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Extended Audio Sample The Absolutist, by John Boyne Click for printable size audiobook cover
4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 4.00 (2,002 ratings) (rate this audio book) Author: John Boyne Narrator: Michael Malone Publisher: Tantor Format: Unabridged Audiobook Delivery: Instant Download Audio Length: Release Date:
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September, 1919. Twenty-one-year-old Tristan Sadler takes a train from London to Norwich to deliver a package of letters to the sister of Will Bancroft, the man he fought alongside during the Great War.

But the letters are not the real reason for Tristan’s visit. He can no longer keep a secret and has finally found the courage to unburden himself of it. As Tristan recounts the horrific details of what to him became a senseless war, he also speaks of his friendship with Will, from their first meeting on the training grounds at Aldershot to their farewell in the trenches of northern France. The intensity of their bond brought Tristan happiness and self-discovery as well as confusion and unbearable pain.

The Absolutist is a masterful tale of passion, jealousy, heroism, and betrayal set in one of the most gruesome trenches of France during World War I. This novel will keep listeners on the edge of their seats until its most extraordinary and unexpected conclusion, and it will stay with them long after it is finished.

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Quotes & Awards

  • “A novel of immeasurable sadness, in a league with Graham Greene’s The End of the Affair. John Boyne is very, very good at portraying the destructive power of a painfully kept secret.”

    John Irving, #1 New York Times bestselling author of Cider House Rules

  • “A wonderful, sad, tender book that is going to have an enormous impact on everyone who reads it.”

    Colm Toibin, New York Times bestselling author of Nora Webster

  • “Narrator Michael Maloney provides a flawless rendition of the story. His impeccable timing, coupled with a deep, soulful English accent, makes this novel a thrilling audio experience. Maloney slowly introduces the atmospheric first few pages using authentic character voices to support the text and employs a varied pace to draw us into the mysterious plot. It all adds up to a rare combination in which text and voice create an unforgettable book. Winner of the AudioFile Earphones Award. Finalist for the 2013 Audie Award.”


  • “What begins as a slow-building World War I period piece…grows deeper, more curious, and uneasy as it progresses—and midway through this sad and beautiful story, you realize you’re in the hands of a quiet master. Piling questions atop half-truths, John Boyne…has crafted a taut and tragic tale of love and war, with a kick-in-the-gut ending.”

    Amazon.com, editorial review

  • "(In) Boyne’s fiction, there’s a sense that people are fundamentally the sum of their traumas…Boyne’s narrative grip is strong.”

    Literary Review (London)

  • “An outstanding read, very highly recommended.”

    Historical Novel Society

  • “Political, personal, powerful…a fiercely interrogative novel that asks not just what it means to be a man but also what it means to be a human being in the extreme circumstances of war.”

    Irish Times

  • The Absolutist is a riveting look into what drives the relationships we have in spite of the world around us.”

    Seattle Gay News

  • “In this relentlessly tragic yet beautifully crafted novel, Boyne documents the lives of two inseparable men navigating the trenches of WWI and the ramifications of a taboo involvement.”

    Publishers Weekly

  • An Amazon Best Book of the Month for July 2012
  • Winner of an AudioFile Earphones Award
  • Finalist for the 2013 Audie Award

Listener Opinions

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 by Rosemary | 2/4/2014

    " Brilliant story. Hated having to put it down. Highly recommend this book even if you think war stories are not your thing as they are usually not mine. I was totally absorbed in every page. "

  • 5 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 5 by Lane | 2/1/2014

    " Bestselling author of Boy in the Striped Pajamas, John Boyne, returns to the theme of examining a period in history throu...gh the eyes of two boys. Conscripted into the army at eighteen years of age, Will Bancroft is the son of a vicar, raised in the genteel English countryside. Seventeen year old Londoner Tristan Sadler, having been kicked out of home early in life by his abusive family, lied about his age and illegally enlisted in the army. The two meet in bootcamp at Aldershot and quickly form an unlikely and unusually strong bond. As the Great War rages on, our young heroes find themselves in the nasty trenches of France, fighting the Germans, and eventually facing a most horrific choice. THE ABSOLUTIST roams from tender intimacy and coming of age pain - to one heart stopping moment that you will read over and over as your body is moved to its core with a chill following that is quite impossible to shake. Not to be outdone by the preceding pages, Boyne masterfully draws the reader to an entirely unexpected ending. I have worked in the book industry over 24 years - you will not regret reading this novel, nor will you ever forget it! "

  • 5 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 5 by Rachel | 1/31/2014

    " Terrifically sad. The type of story that will haunt you long after you finish it. "

  • 5 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 5 by lynn | 1/30/2014

    " this was a fasinating book..revolved around the experience tristan was involved in during world war 1 in england and entertwined with his life growing up..a must read "

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