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Extended Audio Sample Hadrian’s Walls Audiobook, by Robert Draper Click for printable size audiobook cover
3 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 5 3.00 (326 ratings) (rate this audio book) Author: Robert Draper Narrator: Pete Bradbury Publisher: Recorded Books, LLC Format: Unabridged Audiobook Delivery: Instant Download Audio Length: Release Date: April 1999 ISBN: 9781436127172
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Shepherdsville, East Texas, is a town defined—architecturally, financially, and socially—by its state penitentiaries, among them the bleak Hope Prison Farm. It’s a town where virtually every inhabitant is either an inmate or a prison employee, a town where crime literally pays.

Shepherdsville’s two most famous citizens are Sonny Hope, its larger-than-life prison director, and Hadrian Coleman, its most notorious convict. Their friendship since boyhood has followed a pattern of mutual dependence, keeping them at once in collusion and on opposite sides of the law. At age fifteen, introspective and emotionally vulnerable, Hadrian killed a man and was sentenced to fifty years at Hope Farm. However, twenty years later, he achieves the unthinkable and escapes from the prison.

After years of life on the run, he’s summoned back to Shepherdsville to receive a full governor’s pardon secured by Sonny, who now runs the prison and, by extension, the town. Hadrian knows Sonny’s motives are not entirely clean, that this is a favor that will require something in return. When the nature of that payment is finally made clear, he must determine who really owes what to whom and whether carrying out Sonny’s demand will result in a lifetime spent in his power.

As Hadrian vacillates between loyalty to his friend and the struggle to do right, he is pulled toward a final showdown with Sonny, a crisis that will not only change the lives of the two men but also finally free Hadrian from Shepherdsville and from his past.

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Quotes & Awards

  • “Robert Draper has made an exciting debut. He’s got a good ear for the tones of the region and a sharp sense of how the oppressiveness of it adds its weight to the actual oppression that is his theme. I hope he finds many readers.”

    Larry McMurtry

  • Hadrian’s Walls, is…a deft, occasionally ingenious novel.”

    New York Times Book Review

  • “[A] scorching, Faustian first novel…Draper skillfully balances his stark portrayal of Shepherdsville’s environs and feckless inhabitants with the affecting drama that unfolds among the central characters. His ambitious novel explores the irony, pathos and contradictions both of freedom vs. captivity and of good vs. evil.”

    Publishers Weekly (starred review)

  • “In his cool, prosaically loping fiction debut, Texas journalist Draper easily entraps the reader in a Lone Star State prison town …[Hadrian’s Walls] provides sooty, ragged, fearsome reading pleasure…A breezy encounter with human darkness, carried on by the lilt of Draper’s choice prose.”

    Kirkus Review

Listener Opinions

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

    " Pretty good historical fiction about the clash of Roman imperialism and Celtic culture North of Hadrian's Wall in what is now Scotland. The romance between the Roman aristocrat daughter and the Celtic chieftain makes for a rousing story that brings the history to life. "

  • 3 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 5 Stephanie | 2/17/2014

    " I've never read anything from the Roman occupation of England. This book seemed to do a good job of portraying both the Celtic and Roman cultures, as well as describing the wall that spanned Britian in that era. A Roman heiress is captured and becomes a part of the Celtic community. "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 Nathaniel | 2/8/2014

    " This is a pretty decent sort of historical fiction novel. It's pretty similar to what you would get if you read a King Arthur novel, but without any of the magic. The Celtic traditions are part of the story, and so is the whole discussion of the Roman empire. This book takes place about the time Rome's influence in Britain was beginning to end. I thought it was pretty well written, but not a 5 star book. "

  • 3 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 5 Adrienne | 1/30/2014

    " An interesting historical fiction from ancient times. Nothing too spectacular, but definitely entertaining enough if you're looking for a fun and semi-educational read. It get's a 3.5 star rating from me. "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 Anthony Garcia | 1/20/2014

    " Very well written. Adventure, deceit, mystery and intrigue combine to make a fast read. "

  • 3 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 5 John | 1/18/2014

    " Good historical fiction set in 3rd Century Britain. It is a story of love, betrayal and adventure set amidst the conflict between Romans and Celts along Hadrian's Wall, which was meant to separate the barbarians from the civilization of the time. "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 Jolene | 12/30/2013

    " I read this a while ago because I trust Julia Smith's recommendations! I thought it was a good historical fiction book too. I didn't even know about 'the wall' before this! "

  • 3 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 5 Gigi | 12/28/2013

    " Nice writing, but too much romance. Also, eventually, the overomaticized ancient Celtic way of life got to me. Sorry. "

  • 3 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 5 Gary | 12/26/2013

    " Mystery, war, love and history...all happening 1,700 years ago. "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 Suzi | 12/9/2013

    " I enjoyed this book more and more as I read. The setting was very different than anything I had ever read and it was fun to learn about ancient Rome and Britannia I found the back and forth of the inquiry and then the actual events frustrating at first, but then fell into the rhythm. "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 Belfield Carter | 11/6/2013

    " Im a sucker for historical fiction... "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 Shiela | 10/2/2013

    " Loved it, Dietrich's best work that I've read so far. The action was well plotted, the history was interesting, the description was adequate without being too dull, and there was so much going on that the reader is constantly uncertain of where loyalties lie. A really fun and captivating read. "

  • 2 out of 52 out of 52 out of 52 out of 52 out of 5 Don | 8/2/2013

    " I'm striking out here with a string of bad reading choices. This one is a period romance masquerading as a rollicking Roman military novel. Blech. "

  • 2 out of 52 out of 52 out of 52 out of 52 out of 5 Jerome | 5/29/2013

    " Not very interesting to me. Rushed through the last predictable part. "

  • 3 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 5 Joe | 9/11/2012

    " A bit slow, but the historical subject matter is fairly interesting. "

  • 3 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 5 Dale | 8/7/2012

    " Meh. Not bad, but too romance-laden for my taste. I mean, I'm all for hunky barbarians with modern sensitivity to sexual equality and an amazing ability in the sack - I'm just not sure I believe in them historically. "

  • 2 out of 52 out of 52 out of 52 out of 52 out of 5 Megan | 11/8/2011

    " I got a little more than halfway through this book and realized I just don't care how it ends or what happens to its characters. It's not bad, just not gripping. "

  • 2 out of 52 out of 52 out of 52 out of 52 out of 5 Mic | 10/30/2011

    " Not very interesting - plods along at a pedestrian pace. All too predictable. Shame, because I've really enjoyed his writing in the past. Stay away from this one, though. "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 Betty | 10/9/2011

    " The story is just so-so but I gave it a 4 because of the historical aspect of the Celts, which I found very interesting. "

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About the Author
Author Robert Draper

Robert Draper has been a national correspondent for GQ for the past decade, and prior to that was senior editor at Texas Monthly. He is the author of several books of nonfiction and lives in Washington, DC.

About the Narrator

Pete Bradbury has appeared both on and off-Broadway and at many of the leading regional theaters across the country in plays ranging from Shakespeare and Molière to Edward Albee and David Mamet. He has also been seen on the CBS miniseries Sally Hemings. A former company member of the American Conservatory Theater in San Francisco, Bradbury received his training in their three-year advanced program. He lives in New York City with his family.