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Extended Audio Sample Ordinary Thunderstorms: A Novel Audiobook, by William Boyd Click for printable size audiobook cover
3.62 out of 53.62 out of 53.62 out of 53.62 out of 53.62 out of 5 3.62 (26 ratings) (rate this audio book) Author: William Boyd Narrator: Gideon Emery Publisher: HarperCollins Format: Unabridged Audiobook Delivery: Instant Download Audio Length: Release Date: February 2010 ISBN: 9780062007568
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One May evening in London, Adam Kindred, a young climatologist in town for a job interview, is feeling good about the future as he sits down for a meal at a little Italian bistro. He strikes up a conversation with a solitary diner at the next table, who leaves soon afterward. With horrifying speed, this chance encounter leads to a series of malign accidents, through which Adam loses everything—home, family, friends, job, reputation, passport, credit cards, cell phone—never to get them back.

The police are searching for him. There is a reward for his capture. A hired killer is stalking him. He is alone and anonymous in a huge, pitiless modern city. Adam has nowhere to go but down—underground. He decides to join that vast army of the disappeared and the missing who throng London’s lowest levels as he tries to figure out what to do with his life and struggles to understand the forces that have made it unravel so spectacularly. Adam's quest will take him all along the river Thames, from affluent Chelsea to the gritty East End, and on the way he will encounter all manner of London's denizens—aristocrats, prostitutes, evangelists, and policewomen—and version after new version of himself.

Ordinary Thunderstorms, William Boyd's electric follow-up to his award-winning Restless, is a profound and gripping novel about the fragility of social identity, the corruption at the heart of big business, and the secrets that lie hidden in the filthy underbelly of every city.

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Quotes & Awards

  • “Boyd has constructed a narrative machine of hilarious, near-impossible intricacy for the purpose of demonstrating that identity is fragile and that instinct, for better or worse, is not...He is a debonair, versatile, casually philosophical literary entertainer—clever and thoughtful.”

    New York Times Book Review

  • “Impressive...Rich and engaging...Boyd creates the rich spectrum of London with arresting cinematic detail...Boyd gives a harrowing sense of how close and yet how distant the nether life of a large city is.”

    Washington Post

  • “Charles Dickens lurks in the shadows of...Ordinary Thunderstorms, which...has a Dickensian cast of characters—predators and prey, tycoons and paupers, charlatans and stooges—orbiting one another in the mean streets of London.”

    Wall Street Journal

  • “William Boyd delivers a multiplot thriller full of twists and turns in Ordinary Thunderstorms.”

    Harper’s Bazaar

  • “A thrilling story.”

    Daily Beast

  • Ordinary Thunderstorms is anything but ordinary—an ambitious, engaging thriller that also raises questions about identity, religion, and social responsibility.” 

    Amazon.com editorial review

  • “Not just for thriller fans, this engaging blend of trickery, danger, and human eccentricity will appeal to readers who enjoy not only John Grisham but also John Irving.”

    Library Journal

  • “Fine entertainment, and even finer as a thoughtful exploration of the intersections of different people in a modern metropolis.” 

    Kirkus Reviews

  • Selected for the February 2010 Indie Next List
  • An Amazon Best Book of the Month, February 2010

Listener Opinions

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 Nora Flaherty | 2/20/2014

    " Maybe not Boyd's best book, but still a hard-to-put-down thriller. "

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

    " Very interesting. Took a while to get into it. Cool, ambiguous ending. "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 Robyn Mundy | 2/13/2014

    " An unputdownable literary thriller. Boyd has a masterful ability to create original characters. Narrated from six points of view, the story touches the ground running, and is driven by a fugitive's will to survive and his urge for moral reckoning. I can already visualise the movie. I assume the provocative title was chosen after the writing was complete because Boyd took almost no creative advantage from it beyond the epigraph. "

  • 3 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 5 Kathryn | 1/22/2014

    " This excellent thriller touches on the pharmaceutical industry, homelessness, and hired assassins. I would give it four stars but the plot bogged down occasionally. "

  • 1 out of 51 out of 51 out of 51 out of 51 out of 5 Jean Godwin Carroll | 1/20/2014

    " Was only able to get halfway through. Boring. "

  • 2 out of 52 out of 52 out of 52 out of 52 out of 5 Nishant | 1/18/2014

    " weak, tired, slightly unbelievable plot, underdeveloped characters... "

  • 3 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 5 Lynn Kearney | 1/16/2014

    " This is a big disappointment after "Restless". This an unhappy blend of thriller (good, and could have been great), and satire (a bit obvious and tedious) "

  • 5 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 5 Michele | 1/9/2014

    " William Boyd is an excellent story teller. Buy it and read it. "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 Jhfrancis01 | 12/25/2013

    " I really enjoy Boyd's writing and found this story to be engaging. It had an "other-worldly" quality that kept me intrigued and wondering how all the subtexts would weave together. "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 Doug Duea | 11/16/2013

    " I really enjoyed this book. It moved very well and I found the plot devices effective. I particularly enjoyed the main character's resourcefulness to move past his problems. "

  • 3 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 5 Ben | 7/11/2013

    " Pretty ordinary conspiracy thriller. However the descriptions of a character from a white collar background adapting to living a life off-the-grid is pretty interesting and where I started to really enjoy the book. "

  • 5 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 5 Jim | 4/20/2013

    " I found William Boyd to be a excellent story teller with a vivid imagination. Many twists and turns kept me turning pages. "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 Sheryll | 1/5/2013

    " I gave this book a generous 4* because I enjoyed reading most of it. There seems to be a tendency to cut books off at 350 - 400 pages and follow with a sequel in order to make more money. This book feels unfinished to me. "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 Andy Weston | 11/12/2012

    " More page turning action than before with a Boyd book, but he is still a master - tremendous scene setter - great characters, great location, and a top story. "

  • 3 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 5 Joelle | 7/15/2012

    " This was an intriguing mystery that ended without total resolution but not so much that it was a cliffhanger, thank goodness! "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 Jill | 5/17/2012

    " William Boyd's latest novel covers topics such as climate change, homelessness in London and pharmaceutical companies. Enjoyed this thriller, up to Boyd's usual high standards, writing good, story good, characters good. "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 Hilary Norman | 4/16/2012

    " I read it a while back - I've been slow to catch up with Good Reads, sorry. Too long ago now to give a true review - and I guess it hasn't stayed with sufficiently. Still, I know I thought it a good 'yarn', preposterous at the outset, but good fun and exciting nonetheless. "

  • 5 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 5 Andrea Chambers | 1/28/2012

    " What an extraordinary story covering the panic of being alone in London. With no identity and no money, being pursued for murder, and yet finding solace, strength and coverage from an unlikely bunch of new allies. "

  • 2 out of 52 out of 52 out of 52 out of 52 out of 5 Biogeek | 12/5/2011

    " Found it hard to believe this was the same author who wrote Brazzaville Beach and A Good Man in Africa. Disappointing. "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 Sharon | 8/20/2011

    " A really good story. I've become a fan of William Boyd. "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 Sue | 5/29/2011

    " Coincidences that change our lives. the characters are neither good nor evil but rather just trying to survive. That doesn't apply to the most powerful though--those guys are pure greed. "

  • 2 out of 52 out of 52 out of 52 out of 52 out of 5 Sue | 5/29/2011

    " Read due to a recommendation of a friend who couldn't put it down. It didn't grab me like that. Makes you wonder what you would do in a similar circumstance. "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 Miranda | 5/9/2011

    " Brilliant thriller, with one flaw - It's so obvious that someone like Adam Kindred would and should have gone straight to the police as soon as he got out of Dr Wang's flat. Once you get over this, it's utterly gripping. "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 Doug | 4/26/2011

    " I really enjoyed this book. It moved very well and I found the plot devices effective. I particularly enjoyed the main character's resourcefulness to move past his problems.
    "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 Robert | 4/22/2011

    " ...an awkward start to the book, but after 20 pages its captured me fairly well... "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 Muriel | 4/9/2011

    " Not my usual genre, but I loved it. Good book. "

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About the Author
Author William Boyd

William Boyd, Scottish novelist and screenwriter, was born in Accra, Ghana, and attended university in Nice, Glasgow, and Oxford. He is the author of ten novels and a number of screenplays and has been the recipient of numerous awards, including the Whitbread Award for Best First Novel, the John Llewellyn Rhys Prize, the James Tait Black Memorial Prize, and the Los Angeles Times Book Prize for Fiction. He lives with his wife in London.

About the Narrator

Gideon Emery was raised in England and South Africa, where he won the National Vita Award for Comedy and a Gold Craft Award for Voice-over. Now based in Los Angeles, he has appeared on such television series as 24, Burn Notice, Eleventh Hour, CSI:NY, and Moonlight. His film credits include Primeval, Train, and Takers. He is also an in-demand voice for video games.