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Extended Audio Sample The Bell Ringers: A Novel Audiobook, by Henry Porter Click for printable size audiobook cover
3 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 5 3.00 (201 ratings) (rate this audio book) Author: Henry Porter Narrator: John Lee Publisher: Tantor Format: Unabridged Audiobook Delivery: Instant Download Audio Length: Release Date: March 2010 ISBN: 9781400186587
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In The Bell Ringers, England in the near future appears largely unchanged. There are concerns over the threat of terrorism, the press is feisty, and the prime minister is soon to call a general election. But quietly—and largely unknown to the public or even most in government—things have become undeniably Orwellian: cameras with license plate recognition software record every car’s movements, and a sophisticated, top-secret data-mining system known as Deep Truth combs through personal records, identifying violators of minor laws as well as those disposed to “anti-government” beliefs. In the interest of security, the divide between private and public has crumbled. Freedom has given way to control.

David Eyam was once the prime minister’s head of intelligence. He was one of those who knew about Deep Truth, but he suffered a fall from grace and then died in a terrorist bombing. Now his former lover, Kate Lockhart, has been named as the benefactor of his estate. But Eyam has left her more than just his wealth; Kate is also the heir to his dangerous secrets and unfinished business.

The full power of the out-of-control, security-obsessed state comes down on Kate, but with the help of the secret resistance known as the Bell Ringers, hope for freedom is not lost.

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Quotes & Awards

  • “Outstanding near-future thriller…Shaken US readers will wonder how much of the fiction might soon become fact on this side of the Atlantic.”

    Publishers Weekly (starred review)

Listener Opinions

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 Danny Feser | 2/8/2014

    " Wow, this book is exciting AND smart! Porter must have enjoyed researching this modern tale of espionage that succeds in informing readers of the inner workings of Great Britain's Parliament, and threats to public privacy. Well done!! "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 Pam | 1/28/2014

    " This was a quick page turner--perfect to read on an airplane trip or a long lazy summer day. It was excellent entertainment and dealt with very current, relevant issues. "

  • 5 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 5 Annie | 1/25/2014

    " Excellent and chilling. Will read more of Mr Porter. "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 Larry Rogers | 1/11/2014

    " Porter's "The Bell Ringers" first appeared in Great Britain as "The Dying Light." His earlier "Brandenburg Gate" ended with the people of East Berlin streaming into the light (both literal and figurative) of West Berlin with the opening of the wall. This novel examines a turn toward darkness by a British government intent on strengthening the control of the state at the expense of traditional civil liberties. The mechanism used by that government is a combination of wholesale data mining and behavioral prediction based on a growing intrusive knowledge of all aspects of people's lives. The 'bell ringers" of the American edition's title are a nonviolent resistance group dedicated to preventing the governmental actions. The book is very well written, its characters are compelling (even ones caught in the middle), its pace is suspenseful, and its stakes are enormous. (Read it along with Jonathan Raban's "Surveillance' for a double literary jolt of true danger.) "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 Coki | 1/10/2014

    " Excellent British political thriller - fast paced but subtle, too-close-for-comfort techno trouble, and an integral part played by libraries and books. characters were a little overly intellectual to be well loved but it definitely made me think about the importance of civil liberties "

  • 5 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 5 Jim | 1/8/2014

    " A must read! A cautionary tale that is more reality as minutes tick away. "

  • 3 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 5 Cameron | 12/19/2013

    " Enjoyable read while I'm stuck at home with a touch of flu. Interesting update on what happens in 21st century England -- 60 years after Orwell's 1984 was published. "

  • 1 out of 51 out of 51 out of 51 out of 51 out of 5 Phil | 12/15/2013

    " If you're a thriller then thrill me, but don't take over 200 pages to do it. I may come back to this book in the future but at the moment with a pile of unread books to read, it will remain unfinished due to the fact that it is inexorably slow. "

  • 3 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 5 Ed | 11/9/2013

    " Above average thriller. Plausible nightmare scenario for current government intrusion into privacy trends. "

  • 5 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 5 Molly | 10/19/2013

    " Loved this! Thank you Jim!!! "

  • 5 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 5 Eric | 10/5/2013

    " One of the best books I read this year. "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 Lynne | 9/21/2013

    " A very interesting analysis of the surveillance culture developing in Britain. A very good story with lots of surprises. "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 Ann | 8/14/2013

    " This was a lot of fun to read and a little scary, too. It is a very well written political thriller and very realistic. "

  • 3 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 5 Niall Slynn | 7/14/2013

    " A solid thriller with a nice engaging plot that leaves us rooting for the slim resourced activists striving to counter a near-future Orwellian-like English state. The protaganist Kate Lockhart is appealing and one could easily see this growing into a franchise if Porter was a more cynical author. "

  • 3 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 5 Sarah | 6/26/2013

    " Enjoyable political suspense thriller fluff. The characters were all very much serving the plot (and little else), and the number of coincidences were rather incredible, but overall a decent work, and bringing up good questions about freedom vs. security, and government control. "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 Joy | 6/5/2013

    " Fun, engrossing read. Thought provoking too. "

  • 2 out of 52 out of 52 out of 52 out of 52 out of 5 Janel Tortorice | 5/27/2013

    " Scary and intriguing background - I wonder how much of our lives are observed and the data collected. But I didn't enjoy the writing style or the characters in the book. "

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

    " I found this book compelling and chilling, especially when one realizes that all the laws used to suppress civil rights in Britain are actually on the books already. As a librarian, I appreciated the many positive comments and impressions of librarians and libraries. "

  • 5 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 5 Patsy | 8/17/2012

    " Interesting and exciting to read. "

  • 5 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 5 Sloan | 8/6/2012

    " An excellent thriller, one of the best I have read in a long time. Nice pacing to the story that has an intriguing twist at the end. "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 Susan | 7/25/2012

    " The bell ringers is a suspense novel. The question of how we can lose our privacy and freedom in a world of cameras and computers recording our every move. Takes place in England. The prime minister pushes fear to maintain complete control of the country. Very good read. "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 April | 5/3/2012

    " A good book for a long plane ride. Interesting characters, and a ripping plot that grabs you and keeps your attention throughout. If you aren't already worried about the expanded powers of surveillance many governments have establihsed in the past few years, you will be after reading this. "

  • 5 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 5 Stephen | 12/3/2011

    " One of the top five books I have read this past year. What might happen if terrorism wins in the west. "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 Gary Levey | 10/5/2011

    " A very well written political espionage thriller of a book. "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 Linda | 6/3/2011

    " Actually quite a good thriller about the encroaching 'police state' in Britain, based on legislation as it stands and what could happen should it be implemented. All in the name of protecting the citizens from terrorism, of course. Really interesting ideas tossed around. "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 Michelle | 5/5/2011

    " Like Little Brother, but for grown-ups, and set in England. Disturbing how much surveillance is already put in place in Britain, and how nobody seems to object (according to author's afterword)! "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 Ann | 2/21/2011

    " This was a lot of fun to read and a little scary, too. It is a very well written political thriller and very realistic. "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 Gary | 1/13/2011

    " A very well written political espionage thriller of a book. "

  • 3 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 5 Ed | 11/27/2010

    " Above average thriller. Plausible nightmare scenario for current government intrusion into privacy trends. "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 April | 11/20/2010

    " A good book for a long plane ride. Interesting characters, and a ripping plot that grabs you and keeps your attention throughout. If you aren't already worried about the expanded powers of surveillance many governments have establihsed in the past few years, you will be after reading this. "

  • 5 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 5 Eric | 9/7/2010

    " One of the best books I read this year.
    "

  • 5 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 5 Nicole | 6/24/2010

    " A James Bond/John Le Carre-like thriller focusing on the near future and the laws we hurridly passed that allow, encourage, our government to spy on us. The book is set in the UK and speeds along a complicated and plausible tale. Much enjoyed! "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 Penelope | 6/16/2010

    " I found this book compelling and chilling, especially when one realizes that all the laws used to suppress civil rights in Britain are actually on the books already. As a librarian, I appreciated the many positive comments and impressions of librarians and libraries. "

  • 3 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 5 Judith | 5/29/2010

    " Technology makes it possible to make more mistakes faster, and for evil ignored to grow to a greater level quicker. "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 Coki | 5/7/2010

    " Excellent British political thriller - fast paced but subtle, too-close-for-comfort techno trouble, and an integral part played by libraries and books. characters were a little overly intellectual to be well loved but it definitely made me think about the importance of civil liberties "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 Susan | 5/3/2010

    " The bell ringers is a suspense novel. The question of how we can lose our privacy and freedom in a world of cameras and computers recording our every move. Takes place in England. The prime minister pushes fear to maintain complete control of the country. Very good read. "

  • 5 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 5 Sloan | 4/6/2010

    " An excellent thriller, one of the best I have read in a long time. Nice pacing to the story that has an intriguing twist at the end. "

  • 5 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 5 Jim | 3/27/2010

    " A must read! A cautionary tale that is more reality as minutes tick away. "

  • 3 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 5 Cameron | 3/14/2010

    " Enjoyable read while I'm stuck at home with a touch of flu. Interesting update on what happens in 21st century England -- 60 years after Orwell's 1984 was published. "

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About the Author
Author Henry Porter

Henry Porter is a novelist and political columnist for the Observer newspaper in London. Since 2005 he has been chronicling the attack on liberty and rights in Britain and has written some ninety columns on the subject. Porter has written six novels, including A Spy’s Life and Empire State. He is also the author of the children’s book The Master of the Fallen Chairs. In 2005 Porter won the Ian Fleming Steel Dagger award for best thriller with Brandenburg, a story set against the backdrop of the fall of the Berlin Wall. He is also the UK editor of the American magazine Vanity Fair. He lives in London.

About the Narrator

John Lee has read more than 100 audiobooks. His work has garnered multiple Earphones Awards and won AudioFile‘s Best Voice in Fiction & Classics in both 2008 and 2009. He also narrates video games, does voice-over work, and writes plays. He is an accomplished stage actor and has written and co-produced the feature films Breathing Hard and Forfeit. He played Alydon in the 1963–64 Doctor Who serial The Daleks.