By: Louis Bayard
Audiobook Read by: Mark Honan
My rating: SPECTACULAR
WOW! I loved The Black Tower so much that I decided to give this one a try. I LOVED THIS BOOK! To be honest I didn't expect it to be quite as good as The Black Tower based on the blurb I read but I was blown away! If it were possible, I'd say this was even better than The Black Tower but since it's hard to do better than SPECTACULAR, I'll content myself with saying that Louis is a genius and his books prove it! By the way, Louis, if you are reading this, please believe that I would say this even if I was positive you would never see it! :)
Louis takes the Dickens' classic, A Christmas Carol as his starting point, and spins a wonderful tale that gives us a picture of what became of Tiny Tim. Timothy has become a bit hard and somewhat less than respectable, renting a room in a house of ill repute and working for the mistress of said establishment. He has allowed himself to take advantage of Uncle N's (Ebeneezer Scrooge) generosity and treats his benefactor as little more than a bank, supplying his needs while expecting him to stay out of his personal life. But it seems that something of the Christmas ghosts that once thawed Uncle N's heart are still at work and he finds himself drawn in by the plight of a little homeless orphan, Philomela, when she chances to cross his path. As he tries to find out her story and see if he can help her, he unwittingly is helped by her, becoming a caring compassionate man and finally coming to grips with his own personal demons. His passion and determination to help her draws him into a conspiracy that reaches to the most deplorable depths of the human soul where he sees first hand just how evil people can be. In the end he finds himself facing death to try to save people he has never met and in so doing, finds himself saved as well.
The heroes in this story are a wonderful combination of rough street smarts, surprising wisdom, and charity, willing to go to any length to help their fellow man. The villains are the exact opposite, full of evil intentions, ruthlessness, and the lowest of low morals. I especially loved Captain Gully with his rough seaman's exterior that melts in the presence of Philomela to reveal a heart of gold that is so full of love and generosity that his chest can hardly contain it. Colin the Melodious, the young street urchin is also a wonderful asset to the story. His personality and antics had me laughing out loud on several occasions! The unlikely team of Timothy and Colin makes for a lot of surprising twists and turns but in the end turns out to be the indomitable force that seals the fate of the evil madmen who are out to get Philomela.
This story was full of wonderful humor as well as heart wrenching moments. I was on the edge of my seat the entire time and on more than one occasion was surprised by some of the revelations. At each new turn I discovered that once again I was on the wrong trail and was surprised to find myself facing yet another suspect in this mystery. Chapter by chapter I was carried away to that far off land and time that only the masterful hand and incredible imagination of Mr. Bayard has been able to do.
I listened to the audio book performed by Mark Honan. He was a joy to listen to in every way. I especially loved when he would read a humorous part for I could hear the laughter sprouting up in his voice each time. His voices and emotion were perfect and I hope that I will find more of his work to listen to!
Overall, I couldn't say enough good about this book! Louis is truly a genius and I am so very happy to have found his work! I have once again found myself transported to another time and very sincerely hope that you will consider joining me by checking out this and all of his work! As my favorite cucumber once said, "I laughed, I cried, it moved me Bob!"