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Extended Audio Sample The Last Wild Audiobook, by Piers Torday Click for printable size audiobook cover
0 out of 50 out of 50 out of 50 out of 50 out of 5 0.00 (0 ratings) (rate this audio book) Author: Piers Torday Narrator: Oliver Hembrough Publisher: Penguin Random House Format: Unabridged Audiobook Delivery: Instant Download Audio Length: Release Date: March 2014 ISBN: 9780698146754
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In a world where animals no longer exist, twelve-year-old Kester Jaynes sometimes feels like he hardly exists either. Locked away in a home for troubled children, he’s told there’s something wrong with him. So when he meets a flock of talking pigeons and a bossy cockroach, Kester thinks he’s finally gone crazy. But the animals have something to say—and they need him. 

The pigeons fly Kester to a wild place where the last creatures in the land have survived. A wise stag needs Kester’s help, and together they must embark on a great journey, joined along the way by an overenthusiastic wolf cub, a military-trained cockroach, a mouse with a ritual for everything, and a stubborn girl named Polly. The animals saved Kester Jaynes. But can Kester save the animals?

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Quotes & Awards

  • “A darkly comic and hugely inventive adventure…it could be the next big thing.”

    Eoin Colfer, New York Times bestselling author of the Artemis Fowl series

  • “When ninety-nine pigeons smash through the windows of Kester’s prison and carry him north to the last of the animals…it’s a moment as thrilling as when James flies off in the Giant Peach. Highly recommended.”

    Times (London)

  • “The sequel had better come soon.”

    Observer (London)

  • “Inventive, with laughs, tears, and cliffhangers.”

    Sunday Times (London)

  • “A whimsical yet thoughtful tale that brings to mind the smarts and silliness of Roald Dahl and Norton Juster.”

    New York Post

  • “In this offbeat semi-apocalyptic fantasy…a sort of dystopian Winnie-the-Pooh, Torday’s story is alternately somber, thrilling, and silly, filled with eccentric human and animal characters with distinctive voices. That includes Kester—although his fellow humans see him as silent, his courage, actions, and growth speak volumes.”

    Publishers Weekly (starred review)

  • “This gentle, dystopian adventure is a good introduction for students who may not have encountered environmental morality tale tropes, such as talking animals, an epic quest, and an evil corporation out to destroy the world. A solid choice for students who are too young for Suzanne Collins’ The Hunger Games.”

    School Library Journal

  • “Torday weaves an intense narrative of survival and adventure akin to a sci-fi Brian Jacques tale and with great appeal to animal lovers. Underlying Kester’s wilderness exploits, however, is a story of corruption and greed, as the powerful Selwyn Stone stages a calculated takeover of society through manufactured truths and the henchmen he employs to enforce them. The plot becomes slightly repetitive at times, but overall this is an enchanted adventure with a message of empowerment and hope that ought to sweep readers along to the planned second volume.”


  • “This fantasy journey with a post-apocalyptic setting combines a great fondness for animals with an appreciation of the freakish…Although Kester’s a classic special-kid-who-doesn’t-know-it, the reserved narrative tone and tender yet peculiar view of animals give this piece its own offbeat flavor.”

    Kirkus Reviews

  • “The plot of this eco-thriller moves swiftly enough to engage ambivalent readers, and Kester is a winsome protagonist…This book should have fairly broad appeal, and will have at least one sequel. Recommend this book to readers who like the Books of Ember series by Jeanne DuPrau, noting that this book is less complex in both plot and world building.”


  • “Narrator Oliver Hembrough gives voice to the thoughts of Kester, a mute teen who is incarcerated…Hembrough’s dynamic narration adds suspense, even when the story occasionally becomes predictable. His performance features two standout characters, a befuddled white pigeon who squawks jumbled commentary and a cockroach who gruffly barks militaristic orders as he rides safely in Kester’s pocket. Hembrough’s English accent suits this dystopian adventure, which is peppered with British words that are uncommon in the American lexicon.”


  • A Publishers Weekly Pick of the Week for March 2014
  • An Indie Next List Selection
  • An Amazon Best Book of the Month
  • Finalist for the Waterstone’s Children’s Book Prize
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About the Author

Piers Torday was born in Northumberland, which is possibly the one part of England where more animals live than people. After working as a producer and writer in theater, live comedy, and television, he now lives in London—where there are more animals that you might think. 

About the Narrator

Oliver Hembrough is an actor known for his performances in the films The Book of Unwritten Tales, The Joy of 8mls, and Screen Two. Also an accomplished audiobook narrator, his readings include books by Abigail Tarttelin, Sarah Burton, Winston Graham, and Piers Torday.