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A very entertaining romp – which starts slowly, and builds up to a great conclusion. I had expected a light, sword-play filled pot-boiler, and was quite surprised when the first few chapters seemed to suggest a philosophical novel, pondering the nature of political power.
This deeper aspect reappears at odd moments in the book, but its mostly romance, swords and intrigue after that. The hero of the novel is a kind of eighteenth century James Bond, capable of tossing off sarcastic jibes whilst duelling like a master, and turning a ragtag group of travelling players into the toast of the town in a few weeks.
And great fun it is too, especially with its great series of twists towards the end, when the pace really hots up.
The author seems to have only learned English rather late in life, and made it the sixth language that he spoke fluently, which makes we wonder if he based the supremely competent hero of this novel on himself.
This is read by Gordon Mackenzie, which means that every ounce of drama and tension is converted into pure audio gold. A real masterpiece and a delight. I would expect the he is the LibriVox reader that all male volunteers secretly wish that they sounded like. Speaking for myself, however, I am pleased that there are readers at the other end of the spectrum – if everyone sounded like Gordon I would never have dared to volunteer. Still, as Gordon reads in his recording of Walden, a man’s reach should exceed his grasp.