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Extended Audio Sample The Bellwether Revivals Audiobook, by Benjamin Wood Click for printable size audiobook cover
3 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 5 3.00 (710 ratings) (rate this audio book) Author: Benjamin Wood Narrator: Ralph Lister Publisher: Brilliance Audio Format: Unabridged Audiobook Delivery: Instant Download Audio Length: Release Date: June 2012 ISBN: 9781469215891
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Bright, bookish Oscar Lowe has escaped the squalid urban neighborhood where he was raised and made a new life for himself amid the colleges and spires of Cambridge. He has grown to love the quiet routine of his life as a care assistant at a local nursing home, where he has forged a close friendship with its most ill-tempered resident, Dr. Paulsen.

All that changes one fateful day when Oscar, while wandering the bucolic grounds of Cambridge, is lured into the chapel at Kings College by the otherwordly sound of an organ. It is here that he meets and falls in love with Iris Bellwether, a beautiful and enigmatic medical student. Drawn into her world of scholarship and privilege, Oscar soon becomes embroiled in the strange machinations of Iris’s older brother, Eden.

A charismatic but troubled musical prodigy, Eden convinces his sister and their close-knit circle of friends to participate in a series of disturbing experiments. Eden believes that music — with his expert genius to guide it — can cure people. As the line between genius and madness begins to blur, however, Oscar fears that it is danger and not healing that awaits them all — but it might be too late. . . .

A masterful work of psychological suspense and emotional resonance from a brilliant young talent, The Bellwether Revivals will hold readers spellbound until its breathtaking conclusion.

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Listener Opinions

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 Annet | 2/3/2014

    " Wonderful book to read. Will revert with more.... "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 Sharon Pelletier | 1/29/2014

    " LOVED this book! Brideshead Revisited meets The Secret History with a twist of The Magicians. Dark and suspenseful, with bits of beauty in the writing. A favorite for the year so far. "

  • 3 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 5 Daniel | 1/17/2014

    " Think I get what Benjamin Wood is up to here, taking an old-fashioned, almost Victorian plot and placing it in a realistic 21st century university setting (Cambridge, specifically), in hopes that the latter will ground the former. But I don't think Wood quite pulls it off--long stretches of the book are just flat, neither creepy nor particularly insightful on setting or character. And in a fairly realistic setting, contrivances (like Iris' willingness to go to extreme, convoluted, totally secret lengths to 'help' her brother Eden; or narrator Oscar's willingness to go along with this whole thing) don't really make a lot of sense, whereas they would pass without notice if Eden and Iris lived in a decrepit manor house in the 19th century rather than modern day Britain. Partially saved by a strong ending, where Wood adopts a straightforward thriller style and pulls it off well--shame he hadn't been able to manage that all along. "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 Diane S. | 1/6/2014

    " "There is a thin line between madness and genius". I don't remember you said this but it could well be the theme for this first novel by Benjamin Wood. The prologue, introduces the reader to the ending, this could be risky but for me it served as a catalyst to want to keep reading just to find out how and why. It also sets the tone of apprehension for the rest of the novel. Oscar, lives in a bedsit and works as a care aide in a senior center, and when he meets Iris Bellwether he knows he wants to have her in his life. Unfortunately, her brother and a few friends come along as part of the package, but it is the brother that the story focuses on. A musical genius who is convinced that he can heal with music and the power that music gives him. I have never read anything quite like this novel, it is literary fiction and also psychological suspense, and it is exceedingly well done. The flow of the story is flawless, the Bellwether family for the most part in denial about the madness of their son, leaving only Oscar to question the sanity of Eden. Things quickly spiral out of control and those that are left attempt to pick up the pieces of their lives and continue on. Alternately strange and brilliant, this is definitely one of the most original pieces of fiction I have read this year. ARC by NetGalley. "

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

    " 2.5-3 stars. I'm just glad I finally finished it. Liberal skipping required to get to the end though...sigh. "

  • 5 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 5 sharon | 10/30/2013

    " Really bowled over by the strength of this book, especially since it is a debut novel. The waiting is beautiful, lovely imagery, characters well-drawn, and all the corridors of the plot are thoroughly explored. Despite the complexity involved, the book is a true page-turner. I loved it. "

  • 2 out of 52 out of 52 out of 52 out of 52 out of 5 Kate Bragg | 10/28/2013

    " This book was just trying too hard. I forced myself to finish it, and felt the same way at the end that I did at the beginning, unconnected with the characters and unmoved by their narrative. "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 Jill Lawton | 10/26/2013

    " Really enjoyed this - great plot, compelling idea - just wished he'd made his principal characters a bit more sympathetic - it was hard to love anyone in the book "

  • 3 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 5 Jennifer | 7/22/2013

    " Well written, but really very sad on multiple levels. "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 Julie Haydu | 4/21/2013

    " Story had a similar ring to The Secret History but the characters did not come alive in the same way. Thumbs up for originality in terms of the core plot. "

  • 3 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 5 Wyatt | 3/5/2013

    " uuuuuuhhhhh........After chapter one, this just became painful. I love to read, I don't love to read when the book you have feels like a chore every time you pick it up. The author is a good enough writer but he's trying to be too witty for his own good and makes his characters sound like idiots. "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 Jenn | 2/15/2013

    " Loved this! Would have liked a different ending a bit more, but a fabulous book! It didn't end up being as The Secret History-esque as it seemed at the start, but that's ok :) "

  • 1 out of 51 out of 51 out of 51 out of 51 out of 5 Cal Jeannette | 2/7/2013

    " Did not appreciate this book at all. Couldn't care less about any of the characters. Seriously, as I was reading, I really didn't care what happened to any one of them. Skimmed the last 1/3 of the book b/c I just wanted to be done. There was no point to all the drama. "

  • 3 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 5 Suzi | 2/1/2013

    " While Benjamin Wood kept the plot moving, the culmination was somehow a letdown. Dramatic, yes, but the horror promised by the set-up early on never felt fully realized. Characters did not feel sufficiently developed, which is the main contributor to the resolution feeling anticlimactic. "

  • 2 out of 52 out of 52 out of 52 out of 52 out of 5 Mara | 7/19/2012

    " It was readable. Rich Cambridge elite students. Common working young man comes into their circle. Leader of group (Eden) mentally unstable, believes he has curative powers. Downfall of a family. "

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About the Author

Benjamin Wood is the author of The Bellwether Revivals. A graduate of the MFA creative writing program at the University of British Columbia, Canada, he is now a lecturer in creative writing at Birkbeck, University of London.

About the Narrator

Ralph Lister is an actor, voice actor, and AudioFile Earphones Award–winning narrator. He spent fifteen years in London theater before moving to the United States to focus on film and television. He has held numerous roles in Shakespeare and modern dramas, as well as starring roles in independent films. His voice and character work can be heard in Disney’s Pirates of the Caribbean: The Curse of the Black Pearland 13 Going On 30. He lives in Los Angeles.