The Lost Fleet by Jack Campbell

The Lost Fleet is a science fiction series written by John G. Hemry writing as Jack Campbell and consists of 6 novels centered around Captain “Black Jack” Geary and the Alliance Fleet. This is good old military science fiction space war stuff.

I listened to these novels as audiobooks from Audible. Christian Rummel does a great job narrating all 6 of the novels and brings all of the characters to life. When adding up the playtime of all six novels you get 60 hours of space battles, political infighting, and military atmosphere.

This is not my ordinary type of reading, I usually go with something lighter, but The Lost Fleet had been recommended to me so many times that I couldn’t ignore it any longer. I am glad I finally picked it up, they are pretty great for what they are. Military space battles with some real military thought put into them.

I listened to all 6 of them one after the other, just couldn’t stop myself. And now I am on to Jack Campbell’s Beyond the Frontier series.

The books that make up The Lost Fleet are:

  1. The Lost Fleet: Dauntless
  2. The Lost Fleet: Fearless
  3. The Lost Fleet: Courageous
  4. The Lost Fleet: Valiant
  5. The Lost Fleet: Relentless
  6. The Lost Fleet: Victorious

What the publisher has to say about Dauntless:

The Alliance has been fighting the Syndics for a century, and losing badly. Now its fleet is crippled and stranded in enemy territory. Their only hope is a man who has emerged from a century-long hibernation to find he has been heroically idealized beyond belief.

Captain John “Black Jack” Geary’s legendary exploits are known to every schoolchild. Revered for his heroic “last stand” in the early days of the war, he was presumed dead. But a century later, Geary miraculously returns from survival hibernation and reluctantly takes command of the Alliance fleet as it faces annihilation by the Syndics.

Appalled by the hero-worship around him, Geary is nevertheless a man who will do his duty. And he knows that bringing the stolen Syndic hypernet key safely home is the Alliance’s one chance to win the war. But to do that, Geary will have to live up to the impossibly heroic “Black Jack” legend.

I rate The Lost Fleet series an 8 out of 10 and recommend it to anyone who loves science fiction and has a taste for the military.

Lock In by John Scalzi

Here is something new, an single audiobook with 2 performances. Not 2 narrators in the same recording, but 2 narrators with their own recording. Kinda cool.

I bought the audiobook from Audible as a pre-order that came with the added benefit of giving me the Amber Benson recording of the book.

I first listened to the Wil Wheaton recoding and really enjoyed it. Wil Wheaton has turned in some great performances as a narrator of audiobooks and this is no exception.

I am familiar with Amber Benson primarily from Buffy the Vampire slayer that I thought she was great in. I didn’t know that she is also an author and has narrated audiobooks.

After listening to the Wil Wheaton version of the book I decided to wait a month or so before listening to the Amber Benson version. During that break I read a blog post by John Scalzi that was pretty cool and shines a new light on the book. It makes the story kind of gimmicky, but I don’t believe it ruins the book.

WARNING: This link contains SPOILERS that will absolutely impact your enjoyment of reading or listening to Lock In. So don’t follow the link unless you have already read the book. If you have read it, please check it out, it is a cool aspect of the story you may have missed.

I HAVE READ THE WARNING, TAKE ME THERE

I enjoyed the story in Lock In and hope to read more stories that take place in the same universe. There is also talk of a TV series or a Movie, that could also be cool.

From the publisher:

"I love working with Audible, in no small part because they’re committed to doing what’s right, both for my books, and the people who listen to those books. There’s a really excellent reason for Lock In to have two entirely different versions, so when it came time to make the audiobook, Audible did an ingenious thing: they asked both Wil Wheaton and Amber Benson to record entire versions of the book. As the author, I’m impressed with Audible’s commitment to my narrative – and I’m geeking out that both Wil and Amber are reading my book. This is fantastic." (John Scalzi)

A blazingly inventive near-future thriller from the best-selling, Hugo Award-winning John Scalzi.

Not too long from today, a new, highly contagious virus makes its way across the globe. Most who get sick experience nothing worse than flu, fever, and headaches. But for the unlucky one percent – and nearly five million souls in the United States alone – the disease causes "Lock In": Victims fully awake and aware, but unable to move or respond to stimulus. The disease affects young, old, rich, poor, people of every color and creed. The world changes to meet the challenge.

A quarter of a century later, in a world shaped by what’s now known as "Haden’s syndrome", rookie FBI agent Chris Shane is paired with veteran agent Leslie Vann. The two of them are assigned what appears to be a Haden-related murder at the Watergate Hotel, with a suspect who is an "integrator" – someone who can let the locked in borrow their bodies for a time. If the Integrator was carrying a Haden client, then naming the suspect for the murder becomes that much more complicated.

But "complicated" doesn’t begin to describe it. As Shane and Vann began to unravel the threads of the murder, it becomes clear that the real mystery – and the real crime – is bigger than anyone could have imagined.

BONUS AUDIO: Audible’s audio edition of Lock In contains the bonus novella, Unlocked: An Oral History of Haden’s Syndrome, written by John Scalzi and narrated by a full cast.

©2014 John Scalzi (P)2014 Audible Inc.

I rate Locked In a 9 out of 10 and recommend it to anyone who enjoys police thrillers or science fiction.

Extinction Machine: The Joe Ledger Novels, Book 5 by Jonathan Maberry

In Extinction Machine Jonathan Maberry has Joe Ledger and Echo Team delving into the mysteries of ancient alien artifacts.

This is yet another, the fifth one in fact, exciting adventure of Joe Ledger and the Department of Military Science. I hope there a dozen more. I enjoyed Extinction Machine more than the last one, I find the subject more interesting and a little bit different than other books I have been reading lately.

From the publisher:

Audie Award Finalist, Science Fiction, 2014

In Extinction Machine, the fifth Joe Ledger book by Jonathan Maberry, the DMS must go up against someone – or something – in search of new technology that could bring about world war.

The president of the United States vanishes from the White House. A top-secret prototype stealth fighter is destroyed during a test flight. Witnesses on the ground say that it was shot down by a craft that immediately vanished at impossible speeds. All over the world, reports of UFOs are increasing at an alarming rate. And in a remote fossil dig in China dinosaur hunters have found something that is definitely not of this earth. There are rumors of alien-human hybrids living among us.

Joe Ledger and the Department of Military Sciences rush headlong into the heat of the world’s strangest and deadliest arms race, because the global race to recover and retro-engineer alien technologies has just hit a snag. Someone – or something – wants that technology back.

©2013 Jonathan Maberry (P)2013 Macmillan Audio

I rate Extinction Machine a 9 out of 10 and recommend it to anyone following the Joe Ledger series.

Assassin’s Code: Joe Ledger Book 4 by Jonathan Maberry

Jonathan Maberry’s Joe Ledger is back in action.

I don’t want to say anything about what is going on in Assassin’s Code as it would give away the most interesting thing about it. Suffice to say that Joe and Echo team are faced with another challenge that threatens the world while more personal threats step out of the shadows.

Ray Porter continues to do an amazing job narrating the Joe Ledger series and bringing all of the characters to life.

From the publisher:
When Joe Ledger and Echo Team rescue a group of American college kids held hostage in Iran, the Iranian government then asks them to help find six nuclear bombs planted in the Mideast oil fields. These stolen WMDs will lead Joe and Echo Team into hidden vaults of forbidden knowledge, mass-murder, betrayal, and a brotherhood of genetically-engineered killers with a thirst for blood.

Accompanied by the beautiful assassin called Violin, Joe follows a series of clues to find the Book of Shadows, which contains a horrifying truth that threatens to shatter his entire worldview. They say the truth will set you free… Not this time. The secrets of the Assassin’s Code will set the world ablaze.

©2012 Jonathan Maberry (P)2012 Macmillan Audio

I rate Assassin’s Code an 8 out of 10 and highly recommend it to fans of the Joe Ledger series.

Ivanhoe by Sir Walter Scott

Listening to Ivanhoe caused me to read more Wikipedia articles than any other book or audiobook. I looked up info on the Normans, the Saxons, and a bunch of different royals.

But the story never caught my attention. It was interesting from a fictional historical perspective, but the pacing and dialog never grabbed me… Until I realized the narrator is the same guy who reads the “Lies of Locke Lamora” series by Scott Lynch. Michael Page is a great narrator and for the rest of the book I pretended that it was the Gentlemen Bastards on another adventure instead of Ivanhoe. That worked until the Robin Hood story kicked in and shattered that illusion.

Overall I enjoyed the story, but I will probably not listen to it again.

From the publisher:

A century has passed since the Norman Conquest, and England is still a colony of foreign warlords. Prince John is plotting to seize the throne from his brother, Richard the Lion-Hearted, and Robin Hood and his merry band are making fools out of the Sheriff of Nottingham.

Wilfred, knight of Ivanhoe, the son of Cedric the Saxon, is in love with his father’s ward, Rowena. Cedric, however, wishes her to marry Athelstane, a descendant of the royal Saxon line, whom Cedric hopes will restore the Saxon succession.

With a colorful cast of chivalric knights and fair ladies, this action-filled novel comes complete with feats of derring-do, the pageantry of a tournament, and a great flame-engulfed castle – all of which makes it the most enthralling of Scott’s creations.
(P)2005 Brilliance Audio, Inc.

I rate Ivanhoe a 5 out of 10 and recommend it to those interested in history.

Titus Alone: Volume 3 of the Gormenghast Trilogy

I am ready to be done with Titus and Gormenghast, the ride was fun but it went on for just a bit to long. I will have fond memories of the Gormenghast Trilogy but will probably never listen to or read them again.

Titus Alone had a lot to like but I never got into it, I was ready for it to be over almost as soon as it began.

Publisher’s Summary

In Volume 3 of the classic Gormenghast Trilogy, a doomed lord, an emergent hero, and an array of bizarre creatures haunt the world of Gormenghast Castle. This trilogy, along with Tolkien’s Lord of the Rings, reigns as one of the undisputed fantasy classics of all time. At the center of everything is the 77th Earl, Titus Groan, who stands to inherit the miles of rambling stone and mortar that form Gormenghast Castle and its kingdom.

In this third volume, Titus turns against the iron discipline of Gormenghast’s ritual and sets forth on an uncertain quest – to find himself. His pilgrimage leads to encounters with mysteriously omnipotent, ruthless police, and a battle to the death with Veil, a gaunt ogre with a body like whips and a face that moves "e;like the shiftings of the gray slime of the pit"e;. Titus, in his quest for independence from his legacy, despite the fantastical trappings of his odyssey, captures successfully the humanistic conception of contemporary man.

©1967, 1968 Mervyn Peake; (P)2000 Blackstone Audiobooks

I rate Titus Alone a 6 out of 10, if you have read the first 2 books you have to read this one.

Spell or High Water: Magic 2.0

Spell or High Water is the second book in Scott Meyer’s Magic 2.0 series. I absolutely loved Off to Be the Wizard and was delighted to discover that there was a second book available.

Scott’s humor mixed with Luke Daniels’ delivery on the audiobook is a winner.

I hope there are many more of these books to come.

From the publisher:

The adventures of an American hacker in Medieval England continue as Martin Banks takes his next step on the journey toward mastering his reality-altering powers and fulfilling his destiny.

A month has passed since Martin helped to defeat the evil programmer Jimmy, and things couldn’t be going better. Except for his love life, that is. Feeling distant and lost, Gwen has journeyed to Atlantis, a tolerant and benevolent kingdom governed by the Sorceresses, and a place known to be a safe haven to all female time-travelers.

Thankfully, Martin and Philip are invited to a summit in Atlantis for all of the leaders of the time-traveler colonies, and now Martin thinks this will be a chance to try again with Gwen. Of course, this is Martin Banks we’re talking about, so murder, mystery, and high intrigue all get in the way of a guy who just wants one more shot to get the girl.

The follow-up to the hilarious Off to Be the Wizard, Scott Meyer’s Spell or High Water proves that no matter what powers you have over time and space, you can’t control rotten luck.

©2014 Scott Meyer (P)2014 Brilliance Audio, all rights reserved.

I rate Spell or High Water a 9 out of 10 and recommend you get to reading Off to Be the Wizard right now.

Y: The Last Man by Vertigo Comics

Y: The Last Man is the story of Yorick, the last living man on earth. Something has wiped out all of the males on earth, except Yorick and his pet monkey. The following years are a roller coaster ride that forces Yorick to grow up, face reality, be a man, and stay a kid at heart.

Note: this comic is intended for a mature audience, it contains nudity, sex, violence, and profanity.

The story is available as a series of 60 comic books that are also available in collected editions and books.

I have been reading more comic books lately, just taking my time and reading a bit here and there. At DragonCon this year during the panel Marvel NOW! with Chris Brennaman, Peter David, Mark Bagley, and Kelly Sue DeConnick, they were asked about what comics they were reading now and what they would recommend. The 2 comics I heard were "Atlantis" and "Y: The Last Man". As soon as I got home I started collecting them.

I really enjoyed the story, the humor, the pacing, and the art. It was a very solid read full of a lot of things to think about. And like the protagonist, Yorick, there are no answers here, not a lot of deep thought, that is left up to the reader.

If you are looking to read a good apocalyptic comic with a sense of humor and a lot of monkey feces then this is the book for you.

From Vertigo Comics:

THE LAST MAN, winner of three Eisner Awards and one of the most critically acclaimed, best-selling comic books series of the last decade, is that rare example of a page-turner that is at once humorous, socially relevant and endlessly surprising. Written by Brian K. Vaughan (Lost, PRIDE OF BAGHDAD, EX MACHINA) and with art by Pia Guerra, this is the saga of Yorick Brown—the only human survivor of a planet-wide plague that instantly kills every mammal possessing a Y chromosome. Accompanied by a mysterious government agent, a brilliant young geneticist and his pet monkey, Ampersand, Yorick travels the world in search of his lost love and the answer to why he’s the last man on earth.

I rate Y: The Last Man a 9 out of 10 and recommend it to anyone who loves comic books.

Joe Ledger: The Missing Files by Jonathan Maberry

The Missing Files is considered the third-and-a-half book in Jonathan Maberry’s Joe Ledger series of novels. It is a collection of short stories that take place in the spaces between the previous books.

There are only 5 stories here so it is a very short listen, only 4 hours and 5 minutes long, and for me it felt even shorter than that. I listened to the whole thing in one day of working around the house and running errands.

But they are 5 good stories that fill in some gaps like the origin of Ghost the dog and the hunting down of the bad guy that got away at the end of The Dragon Factory.

From the publisher:

In this collection of five short stories, Jonathan Maberry fills in the blanks in his action-thriller Joe Ledger novels.

Countdown
In this prequel to Patient Zero, meet Joe Ledger, Baltimore PD, attached to a Homeland Security task force … who’s about to get a serious promotion.

Zero Tolerance
“Zero Tolerance” picks up a few weeks after the close of Patient Zero. Dropping back into the world of former Baltimore cop Joe Ledger, the Department of Military Sciences, and flesh-eating zombies, fans of the series will finally get closure on a few loose ends.

Deep, Dark
Before former Baltimore cop Joe Ledger goes up against competing geneticists looking to continue the master-race program in The Dragon Factory, he must battle another foe using human test subjects for his sinister plans.

Material Witness
This short thriller takes Joe Ledger into the mysterious, troubled town of Pine Deep, Pennsylvania, the setting for Maberry’s chilling Pine Deep Trilogy. In Pine Deep, nothing is what it seems.

Dog Days
Joe Ledger returns in this tale that follows the tragic conclusion of The Dragon Factory. In the wake of a devastating personal loss, Joe Ledger and his new canine partner, Ghost, go hunting for the world’s deadliest assassin.

© Countdown 2008 by Jonathan Maberry. Zero Tolerance 2010 by Jonathan Maberry. Deep, Dark 2009 by Jonathan Maberry. Material Witness 2011 by Jonathan Maberry. Dog Days 2011 by Jonathan Maberry. (P)2011 Blackstone Audio, Inc.

I rate The Missing Files a 7 out of 10, a must for Joe Ledger fans but not really necessary.

The King of Plagues: The Joe Ledger Novels, Book 3 by Jonathan Maberry

The King of Plagues is the third novel in the Joe Ledger series by Jonathan Maberry and the audiobook is narrated by Ray Porter.

The continuing adventures of Joe Ledger… More of the same shoot-em-up goodness full of bio-tech threats and mysterious bad guys in the shadows.

From the publisher:

Saturday, 0911 hours — A blast rocks a London hospital and thousands are dead or injured.

1009 hours — Joe Ledger arrives on scene to investigate. The horror is unlike anything he has ever seen.

Compelled by grief and rage, Ledger rejoins the Department of Military Sciences, and within hours he’s attacked by a hit team of assassins and sent on a suicide mission into a viral hot zone during an Ebola outbreak.

Soon Ledger and the DMS begin tearing down the veils of deception to uncover a vast and powerful secret society using weaponized versions of the Ten Plagues of Egypt to destabilize world economies and profit from the resulting chaos. Millions will die unless Ledger meets this powerful new enemy on its own terms as he fights terror with terror.

Take another thrill ride with Joe Ledger.

©2011 Jonathan Maberry (P)2011 Blackstone Audio, Inc.

I rate The King of Plagues an 8 out of 10 and think it may be the best overall Joe Ledger book yet.

Neverwhere [Adaptation] by BBC Radio

DO NOT LISTEN TO THIS VERSION OF NEVERWHERE!

I love Neil Gaiman’s writing, and I have loved every Neil Gaiman audiobook and dramatic performance I have heard until this one.

This version of Neverwhere is overproduced with sound effects and over acting that make following the story almost impossible. I am shocked by the positive ratings it has received on Audible, so apparently someone likes it.

Read or listen to the unabridged story first then maybe give this one a try, I got it as a special offer on Audible for $1.95 but even at that price I feel like I was ripped off.

From the publisher:

A BBC Radio six-part adaptation of Neil Gaiman’s best-selling novel, starring James McAvoy as Richard and Natalie Dormer as Door.

Beneath the streets of London there is another London. A subterranean labyrinth of sewers and abandoned tube stations. A somewhere that is Neverwhere….

An act of kindness sees Richard Mayhew catapulted from his ordinary life into the strange world of London Below. There he meets the Earl of Earl’s Court, faces a life-threatening ordeal at the hands of the Black Friars, comes face to face with the Great Beast of London, and encounters an Angel called Islington.

Adapted for radio by the award-winning Dirk Maggs, this captivating dramatisation features a stellar cast including David Harewood, Sophie Okonedo, Benedict Cumberbatch, Christopher Lee, Anthony Head and David Schofield.

Contains over 25 minutes of additional unbroadcast material, including extended scenes, bloopers and outtakes.

The full list of narrators includes: James McAvoy, Natalie Dormer, David Harewood, Sophie Okonedo, Benedict Cumberbatch, Christopher Lee, Anthony Head, David Schofield, Bernard Cribbens, Romola Garai, George Harris, Andrew Sachs, Lucy Cohu, Johnny Vegas, Paul Chequer, Don Gilet, and Abdul Salis.

©2013 AudioGO Ltd (P)2013 AudioGO Ltd

I rate the story of Neverwhere a 10 out of 10 but this production of it is a 2 out of 10. Read or listen to the unabridged version.

Fool: A Novel By Christopher Moore

In Fool Christopher Moore takes on William Shakespeare’s King Lear with his usual flair and heavy use of foul language. It is a retelling that only Christopher Moore would do.

I thoroughly enjoyed the sense of humor, lots of dry British-esque wit and sarcasm, with a pace that really kept the story moving along.

Euan Morton narrates with a fast paced English accent that I really enjoyed. I am looking forward to listening to more books read by Mr. Morton.

From the publisher:

Christopher Moore, much beloved scrivener and peerless literary jester, now takes on no less than the legendary Bard himself (with the utmost humility and respect) with a twisted and insanely funny tale of a moronic monarch and his deceitful daughters, as seen through the eyes of a man wearing a codpiece and bells on his head.

Pocket has been Lear’s cherished fool for years. So naturally Pocket is at his brainless, elderly liege’s side when Lear demands that his kids swear to him their undying love and devotion. Of course Goneril and Regan are only too happy to brownnose Dad. But Cordelia believes that her father’s request is kind of…well…stupid, and her blunt honesty ends up costing her her rightful share of the kingdom and earns her a banishment to boot.

Well now the bangers and mash have really hit the fan. And the only person who can possibly make things right . . . is Pocket. Now he’s going to have do some very fancy maneuvering: cast some spells, start a war or two – the usual stuff – to get Cordelia back into Daddy Lear’s good graces, to derail the fiendish power plays of Cordelia’s twisted sisters, and to shag every lusciously shaggable wench who’s amenable to shagging along the way.

Pocket may be a fool…but he’s definitely not an idiot.

©2009 Christopher Moore; (P)2009 HarperCollins Publishers

I rate Fool a 9 out of 10 and recommend it to anyone who doesn’t mind a lot of foul language and some fun butchering of Shakespeare’s work.

The Dragon Factory: The Joe Ledger Novels, Book 2 by Jonathan Maberry

Joe Ledger at it again, kicking butt, taking names, and saving the world from bad guys.

The Dragon Factory is the second book in the Joe Ledger series and picks up a short time after Patient Zero http://davenelson.com/patient-zero-by-jonathan-maberry/ ended.

I am enjoying these stories and Ray Porter is doing a fantastic job narrating them.

From the publisher:

Ex-Baltimore cop turned special-ops shooter Joe Ledger is back in action.

In The Dragon Factory, Ledger and his team from the Department of Military Sciences square off against two separate groups of corrupt scientists. The beautiful but twisted Jakoby Twins are creating transgenic monsters and genetically enhanced mercenaries for sale to the highest bidder. Their father, who takes evil to an entirely new level, is using cutting-edge science to complete the Nazi master-race program.

Joe must elude the NSA who are gunning for him, fight his way past rogue Spetsnaz teams, and stop these madmen before the Extinction Clock runs out. And when the bloodbath claims one of his own, Joe Ledger declares total war on those people who would burn down the world in order to reshape it in their own dark image.

Take another thrill ride with Joe Ledger.

©2010 Jonathan Maberry (P)2011 Blackstone Audio, Inc.

I rate The Dragon Factory an 8 out of 10 and recommend it to anyone who likes crime, action, or medical mystery novels.

Gormenghast: Volume 2 of the Gormenghast Trilogy by Mervyn Peake

In Gormenghast, book 2 in the series, we get to dive deeper into the characters that live in and around the castle. Titus really comes into his own and Fuchsia becomes a woman all the while our knowledge of the castle grows.

I really don’t like the comparison of these novels with Tolkien’s Lord of the Rings. They are so very different that it is not fair to either of them. I have enjoyed reading LotR but I find much of the writing to be tedious but the language used in the Gormenghast novels makes me smile and laugh out loud.

Robert Whitfield does a wonderful job with the narration of the audiobook, his ability to give the words life makes me very happy.

From the publisher:

In Volume 2 of the classic Gormenghast Trilogy, a doomed lord, an emergent hero, and an array of bizarre creatures haunt the world of Gormenghast Castle. This trilogy, along with Tolkien’s Lord of the Rings, reigns as one of the undisputed fantasy classics of all time. At the center of everything is the 77th Earl, Titus Groan, who stands to inherit the miles of rambling stone and mortar that form Gormenghast Castle and its kingdom.

In this second volume, Titus comes of age within the walls of Gormenghast Castle and discovers various family intrigues. His twin aunts, Cora and Clarice, have been imprisoned in their own apartments, believing that they alone among the castle inhabitants were free of a hideous disease referred to as "Weasel plague." Titus has discovered secret hiding places in abandoned parts of the castle from which he can watch and learn, unobserved: for he has been "exiled" to grow up with the common children until the age of 15. And so, not feeling connected to his future responsibilities, Titus drifts back and forth between the complicated social world he will grow up to govern, and a world of fantasy and daydream.

©2000 Mervyn Peake; (P)2000 Blackstone Audiobooks

I rate Gormenghast a 9 out of 10 and hope every fan of fantasy literature give it a read.

Titus Groan: Volume 1 of the Gormenghast Trilogy by Mervyn Peake

I needed a break from the science fiction and action/spy books I had been listening to so I decided to through in something completely different and you can get much more different that Titus Groan.

Titus Groan is the first book in the Gromenghast series of book written by Mervyn Peake who was an amazing illustrator and writer. The Wikipedia article on Mr. Peake is full of really interesting information about his life and works.

The language in this book is absolutely astonishing. I have never heard anything else like it. I highly recommend reading or listening to this book to experience the use of the English language alone. So stop what you are doing and go do that now!

Robert Whitfield does an amazing job bringing all of the characters to life and making the language of the book the star.

From the publisher:

In Volume 1 of the classic Gormenghast Trilogy, a doomed lord, an emergent hero, and an array of bizarre creatures haunt the world of Gormenghast Castle. This trilogy, along with Tolkien’s Lord of the Rings, reigns as one of the undisputed fantasy classics of all time. At the center of everything is the 77th Earl, Titus Groan, who stands to inherit the miles of rambling stone and mortar that form Gormenghast Castle and its kingdom.

In this first volume, the Gormenghast Castle, and the noble family who inhabits it, are introduced, along with the infant firstborn son of the Lord and Countess. Titus Groan is sent away to be raised by a wet nurse, with only a gold ring from his mother, and ordered to not be brought back until the age of six. By his christening, he learns from his much older sisters that epileptic fits are "common at his age." He also learns that they don’t like his mother. And then, he is crowned, and called, "Child-inheritor of the rivers, of the Tower of Flints and the dark recesses beneath cold stairways and the sunny summer lawns. Child-inheritor of the spring breeze that blow in from the jarl forests and of the autumn misery in petal, scale, and wing. Winter’s white brilliance on a thousand turrets and summer’s torpor among walls that crumble…"

In these extraordinary novels, Peake has created a world where all is like a dream – lush, fantastical, vivid; a symbol of dark struggle.

©1967 Mervyn Peake; (P)2000 Blackstone Audiobooks

I rate Titus Groan a 9 out of 10 and recommend it to anyone fascinated by the English language.