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Extended Audio Sample The Absolutist Audiobook, 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 Maloney Publisher: Tantor Format: Unabridged Audiobook Delivery: Instant Download Audio Length: Release Date: August 2012 ISBN: 9781452679365
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It is 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 they've finished. Download and start listening now!


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 thought-provoking and surprising page-turner that for some readers may recall Ian McEwan's Atonement, another novel with themes of war and recrimination. Library Journal Starred Review
  • “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 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 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 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 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 "

  • 2 out of 52 out of 52 out of 52 out of 52 out of 5 Barbara | 1/13/2014

    " Not very good. Lots of portentous, overt foreshadowing. Not subtle or skillful. Not even surprising. "

  • 5 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 5 Janet | 1/1/2014

    " Heart breakingly sad and emotional. An excellent story whose emotional conflict seemed to be well ahead of its time. "

  • 5 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 5 Godowd | 12/29/2013

    " Possibly his best book yet. He is a master story teller - tells a story so beautifully and simply. Engages you from the start and you just cannot put down - nice finish to the book as well. "

  • 3 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 5 Kay | 12/14/2013

    " Easy read. Kept your interest. Well written. "

  • 5 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 5 Tienwood | 12/12/2013

    " What a fantastic great novel!! A great way to write about such a delicate matter for sure in that time and in that setting. "

  • 5 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 5 Daniel Kukwa | 11/21/2013

    " This novel broke my heart and my soul. Terribly & exquisitely. A thousand pieces, scattered in the wake of reading this book. A book written with the most terrible beauty I've ever encountered. "

  • 5 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 5 Laura Lee | 10/3/2013

    " This is the story of a young man who tries to come to grips with something terrible he did. Also, he is mending from a broken heart. He's been disappointed in love, family and mankind. I loved this book. It made me think. It made me feel. Excellent. "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 Jodi | 10/1/2013

    " Loved the book! The writing was so beautiful, and I could feel the hurt and angst that Tristan experienced throughout his life. Highly recommend!! "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 Mmfniteowl | 9/7/2013

    " Now I want to read other books by this author. I saw The Boy in the Striped Pajamas and want to read it. Boyne's writing is a pleasure to read. Lots of feeling. "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 Art | 8/15/2013

    " With the world going all transparent, open and honest and accepting, who will write incredibly great books like this one? It's a mind game with historical and social mines (the ones that blow up when you step on them) issues sprinkled throughout. I highly recommend. "

  • 5 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 5 Gavin Greenwood | 8/5/2013

    " A great rendition of a man's failed struggle to muster the courage to stand for what he is. John Boyne has the ability to capture in words this struggle on every level of its emotional existence. "

  • 5 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 5 Lorraine Cosgrave | 5/5/2013

    " Excellently written,far better than "The boy in the Striped Pyjamas" which to me is aimed at youg people.Really brings home the horror and hopelessness of world war 1.May not be everyones cup of tea but as I love historical fiction it ticked all boxes for me!! "

  • 5 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 5 Sferg | 5/4/2013

    " I got an advanced copy of this & wasn't expecting much but I was pleasantly surprised! Sad & tender yet poignant, highly recommend "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 Kathleen | 2/20/2013

    " 3 or 4 stars, but I don't know yet. "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 Joanne Donahue | 1/7/2013

    " An excellent book, quite different from anything that I have read recently. Very thought provoking, making one consider the different meaningso of courage. I highly recommend the book. "

  • 5 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 5 Doug | 11/22/2012

    " Thoroughly enjoyed this book. Tragedy. Reminded me of Birdsong. "

  • 5 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 5 Wandac | 11/11/2012

    " story of WWI and afterwards. war parts are rough as was that war. tristan recounts his friendship with will. "

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About the Author
Author John Boyne

John Boyne is the author of novels for adults and children. His New York Times bestseller, The Boy in the Striped Pajamas, won two Irish Book Awards, was short-listed for the British Book Award, and was made into an award-winning feature film. His novels are published in more than forty languages.

About the Narrator

Michael Maloney is an actor who has appeared in numerous television productions, including as Romeo in Romeo and Juliet and Prince Hal in Henry IV, parts 1 and 2, for which he won Best Actor/Best Supporting Actor awards. His theater credits include Sleuth, Peer Gynt, and All My Sons, and his film credits include The Young Victoria and Notes on a Scandal. He has narrated numerous audiobooks, earning seven AudioFile Earphones Awards.