Most helpful positive review
10 of 11 people found the following review helpful
Historical action thriller
on 21 August 2004
This audiobook of Valerio Massimo Manfredi's "Alexander: Child of a Dream" was abridged by Keith Darvill to a 3 hour story recorded on 3 CDs and it's read by Derek Jacobi. It's the first volume of a trilogy: 1) Child of a Dream, 2) The Sands of Ammon, 3) The Ends of the Earth. I enjoyed Derek Jacobi's reading of 'Child of a Dream' so much that I intend to buy the rest of the trilogy.
The young Alexander, privileged product of a mating between a rich and powerful king, a beautiful and clever queen and (the queen believed) a god, seemed a very pleasant and caring youth, considering all the slaughter and mayhem he ordered and participated in as he grew and matured. His mother, Olympias, was an ambitious, ruthless dabbler in ritual and magic. His father, Philip, was King of Macedon, wise in military matters, a great warrior and leader of his people - fighting to unite all the Greek nations. His sister, Cleopatra, married her mother's brother (another Alexander). His tutor, Aristotle, later became the detective and, with the help of his nephew, investigated the murder of King Philip.
The satisfying thing about this sort of novel is that you can learn something at the same time as you're being entertained. I had to get out an atlas to find out where the characters were marching and where the action was taking place. It would have been better if a map of the area had been included with the audiobook. There was a map of Middle Earth in the BBC's Lord of the Rings radio play CD box, so I know it sometimes happens. In any case, I had an atlas fortunately and was able to follow the action across page 38.
I started listening to stories almost by accident about 2 years ago when I got a virus that put me in bed and made it hard to focus my eyes. Now my eyes can focus again and even though I read a lot of books, I still enjoy listening to stories. It's a different sort of pleasure. If you haven't ever listened to an audiobook, I suggest you try it. This one is pretty good. Derek Jacobi is one of the best readers. Other good readers you might also like to try are:
Alex Jennings who reads Robert Harris's 'Pompeii' (abridged);
Martin Shaw or Rob Inglis who read the Tolkien books (abridged and unabridged);
Philip Pullman reads his own 'His Dark Materials' trilogy (unabridged);
Douglas Adams reads his own 'Hitch Hikers Guide to the Galaxy' books (5 of them, all unabridged).
A lot of books are available as audiobooks now and I've only come across one so far, that I haven't liked.