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Extended Audio Sample A Test of Wills, by Charles Todd Click for printable size audiobook cover
3 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 5 3.00 (3,461 ratings) (rate this audio book) Author: Charles Todd Narrator: Samuel Gillies Publisher: Recorded Books, LLC Format: Unabridged Audiobook Delivery: Instant Download Audio Length: Related: The Inspector Rutledge Mysteries Release Date:
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It’s 1919, and the “War to End All Wars” has been won. But there is no peace for Scotland Yard inspector Ian Rutledge, recently returned from the battlefields of France shell-shocked and tormented by the ever-present voice of the young Scot he had executed for refusing an order. Escaping into his work to save his sanity, Rutledge investigates the murder of a popular colonel in Warwickshire and his alleged killer, a decorated war hero and close friend of the Prince of Wales.

The case is a political minefield, and its resolution could mean the end of Rutledge’s career. Win or lose, the cost may be more than the damaged investigator can bear, for the one witness who can break the case open is, like Rutledge, a war-ravaged victim, and his grim, shattered fate could well prove to be the haunted investigator’s own as well.

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Quotes & Awards

  • “You’re going to love Todd.”

    Stephen King

  • “A first novel that speaks out, urgently and compassionately, for a long-dead generation…Both a meticulously wrought puzzle and a harrowing psychological drama.”

    New York Times Book Review

  • “The emotional and physical carnage of World War I is used to remarkable effect in A Test of Wills, an excellent new mystery and, one hopes, the first of a series.”

    Chicago Tribune

  • “Remarkable…Todd, an American, seems to have perfect pitch in his ability to capture the tenor and nuances of English country life.”

    Kansas City Star

  • “More than an ordinary whodunit, this literate thriller raises disturbing issues of war and peace.”

    San Diego Union-Tribune

  • “Finely crafted…psychologically sophisticated, tautly written, and craftily plotted.”

    San Jose Mercury News

  • “Expert plotting and keen insight into the human psyche [are] hallmarks of this series.”

    Fort Lauderdale Sun-Sentinel

  • “A newcomer returns us to the essential pleasure of the well-crafted puzzle in this debut, the absorbing story of a young British WWI veteran returning from the war to his job as a Scotland Yard inspector…Todd depicts the outer and inner worlds of his characters with authority and sympathy as he closes in on his surprising—and convincing—conclusion.”

    Publishers Weekly (starred review)

  • “Strong, elegant prose, detailed surroundings, and sound plotting characterize the debut historical…highly recommended.”

    Library Journal

  • “The twentieth century hasn’t happened in Upper Streetham, which seems to have been cast out of Rebecca, or in first-novelist Todd’s deeply old-fashioned storytelling, which eschews the slightest impropriety in favor of the patient subtlety and circumlocution that held readers in thrall seventy years ago. A feast for the like-minded.”

    Kirkus Reviews

  • “In A Test of Wills, Charles Todd gives us a golden age crime story in its proper historical setting. This is an intelligent, controlled, and well-organized first novel, rich with promise of a bright future.”

    Reginald Hill, author of The Woodcutter

  • “War-wounded Britain in 1919 is beautifully conveyed in an intricately plotted mystery. With this remarkable debut, Charles Todd breaks new ground in the historical crime novel.”

    Peter Lovesey, author of Skeleton Hill

  • “The debut of Charles Todd’s Inspector Ian Rutledge is an auspicious one. In a novel full of complex and believable characters, perhaps the most complex of all the Great War itself, which backlights this mystery with its monumental horrors.”

    Gaylord Dold, author of The Last Man in Berlin

  • Finalist for the 1997 Edgar Allan Poe Award for Best First Novel
  • Finalist for the 1997 Barry Award for Best First Novel
  • A New York Times Notable Book of 1996
  • A Publishers Weekly Top 10 Book of the Year in Mysteries

Listener Opinions

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 by Katie | 2/12/2014

    " Enjoyed it - thanks Megg! "

  • 3 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 5 by Melanie | 2/12/2014

    " Okay read. I like the Bess Crawford series better. "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 by Russell Collins | 2/3/2014

    " First book in the Ian Rutledge series. Set just after the First World War, an interesting time period. I would read more in this series. "

  • 3 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 5 by Christian Dibblee | 1/19/2014

    " I thought this book was okay. For whatever reason, there wasn't as much taut suspense as I had hoped for, but the character of Rutledge is enough to get me interested in the next installments of the series. I prefer a much more compelling storyline as opposed to characters, but the Todds certainly have some knack for how this is done without going the way of Dorothy Sayers, who portrays an effeminate, flighty protagonist. They are not adverse to dealing with disturbing or controversial subjects, so I'm impressed by that. "

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About the Narrator

Sam Gillies is an experienced audiobook narrator whose titles include A Fearsome Doubt, Legacy of the Dead, Let It Bleed, Wings of Fire, and others.