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Extended Audio Sample Absolute Truths Audiobook, by Susan Howatch Click for printable size audiobook cover
4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 4.00 (614 ratings) (rate this audio book) Author: Susan Howatch Narrator: Simon Vance Publisher: Blackstone Audio Format: Unabridged Audiobook Delivery: Instant Download Audio Length: Related: The Starbridge Series Release Date: March 2009 ISBN: 9781455182480
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It is 1965, and Charles Ashworth has attained the plum position of bishop of Starbridge, an honor that keeps him in a heady whirl of activity that would exhaust the most seasoned corporate executive. With the invaluable support of his minions and his attractive, unsinkable wife, Ashworth stands against the amorality and decadence of the age—“Anti-Sex Ashworth.” He slays his opponents by being a tough, efficient, confident churchman, the torments of his past long since dead and buried.

But when Ashworth’s beloved wife dies, a profound crisis of his faith begins unexpectedly and with brutal force. As bereavement overwhelms his spiritual equilibrium, suddenly Ashworth finds himself staring into the chasm of all the lies he’s been telling himself for years: about his marriage, his children, even his views on the church. And as he suspects his old nemesis and dean, Neville Aysgarth, of drinking too much, of financial chicanery, of—God forbid—having an affair, Ashworth discovers to his horror that he is tempted to commit the very acts that he has so publicly denounced.

Spiraling downwards, Ashworth knows he must find his way out of the maze of his own psyche. In doing so, he will face the most difficult spiritual test of his life: to acknowledge the absolute truths—both good and bad—that have shaped his past, and that may be the only keys to his future.

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Quotes & Awards

  • “A skillful blend of character, philosophy and narrative…Formidable personalities embroil themselves in ruthless power struggles that would make a corporate raider blush.”

    Washington Post Book World

  • “A powerful combination of psychological insight, theological depth, and storytelling ability. Howatch simultaneously provides her reader with both marvelous entertainment and genuine insight into the human condition. Highly recommended.”

    Library Journal

  • “There are hints of Trollope, hints of C. S. Lewis in these pages, but nowhere else does one discover the distinctive genius of Anglican theology—intelligent, commonsensical, optimistic—so movingly wrapped in the heartbreaking dramas of husbands, wives, fathers, children, and spiritual guides.”

    Booklist

Listener Opinions

  • 5 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 5 Bernice | 2/19/2014

    " i just re-read this book, the final book in a six book series about the Church of England. susan howatch takes theology and brings it to life through fiction, and the combination of her witty style and deep ideas makes it such a satisfying read for me. this time, i really wanted to re-read this one because its' main point is romans 8:28 - all things work together for good for those who love God and are called according to his purposes. i would definitely recommend reading this book. start with the first one in the series though and work your way through. i think it's richer that way. "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 Becky | 2/17/2014

    " Excellent end to this series. I will greatly miss these characters! "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 Lindsay | 1/5/2014

    " See review of Glittering Images. "

  • 3 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 5 Anna | 12/25/2013

    " Such true-to-life, in-depth characters are expressed in her writing. Real people with complex emotions and relationships. Lots of dialogue and personal reflections throughout the book. "

  • 5 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 5 Nancy Duncan | 12/19/2013

    " I could hardly put this down. Howatch weaves a lot of insights into human nature and spirtual struggles into this tale. "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 Jo | 12/17/2013

    " Reference my review for Glittering Images "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 Susan | 12/14/2013

    " I enjoyed this series very much. "

  • 1 out of 51 out of 51 out of 51 out of 51 out of 5 Sherry | 12/4/2013

    " read for class & didn't like it "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 Polly Petersen | 12/1/2013

    " The follow on to the Book - Glittering Image. Charles Ashworth is now a Bishop. The book deals with the very real struggles within the Church in the 60's. These are issues that the church is still dealing with. "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 Alison | 9/20/2013

    " A powerful end to this series. I love the characters of Charles and Lyle Ashworth. "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 Lisa | 8/31/2013

    " I really liked this book. At first I didn't think I would be interested but by the end I was devouring it!! I definitly want to read the others. "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 Evan | 5/20/2013

    " Some will find this a little 'preachy' much of the time, but I enjoyed it. How else does one deal with big issues of guilt and grief and despair? Main characters grew up far faster than in real life. "

  • 5 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 5 Linda | 1/24/2013

    " Part of Howatch's excellent Church of England series. These are particularly interesting because of the way in which she includes main figures from previous books into the current one. "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 Erin | 1/3/2013

    " The last and bests book in the series. "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 Isabel | 12/5/2012

    " Starbridge 6 or St. Benet's 1. "

  • 5 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 5 Naomi | 11/17/2012

    " Intelligent Christian fiction and no I am not making that up. The Church of England series is EXCELLENT! "

  • 5 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 5 Diane | 5/14/2012

    " This is the book that ties it all together. I try to reread the "Starbridge" series once a year. While set in various decades of the 20th century, the characters resound into the 21st. Great detail, great story and lots and lots of depth. Can't recommend the entire series highly enough. "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 Rachel | 7/15/2011

    " I found this just as gripping as the others I've read. I like the first person narrative and the way the narrator's bias comes through. "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 Susan | 3/14/2011

    " I enjoyed this series very much. "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 Alison | 10/20/2010

    " A powerful end to this series. I love the characters of Charles and Lyle Ashworth. "

  • 5 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 5 Nancy | 4/10/2010

    " I could hardly put this down. Howatch weaves a lot of insights into human nature and spirtual struggles into this tale. "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 Becky | 2/9/2010

    " Excellent end to this series. I will greatly miss these characters! "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 Polly | 12/7/2009

    " The follow on to the Book - Glittering Image. Charles Ashworth is now a Bishop. The book deals with the very real struggles within the Church in the 60's. These are issues that the church is still dealing with. "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 Jo | 7/17/2009

    " Reference my review for Glittering Images "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 Isabel | 3/15/2009

    " Starbridge 6 or St. Benet's 1. "

  • 5 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 5 Dustin | 2/3/2009

    " Foregoing a long review let me just say this: This series is profoundly and addictingly good. I am sorry that it is over--I feel as though I have lost friends?!!-- and I am looking forward to picking it back up in a few years. "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 Evan | 12/21/2008

    " Some will find this a little 'preachy' much of the time, but I enjoyed it. How else does one deal with big issues of guilt and grief and despair? Main characters grew up far faster than in real life. "

  • 5 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 5 Linda | 8/4/2008

    " Part of Howatch's excellent Church of England series. These are particularly interesting because of the way in which she includes main figures from previous books into the current one. "

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About the Author
Author Susan Howatch

Susan Howatch is a British novelist who has penned bestselling mysteries, family sagas, and other novels. Howatch was born in Surrey, England. She began writing as a teen and published her first book when she moved to the United States in 1964. Howatch found global success first with her five sagas and then with her novels about the Church of England in the twentieth century. She has now returned to live in Surrey.

About the Narrator

Simon Vance (a.k.a. Robert Whitfield) is an award-winning actor and an AudioFile Golden Voice with fifty-eight Earphones Awards. He has won thirteen prestigious Audie Awards and was Booklist’s very first Voice of Choice in 2008. He has narrated more than eight hundred audiobooks over almost thirty years, beginning when he was a radio newsreader for the BBC in London.