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Download The Road to Samarcand: An Adventure Audiobook

Extended Audio Sample The Road to Samarcand: An Adventure Audiobook, by Patrick O’Brian
3 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 5 3.00 (197 ratings) (rate this audio book) Author: Patrick O’Brian Narrator: Simon Vance Publisher: Blackstone Audio Format: Unabridged Audiobook Delivery: Instant Download Audio Length: Release Date: June 2008 ISBN: 9781455188680
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This stand-alone adventure from the mighty Patrick O’Brian begins just where his devoted fans would want it to: with a sloop in the South China Sea barely surviving a killer typhoon. But the time is the 1930s and the protagonist a teenaged American boy whose missionary parents have just died. In the company of his rough, seafaring uncle and his elderly English cousin, an eminent archaeologist, young Derrick sets off in search of ancient treasures in central Asia.

Along the way, they encounter a charismatic Chinese bandit and a host of bad characters, including Russian agents fomenting unrest. The tale ends in an icebound valley with the party caught between hostile Red-Hat monks and the yeti whom the Tibetans call the Great Silent Ones.

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Quotes & Awards

  • “O’Brian’s richly told adventure saga, with its muscular prose, supple dialogue, and engaging characters, packs a nice old-school punch.”

    Publishers Weekly

  • “Simon Vance, who has recorded almost all of O’Brian’s work on audio, is perfect; he catches every vocal social nuance and foreign accent without veering into caricature.” 

    Publishers Weekly (audio review)

Listener Opinions

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 Rael | 2/11/2014

    " An exciting read - very well written and absorbing in a true story telling fashion. "

  • 3 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 5 Mama | 2/4/2014

    " A nice adventure story in the "old school" manner. A tad too "swashbuckling" at times with the language, but an entertaining read anyway. "

  • 5 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 5 Cole Schoolland | 1/26/2014

    " Wonderfully enjoyable read by O'Brian. Strong ties to his Aubrey/Maturin series and common thematic elements abound. However, it is unique to works in that it is what I would call a "Young Adult" novel in its quick pace and simple, action-packed plot. Very fun and refreshing read from O'Brian. "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 Agnieszka | 1/22/2014

    " A fun quick read. Great original story. "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 Ann | 1/11/2014

    " When I was cruising the New Book shelves for vacation reads, I saw this and thought "A new Patrick O'Brian? Cool!" After I checked it out I remembered that O'Brian died in 2000. Hmmm... Sure enough, this book was originally written in 1954 and never published during the author's lifetime. Not promising. Still, I loved his Aubrey/Maturin series and so decided to give this one a shot. At first it was a little off-putting because it is so completely different in style, tone, and voice than the seafaring series. But soon I realized that this is a basic boy's adventure story, not a serious adult novel. Once I accepted that, I enjoyed this book tremendously. It has sea voyages, foreign travel, archeaelogy, fights, hunts, snowstorms, dangers galore, and Yetis! Hoo boy! "

  • 5 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 5 Anne | 12/25/2013

    " loving this old fashion adventure tale. "

  • 5 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 5 Wendy | 12/21/2013

    " want to reread soon... my absolute favorite ending to any book, ever. "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 Alicia | 11/28/2013

    " This is a perfect summer read - fairly short, action-packed scenes, lots of emotional depth, and fascinating characters. This is my first Patrick O'Brian novel, and I plan to pick up a few more. The book was published in England in 1954, but is only now being released in the U.S. "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 Erin | 11/26/2013

    " This is the first book by Patrick O'Brian I have read. So far, so good. Much adventuring and memorable characters. A fun read. "

  • 2 out of 52 out of 52 out of 52 out of 52 out of 5 Betsy | 11/14/2013

    " This book gave me hope as a writer. It is one of O'Brian's earlier attempts and had millions of flaws but still carried me away. It showed me that even the masters had to start somewhere. And O'Brian is a master. "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 Brittany | 11/4/2013

    " After you get used to hearing words like "Gee" and "Swell guy" come out of the mouths of O'Brian characters, this was an excellent book. All the adventure, drama, social commentary, and humor of his Maturin and Aubrey books, but this time set (mostly) on land. "

  • 3 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 5 Aneel | 11/2/2013

    " This turned out to be a bit younger than I'd anticipated. A pretty good boy's adventure story. "

  • 3 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 5 Joe | 10/15/2013

    " This is an early effort by Patrick O'Brian, published about 16 years prior to his first Aubrey/Maturin novel. It is clearly a work by an author just discovering his talents. It is not up to the standards of his later work. I'll recommend it to an O'Brian completist, but to nobody else. "

  • 2 out of 52 out of 52 out of 52 out of 52 out of 5 Jill | 7/21/2013

    " Not Patrick O'Brian's greatest. It takes place on land. "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 Chris | 6/10/2013

    " I am genetically programmed somehow to enjoy Patrick O'Brian's books, especially this one. My favorite of his so far. "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 Margaret | 5/10/2013

    " It was pretty exciting and fast paced although the end was rather sudden and not too well explained. It made me realize how little I know about Asia -- maybe it's time to learn. "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 Annie | 4/28/2013

    " This light-hearted adventure story was great fun to read. "

  • 3 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 5 Valerie | 2/18/2013

    " Not nearly as engaging as his other works. However, I think this would make an excellent novel for middle school and high school readers. Dogs, yetis, Mongol hordes... I was amused to find a 'new' book by a dead author at the bookstore. "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 Stephanie | 12/15/2012

    " Adventure story of an American orphaned boy, his ship's captain uncle and crew and his professor cousin who make their way through China and Tibet in the 1930s. "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 MeiLin Miranda | 9/7/2012

    " What was once called "a ripping yarn." Characters that initially seem cliched show depth, and a callow boy becomes a man. Great fun if you like this sort of thing, and I rather do. "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 Matt | 5/30/2012

    " Fun good book by the writer of the Aubrey Maturin series. It makes me want to pick up some of his other works. Anyway, I really enjoyed it and it was story telling much like you'd get reading about Jack and Stephen. "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 Michael Weiss | 1/18/2012

    " An excellent adventure story. The only reason I gave it 4 stars instead of 5 was that the ending seemed too abrupt to me. Otherwise, a great book. "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 Brackman1066 | 12/26/2010

    " This is the sort of book Kipling would have written if Kipling had been a little more open-minded. Like Kim, only better. In fact, I almost wonder if O'Brian's questioning of imperialism didn't contribute to the fact that, when he wrote in in the 1950s, it wasn't published. "

  • 3 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 5 Louise Armstrong | 9/25/2010

    " Ripping yarn for boys. "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 Annie | 9/11/2010

    " This light-hearted adventure story was great fun to read. "

  • 3 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 5 Aneel | 2/9/2010

    " This turned out to be a bit younger than I'd anticipated. A pretty good boy's adventure story. "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 Michael | 11/29/2009

    " An excellent adventure story. The only reason I gave it 4 stars instead of 5 was that the ending seemed too abrupt to me. Otherwise, a great book. "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 Erin | 10/23/2009

    " This is the first book by Patrick O'Brian I have read. So far, so good. Much adventuring and memorable characters. A fun read. "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 Matt | 8/19/2009

    " Fun good book by the writer of the Aubrey Maturin series. It makes me want to pick up some of his other works. Anyway, I really enjoyed it and it was story telling much like you'd get reading about Jack and Stephen. "

  • 5 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 5 Anne | 7/31/2009

    " loving this old fashion adventure tale. "

  • 3 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 5 Joe | 6/5/2009

    " This is an early effort by Patrick O'Brian, published about 16 years prior to his first Aubrey/Maturin novel. It is clearly a work by an author just discovering his talents. It is not up to the standards of his later work. I'll recommend it to an O'Brian completist, but to nobody else. "

  • 3 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 5 Mama | 2/16/2009

    " A nice adventure story in the "old school" manner. A tad too "swashbuckling" at times with the language, but an entertaining read anyway. "

  • 2 out of 52 out of 52 out of 52 out of 52 out of 5 Jill | 12/7/2008

    " Not Patrick O'Brian's greatest. It takes place on land. "

  • 3 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 5 Valerie | 11/30/2008

    " Not nearly as engaging as his other works. However, I think this would make an excellent novel for middle school and high school readers. Dogs, yetis, Mongol hordes... I was amused to find a 'new' book by a dead author at the bookstore. "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 MeiLin | 11/29/2008

    " What was once called "a ripping yarn." Characters that initially seem cliched show depth, and a callow boy becomes a man. Great fun if you like this sort of thing, and I rather do. "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 Margaret | 11/28/2008

    " It was pretty exciting and fast paced although the end was rather sudden and not too well explained. It made me realize how little I know about Asia -- maybe it's time to learn.
    "

  • 2 out of 52 out of 52 out of 52 out of 52 out of 5 Betsy | 11/25/2008

    " This book gave me hope as a writer. It is one of O'Brian's earlier attempts and had millions of flaws but still carried me away. It showed me that even the masters had to start somewhere. And O'Brian is a master. "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 Chris | 2/1/2008

    " I am genetically programmed somehow to enjoy Patrick O'Brian's books, especially this one. My favorite of his so far.
    "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 Brittany | 7/9/2007

    " After you get used to hearing words like "Gee" and "Swell guy" come out of the mouths of O'Brian characters, this was an excellent book. All the adventure, drama, social commentary, and humor of his Maturin and Aubrey books, but this time set (mostly) on land. "

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About the Author
Author Patrick O’Brian

Patrick O’Brian (1914–2000) was born Richard Patrick Russ in England. During the Second World War, he and his wife were involved in British secret service activities. After the war, he changed his name to Patrick O’Brian and began his career as a novelist, biographer, and translator. He is the author of the acclaimed Aubrey-Maturin tales and the biographer of Joseph Banks and Picasso. In 1995 he was the first recipient of the Heywood Hill Prize for a lifetime’s contribution to literature. In the same year he was awarded the CBE. In 1997 he received an honorary doctorate of letters from Trinity College, Dublin. 

About the Narrator

Simon Vance (a.k.a. Robert Whitfield) is an award-winning actor and an AudioFile Golden Voice with fifty-eight Earphones Awards. He has won thirteen prestigious Audie Awards and was Booklist’s very first Voice of Choice in 2008. He has narrated more than eight hundred audiobooks over almost thirty years, beginning when he was a radio newsreader for the BBC in London.