, whose? Aliens? Technology?

The book is written as a series of short revolving testimonies from a range of characters from out of work Russians, to an MP, to the Chief of Staff at the White House. Not all of them are interesting, and the voices are mostly the same: everyone speaks with an educated, English cadence - even the Americans.

This isn't a book to read if you like to have all your ends tied up, as the narrative doesn't offer any answers to what happened. What is does do with frightening intensity is show how fragile our conceptions of culture and civilisation are, and how quickly our world can spiral out of control.

The constantly shifting narrators means that I never felt emotionally attached to any of the characters, and this has none of the atmosphere of The Machine which makes that book so compelling.

So this is intelligent, probing and original - but the good news is that Smythe's got even better since. If you haven't read The Machine I strongly recommend it.
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8 of 9 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Repetitive page turner 6 Sep 2012
Format:Kindle Edition|Verified Purchase
It starts so well... All around the world people hear the sound of static, and from this static a voice says "My children..." Whose voice is it? Where is it coming from? The sound cannot be recorded, and its source cannot be identified, so what is happening? Is it the voice of God? And then there is another message: "Do not be afraid", then later, another, and the world rapidly descends into chaos as lawlessness sweeps the streets, strange diseases affect countless individuals and so on.

The story is told as a series of testimonies - hence the title - where those who heard the messages (and a few who did not) describe the experience, what happened to them, and so on, and although it gives a certain intimacy to the text it does make the book rather repetitive, especially as all of the "voices" of those who testify sound the same - there is little to distinguish one person from another.

It's a fairly short, moderately exciting read, but is ultimately rather frustrating as so much is left unanswered in the end, plus the story just seems to suddenly stop, as though the author wasn't quite sure what to do next, where to take the tale and so on.

If you'd like to read a short, apocalyptic novel and are prepared to have most of your questions left unanswered, this is the book for you. I was just hoping for a little more resolution.
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7 of 8 people found the following review helpful
Imagine if you, and everyone around you, suddenly hears a voice. It comes out of a static noise that will make you, and everyone else, freeze in your steps. `My children', the indefinable voice says, `Do not be afraid'. What would you do? How would you behave? What would you believe?

This is the premise of the new thriller The Testimony by James Smythe. Twenty-six people present their points of view on this mysterious announcement in a narrative that reads like a series of journal or news posts, blog posts even. There is no wise all-seeing persona, instead we spend the entire novel moving between our twenty-six spectators - or listeners. The voice or `The Broadcast' was heard across the planet and so we have witnesses from America, Britain and France to South Africa, India and New Zealand. They range from high government officials, unemployed and doctors to the retired, criminal and scientists. All have their own idea of what this voice means - some of them turn to God, others think of aliens while more prepare to face a perceived human threat with firm action. There are a few, however, who hear nothing at all. What does that mean?

The Testimony raises questions that many citizens in a modern world aren't equipped to answer - for many God is forced back into their lives leading to riots outside the churches, confusion among the main faiths and the birth of new religions. But for others, including a nun, who see nothing of God in the Broadcast, there must be a secular reason and, for many, the response is violent. Terrorists are reborn and those on the extreme of politics and religion use the Broadcast to tear the world apart.

But what if there is no explanation? Can people live with that?
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Most Recent Customer Reviews
4.0 out of 5 stars Nick, Reader, London
I started this book and I finished this book. It's already been said but I will repeat, if you did not like World War Z you will not like this. Read more
Published 10 days ago by Anglo
5.0 out of 5 stars Just one more chapter...
"How to make the world divide into three camps over a single hour: make them pick between science, fantasy and religion. Read more
Published 14 days ago by Ruby
4.0 out of 5 stars Not Smythe's best work, but perhaps his most ambitious.
I wouldn't even know how to begin writing a story worldwide from so many perspectives, how to write convincingly how such different people and how entire governments would react to... Read more
Published 1 month ago by Gary
2.0 out of 5 stars boring book
went on much to long with no interesting bits no gripping details

would not recommend this book very BORING ZZZZZZZZZZZZZZ
Published 2 months ago by Jan
4.0 out of 5 stars Cleverly constructed but a tad long, and no real conclusion.
I like this story, it certainly filled by requirement of quirky, however I felt that there could have been a real explanation for the voice being heard by most but not... Read more
Published 4 months ago by V. Woodward
5.0 out of 5 stars Gripping
From the first sentence I was spellbound. The ease of moving through the characters' accounts flowed effortlessly. More please, author.
Published 4 months ago by Veronica Howard
2.0 out of 5 stars I gave up...
I bought the book because the premise sounded interesting. And it is.

However, in the way it's written, it is difficult to feel anything for the characters. Read more
Published 4 months ago by V
4.0 out of 5 stars A definite page turner
I'm only half way through this book but I choose to write the review now before the ending inevitably disappoints me, since the build up has been so epic. Read more
Published 4 months ago by Pearl Anyetei
2.0 out of 5 stars disjointed
this was episodic and hard to follow.It seemed to be a religious treatease for the forst part.I gave up on it.
Published 4 months ago by kate murphy
4.0 out of 5 stars The Testimony
Thoroughly enjoyed reading this. Really gripped me from the start and couldnt wait to finish it. Loved the writing style too as it really engaged me and was different to anything... Read more
Published 5 months ago by kls
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