Monday, May 14, 2012

The Crown Conspiracy by Michael J. Sullivan

Source: Podiobooks
Length: Approx. 9 hrs
Reader: Nathan Lowell

The book: Literature that is innovative can be challenging and mind-changing. With the long days of  summer approaching, though, a good story with familiar elements is just as welcome. The Crown Conspiracy liberally borrows from its predecessors in the medieval fantasy genre, but lack of originality can be forgiven when the tale is told well.

The main characters here are a pair of hear-of-gold thieves distinctly reminiscent of Fritz Leiber's Fafhrd and the Gray Mouser.  The heroes get themselves into trouble through a obvious set-up and set about trying to escape from captivity and avoid their pursuers. There are some plot twists that aren't terribly surprising for anyone familiar with the genre, but the story is told with such humor and a sense of adventure that these tropes feel natural. The writing alternates between exciting set-pieces and long exposition conversations as the author fleshes out his fantasy world. This short novel is the first in a series of six, so there are some loose ends, but the book itself winds up to a satisfying conclusion.

Rating: 8 /10

The reader: As I stated in a previous review of his own book, Lowell is a gifted reader. The recording is professionally produced with appropriate music for the beginning and end of each segment, along with shorter bits of music for scene changes. If I have any complaints, it's in Lowell's voices for his characters. I found it hard to distinguish between the voices, and the uneven distributions of British accents added to the confusion. Overall, though, this was an excellent recording.

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