Top 10 fantasy audio-book downloads (January 2011)
Below is a list of the top 10 science fiction and fantasy audio-books downloaded on www.audible.co.uk during January 2011.
- I Shall Wear Midnight, Terry Pratchett (Unabridged)
Tiffany Aching, the young witch from The Wee Free Men, A Hat Full of Sky, and Wintersmith is back in a new adventure featuring Discworld characters both familiar to fans (such as Tiffany, the Wee Free Men, Granny Weatherwax and Nanny Ogg) and new (meet Wee Mad Arthur, the Nac Mac Feegle on the City Watch whose only previous appearance was a brief cameo in Feet of Clay, and city witch Mrs Proust – a fabulous Pratchett creation). Oh, and there’s a magic book or two, a twist through time, a Cunning Man – and a Giant Man of chalk….
- Jonathan Strange & Mr. Norrell, Susanna Clarke (Unabridged)
Shortlisted for Audible’s Listen of the Year, 2006. English magicians were once the wonder of the known world, with fairy servants at their beck and call; they could command winds, mountains, and woods. But by the early 1800s they have long since lost the ability to perform magic. They can only write long, dull papers about it, while fairy servants are nothing but a fading memory. But at Hurtfew Abbey in Yorkshire, the rich, reclusive Mr. Norrell has assembled a wonderful library of lost and forgotten books from England’s magical past and regained some of the powers of England’s magicians. He goes to London and raises a beautiful young woman from the dead. Soon he is lending his help to the government in the war against Napoleon Bonaparte, creating ghostly fleets of rain-ships to confuse and alarm the French. All goes well until a rival magician appears. Jonathan Strange is handsome, charming, and talkative, the very opposite of Mr. Norrell. Strange thinks nothing of enduring the rigors of campaigning with Wellington’s army and doing magic on battlefields. Astonished to find another practicing magician, Mr. Norrell accepts Strange as a pupil. But it soon becomes clear that their ideas of what English magic ought to be are very different… Sophisticated, witty, and ingeniously convincing, Susanna Clarke’s magisterial novel weaves magic into a flawlessly detailed vision of historical England. She has created a world so thoroughly enchanting that 32 hours leave readers longing for more.
- The Skinner, Neal Asher (Unabridged)
To the remote planet Spatterjay come three travellers with very different missions. Janer is directed there by the hornet Hive-mind; Erlin comes to find the sea captain who can teach her to live; and Keech – dead for 700 years – has unfinished business with a notorious criminal. Spatterjay is a watery world where the human population inhabits the safety of the Dome and only the quasi-immortal hoopers are safe outside amidst a fearful range of voracious life-forms. Somewhere out there is Spatterjay Hoop himself, and monitor Keech cannot rest until he can bring this legendary renegade to justice for atrocious crimes committed centuries ago during the Prador Wars. Keech does not realise that Hoop’s body is running free on an island wilderness, while his living head is confined in a box on an Old Captain’s ships. Nor does he know that the most brutal Prador of all is about to pay a visit, intent on wiping out all evidence of his wartime atrocities. Which means major hell is about to erupt in this chaotic waterscape.
- Dune, Frank Herbert (Unabridged)
Here is the novel that will be forever considered a triumph of the imagination. Set on the desert planet Arrakis, Dune is the story of the boy Paul Atreides, who would become the mysterious man known as Maud’dib. He would avenge the traitorous plot against his noble family and would bring to fruition humankind’s most ancient and unattainable dream. A stunning blend of adventure and mysticism, environmentalism and politics, Dune won the first Nebula Award, shared the Hugo Award, and formed the basis of what is undoubtedly the grandest epic in science fiction. Frank Herbert’s death in 1986 was a tragic loss, yet the astounding legacy of his visionary fiction will live forever.
- Let the Right One In, John Ajvide Lindqvist (Unabridged)
Oskar and Eli. In very different ways, they were both victims. Which is why, against the odds, they became friends – and how they came to depend on one another for life itself. Oskar is a 12-year-old boy living with his mother on a dreary housing estate at the city’s edge. He dreams about his absentee father, gets bullied at school, and wets himself when he’s frightened. Eli is the young girl who’s moved in next door. She doesn’t go to school and never leaves the flat by day. She is a 200-year-old vampire, forever frozen in childhood, and condemned to live on a diet of fresh blood. John Ajvide Lindqvist’s novel is a huge best seller in his native Sweden – a unique and brilliant fusion of social novel and vampire legend. It is also a deeply moving fable about rejection, friendship, and loyalty.
- The Lost Gate, Orson Scott Card (Unabridged)
Danny North knew from early childhood that his family was different – and that he was different from them. While his cousins were learning how to create the things that commoners called fairies, ghosts, golems, trolls, werewolves, and other such miracles that were the heritage of the North family, Danny worried that he would never show a talent, never form an “outself”. He grew up in the rambling old house, filled with dozens of cousins and aunts and uncles, all ruled by his father. Their home was isolated in the mountains of western Virginia, far from town, far from schools, far from other people. There are many secrets in the House, and many rules that Danny must follow. There is a secret library with only a few dozen books, and none of them in English – but Danny and his cousins are expected to become fluent in the language of the books. While Danny’s cousins are free to create magic whenever they like, they must never do it where outsiders might see. Unfortunately, there are some secrets kept from Danny as well. And that will lead to disaster for the North family. Orson Scott Card, a New York Times best-selling author, has won several Hugo and Nebula Awards for his works of speculative fiction. He lives with his family in Greensboro, North Carolina.
- The Passage, Justin Cronin (Unabridged)
Amy Harper Bellafonte is six years old, and her mother thinks she’s the most important person in the whole world. She is…. Anthony Carter doesn’t think he could ever be in a worse place than Death Row…. He’s wrong. FBI agent Brad Wolgast thinks something beyond imagination is coming…. It is. The Passage. Deep in the jungles of eastern Colombia, Professor Jonas Lear has finally found what he’s been searching for – and wishes to God he hadn’t. In Memphis, Tennessee, a six-year-old girl called Amy is left at the convent of the Sisters of Mercy and wonders why her mother has abandoned her. In a maximum security jail in Nevada, a convicted murderer called Giles Babcock has the same strange nightmare, over and over again, while he waits for a lethal injection. In a remote community in the California mountains, a young man called Peter waits for his beloved brother to return home – so he can kill him. Bound together in ways they cannot comprehend, for each of them a door is about to open into a future they could not have imagined. And a journey is about to begin. An epic journey that will take them through a world transformed by man’s darkest dreams, to the very heart of what it means to be human. And beyond. The Passage.
- Breaking Dawn, Stephenie Meyer (Unabridged)
Twilight tempted the imagination . . . New Moon made readers thirsty for more . . . Eclipse turned the saga into a worldwide phenomenon . . . And now – the book that everyone has been waiting for . . . Breaking Dawn.
- Consider Phlebas, Iain M. Banks (Unabridged)
The first Culture novel, now available as an unabridged audio download. The war raged across the galaxy. Billions had died, billions more were doomed. Moons, planets, the very stars themselves, faced destruction – cold-blooded, brutal, and worse, random. The Idirans fought for their Faith; the Culture for its moral right to exist. Principles were at stake. There could be no surrender. Within the cosmic conflict, an individual crusade. Deep within a fabled labyrinth on a barren world, a Planet of the Dead proscribed to mortals, lay a fugitive Mind. Both the Culture and the Idirans sought it. It was the fate of Horza, the Changer, and his motley crew of unpredictable mercenaries, human and machine, actually to find it, and with it their own destruction. Consider Phlebas is a space opera of stunning power and awesome imagination.
- The Player of Games, Iain M Banks (Unabridged)
The Culture – a human/machine symbiotic society – has thrown up many great Game Players, and one of the greatest is Gurgeh: Jernau Morat Gurgeh, The Player of Games, master of every board, computer, and strategy. Bored with success, Gurgeh travels to the Empire of Azad, cruel and incredibly wealthy, to try their fabulous game… a game so complex, so like life itself, that the winner becomes emperor. Mocked, blackmailed, almost murdered, Gurgeh accepts the game, and with it the challenge of his life – and very possibly his death.