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Wolf on a String: A Novel Audiobook, by Benjamin Black Extended Sample Click for printable size audiobook cover
Author: Benjamin Black Narrator: Simon Vance Publisher: Macmillan Audio Format: Unabridged Audiobook Delivery: Instant Download Audio Length: Release Date: June 2017 ISBN: 9781427279590
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Bestselling author Benjamin Black turns his eye to sixteenth century Prague and a story of murder, magic and the dark art of wielding extraordinary power/

"...outstandingly read by Simon Vance, whose versatility with voices and intonations brings the cast to life." — Fran Wood, NJ.com

Christian Stern, an ambitious young scholar and alchemist, arrives in Prague in the bitter winter of 1599, intent on making his fortune at the court of the Holy Roman Emperor, the eccentric Rudolf II. The night of his arrival, drunk and lost, Christian stumbles upon the body of a young woman in Golden Lane, an alley hard by Rudolf’s great castle. Dressed in a velvet gown, wearing a large gold medallion around her neck, the woman is clearly well-born—or was, for her throat has been slashed.

A lesser man would smell danger, but Christian is determined to follow his fortunes wherever they may lead. He quickly finds himself entangled in the machinations of several ruthless courtiers, and before long he comes to the attention of the Emperor himself. Rudolf, deciding that Christian is that rare thing—a person he can trust—sets him the task of solving the mystery of the woman’s murder. But Christian soon realizes that he has blundered into the midst of a power struggle that threatens to subvert the throne itself. And as he gets ever nearer to the truth of what happened that night in Golden Lane, he finally sees that his own life is in grave danger.

From the spectacularly inventive Benjamin Black, Wolf on a String is a historical crime audiobook that delivers both a mesmerizing portrait of a lost world and a riveting tale of intrigue and suspense.

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Quotes & Awards

  • "It's outstandingly read by Simon Vance, whose versatility with voices and intonations brings the cast to life. NJ.com

  • Black's richly layered storytelling is vivid and unforgettable. BookPage
  • John Banville's novel Kepler was published in 1981. Now, using the pen name he has adopted for his mystery novels, he returns to [an] exciting era when science and superstition were battling for supremacy.... The ornate style of [the] narrative suits both this rich historical period and the courtly language of Prague, this 'city of masks and make-believe.' The New York Times Book Review
  • Black [is] a master of high-class crime fiction, literary noir in the tradition of Georges Simenon and Raymond Chandler…. In characteristically gorgeous prose, he conjures a wintry world of opportunists and occultists, dwarves and hunchbacks, wolves and shadowy black-winged beasts….The marvelously evoked ‘city of masks and make-believe’ is the [novel’s] great pleasure. The Guardian
  • Immensely enjoyable.... A gem of a book, presented without pretension but with the literary flair that Banville/Black brings to all of his books. St. Louis Post-Dispatch
  • It’s Prague in the late 1500s, where the eccentric Rudolf II rules the Holy Roman Empire.... As you’d expect from a Man Booker winner like Banville, [this] plunge into palace intrigue and power struggles is spirited, vivid, and soulful. The Seattle Times
  • Black's 16th century murder mystery is rife with twists and turns, and his characters' dialogue convincingly captures the history and social issues of the period. NJ.com
  • Black displays his mastery of yet another mystery sub-genre in this brooding, atmospheric whodunit set in 16th-century Prague…. Superior prose complements the intricate plot. Publishers Weekly (starred review)
  • Rich, expansive…. [A] dark, vivid mural of Prague at the turn of the 16th century. Kirkus Reviews

  • If the Benjamin Black novels are, in the John Banville corpus, the equivalent of Graham Greene’s ‘entertainments,’ [Wolf on a String] must go down as one of the most entertaining…. The interplay of such twinned contraries—stars and darkness, snow and stone, desire and destruction, Black and Banville; each entity illuminating the other—also supply the sparkling style and steely themes of the engrossing, wide-ranging, sneakily ambitious work. The Irish Times
  • A swirling kaleidoscope of intrigue, art, blood, sex and magic…. Cleverly, and often amusingly, Black introduces several real characters to his fictional narrative…. A stirring, captivating and perfectly enjoyable read. Independent (Ireland)
  • “A rich, expansive, if sometimes discursive, historical mystery…[with] a denouement that befits the treacherous times. Patient readers in no hurry will savor Black’s dark, vivid mural of Prague at the turn of the sixteenth century.”

    Kirkus Reviews

  • “In this intricate, clever, and uncomfortable historical suspense novel, [Black] drops a flawed hero into a seventeenth-century labyrinth without a torch. Unlike Stern, readers will suspect everyone and may squirm a bit as inevitable disaster approaches…Suspenseful and full of atmospheric detail.”

    Booklist

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About the Author

Benjamin Black, the pen name of acclaimed novelist John Banville, is the author of Christine Falls and The Silver Swan. Christine Falls was nominated for both the Edgar Award and Macavity Award for Best Novel. He lives in Dublin.

About the Narrator

Simon Vance (a.k.a. Robert Whitfield) is an award-winning actor and narrator. He has earned more than fifty Earphones Awards and won the prestigious Audie Award for best narration thirteen times. He was named Booklist’s very first Voice of Choice in 2008 and has been named an AudioFile Golden Voice as well as an AudioFile Best Voice of 2009. He has narrated more than eight hundred audiobooks over almost thirty years, beginning when he was a radio newsreader for the BBC in London. He is also an actor who has appeared on both stage and television.