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Extended Audio Sample Ordinary Thunderstorms: A Novel, by William Boyd Click for printable size audiobook cover
3 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 5 3.00 (2,380 ratings) (rate this audio book) Author: William Boyd Narrator: Gideon Emery Publisher: HarperCollins Format: Unabridged Audiobook Delivery: Instant Download Audio Length: Release Date:
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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—his home, family, friends, job, reputation, passport, credit cards, and cell phone—never to get them back.

The police are searching for him, there is a reward for his capture, and 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 followup 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 by 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 by 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 by 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 by 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. "

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