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BBC2's major Autumn 2015 TV series THE LAST KINGDOM is based on Bernard Cornwell's bestselling novels on the making of England and the fate of his great hero, Uhtred of Bebbanburg. The Last Kingdom is the first book in the series. Uhtred is an English boy, born into the aristocracy of ninth-century Northumbria. Orphaned at ten, he is captured and adopted by a Dane and taught the Viking ways. Yet Uhtred's fate is indissolubly bound up with Alfred, King of Wessex, who rules over the only English kingdom to survive the Danish assault. The struggle between the English and the Danes and the strife between christianity and paganism is the background to Uhtred's growing up. He is left uncertain of his loyalties but a slaughter in a winter dawn propels him to the English side and he will become a man just as the Danes launch their fiercest attack yet on Alfred's kingdom. Marriage ties him further still to the West Saxon cause but when his wife and child vanish in the chaos of the Danish invasion, Uhtred is driven to face the greatest of the Viking chieftains in a battle beside the sea. There, in the horror of the shield-wall, he discovers his true allegiance. The Last Kingdom, like most of Bernard Cornwell's books, is firmly based on true history. It is the first novel of a series that will tell the tale of Alfred the Great and his descendants and of the enemies they faced, Viking warriors like Ivar the Boneless and his feared brother, Ubba. Against their lives Bernard Cornwell has woven a story of divided loyalties, reluctant love and desperate heroism. In Uhtred, he has created one of his most interesting and heroic characters and in The Last Kingdom one of his most powerful and passionate novels.
Enter a world where bloody battles, and heroic deeds combine in the historic struggle to unite Britain in the face of a common enemy. The third instalment in Bernard Cornwell's King Alfred series, follows on from the outstanding previous novels The Last Kingdom and The Pale Horseman. The year is 878 and the Vikings have been thrown out of Wessex. Uhtred, fresh from fighting for Alfred in the battle to free Wessex, travels north to seek revenge for his father's death, killed in a bloody raid by Uhtred's old enemy, renegade Danish lord, Kjartan. While Kjartan lurks in his formidable stronghold of Dunholm, the north is overrun by chaos, rebellion and fear. Together with a small band of warriors, Uhtred plans his attack on his enemy, revenge fuelling his anger, resolute on bloody retribution. But, he finds himself betrayed and ends up on a desperate slave voyage to Iceland. Rescued by a remarkable alliance of old friends and enemies, he and his allies, together with Alfred the Great, are free to fight once more in a battle for power, glory and honour. `The Lords of the North' is a tale of England's making, a powerful story of betrayal, struggle and romance, set in an England torn apart by turmoil and upheaval.
Continuing the outstanding success of The Last Kingdom, The Pale Horseman is the second installment of Bernard Cornwell's fantastic series, following the fate of Alfred the Great, and the forging of Britain. A Saxon raised by Vikings. A pagan fighting for a Christian King. The conflict at the heart of a hero will be played out in the fight for England. It is 877. Across the kingdoms of Britain the Danes are gaining strength. Uhtred of Bebbanburg, a pagan warrior, must decide who he will align with: the Vikings who raised him or Alfred, King of the West Saxons. As the Danes make for Wessex and threaten to destroy the kingdom, Uhtred will forge an uneasy alliance with the king, to lead the last remaining Saxon army in a battle that will be a fight for the very existence of England.
British children's animated series written by Josh Weinstein, who has previously worked on 'The Simpsons' and 'Futurama'. The series is set in and around a high school where strange events take place and follows the students of the school as they try to make sense of the bizarre occurrences. The pupils at the school include Becky Butters (voice of Emma Kennedy), a studious girl who nonetheless struggles with logic, and Mitchell Tanner (Doc Brown), a lively boy who would much rather be playing with his friends than stuck in a classroom. The voice cast also includes Richard Ayoade, Caroline Aherne and Marc Silk.
Sensual, macabre, joyous and liberating, The Flowers of Evil, or, Les Fleurs du Mal, is a beautifully debauched reflection on dreams, sin, life and death. With subjects ranging from travel to drugs, sex to faith, sleep to contemplation, Baudelaire finds new beauty in the most sinister and corrupt of situations. His morbid and nightmarish Romanticism was completely unique: cynical and bleak, but also inspiring, lifted by magnificent imagery and melodious language. The book was highly controversial upon its release and Napoleon III's government prosecuted Baudelaire for `an insult to public decency'; six of the poems were banned until as recently as 1949.
A unique collection of historic recordings in which the last brutal encounters of the war and the mixed emotions of the armistice are remembered by troops from both sides. By the end of March 1918, Germany's Spring Offensive had thrown British forces back over the old Somme battlefields. But this last push failed and with the stalemate of trench warfare broken, the Allies swept from near-defeat to victory. However, their joy was tempered by sorrow. Too many would not come home. For the Germans, the mood was despairing as their `endless columns rolled eastward', the November fog and rain adding to their melancholy. Memorable reminiscences include an evocative portrait of the poet Wilfred Owen by his brother Harold, American troops on their initiation into the horrors of battle and reflections on the controversial Field Marshal Sir Douglas Haig by his contemporaries. The war ended on 11 November 1918, but the Treaty of Versailles was not signed until 28 June 1919. By then, the German fleet had decided its own fate in one final act of defiance witnessed by a group of school children on an outing in Scapa Flow. Durations: 2 hours 12 minutes
Petronius' Satyricon is a rampant and vivacious Roman adventure dating back to the first century, during the reign of Nero. It follows the exploits of Encolpius, an impoverished ex-gladiator, and his boy-lover Giton. The action is fleet and the narrative sweeping: over the course of their journey we meet a host of lewd and comical rogues, including beggars, prostitutes, poets, sodomites and pedants, and witness many strange and curious events, including a remarkably vulgar multi-course feast, hosted by the pompous nouveau riche Trimalchio. Considered the Odyssey of the illicit and debaucherous, the Satyricon is an exhilarating look at the underbelly of Roman society.
Lord Byron's satirical take on the legend of Don Juan is a moving and witty poem that sees the young hero in a reversal of roles. Juan sheds his image as a womaniser and instead becomes the victim of circumstance as he is relentlessly pursued by every woman he meets. Comprised of seventeen cantos of rhyming iambic pentameter, the poem is a crisp and accessible meditation on the madness of the world.
Since the age of twenty-one, Paul McCartney has lived one of the ultimate rock-n-roll lives played out on the most public of stages. Now, Paul's story is told by rock music's foremost biographer, with McCartney's consent and access to family members and close friends who have never spoken on the record before. Paul McCartney reveals the complex character behind the facade and sheds new light on his childhood - blighted by his mother's death but redeemed by the father who introduced him to music.
Sir Ian McKellen stars as Milton in this dramatised retelling of John Milton's epic poem about the fall of Man "devilishly good... I urge you to give it a listen" The Telegraph Milton's biblical masterpiece, first published in 1667, is one of English literature's most seminal works. Straddling three worlds - Heaven, Hell and Earth - it tells the gripping story of fallen angel Satan's rebellion against God, his temptation of Adam and Eve and their subsequent expulsion from the Garden of Eden. Written to `justify the ways of God to men', it aimed to show what caused Mankind's fall and the consequences for the world, both bad and good. By reaching back to the beginning of time, Milton hoped to discover the events that had led to the political and societal upheaval of his own era - as well as using allegory to ask powerful questions about authority, government, tyranny and disobedience. In this brand new dramatisation, Milton himself (Sir Ian McKellen) is the blind narrator grieving the loss of his wife, played by Frances Barber. Also starring Simon Russell Beale as Satan, and adapted by award-winning poet and broadcaster Michael Symmons Roberts, this enthralling drama is a vital piece of storytelling with striking parallels to contemporary events. Cast and credits Milton........................Sir Ian McKellen Elizabeth........................Frances Barber Satan........................Simon Russell Beale Beelzebub........................Jonathan Keeble Adam........................Ashley Margolis Eve........................Emily Pithon Christ........................David Seddon Raphael........................Conrad Nelson God........................Russell Dixon All other parts were played by members of the company Written by John Milton Dramatised by Michael Symmons Roberts Produced and directed by Susan Roberts Approx. 2.5 hours
Oliver Twist, Dickens's second novel, has enthralled generations of readers since its publication in 1838. Orphaned and desolate, Oliver's journey to London and subsequent induction into its dingy underworld, is narrated with ceaseless energy by Jonathan Keeble. His depictions of Fagin and the terrifying Bill Sikes are particularly mesmerising, and his reading is infused with a delicious knack for story-telling. This unabridged version has been long anticipated, and is a stand-out Naxos AudioBooks recording.
This is the first in a series of classics retold for younger listeners. Oliver Twist, Dickens's second novel, has enthralled generations of readers since its publication in 1838. Orphaned and desolate, Oliver's journey to London and subsequent induction into its dingy underworld is narrated with ceaseless energy by Jonathan Keeble. His depictions of Fagin and the terrifying Bill Sikes are particularly mesmerising, and his reading is infused with a delicious knack for story-telling. Having been the subject of countless adaptations, Oliver Twist is an essential junior read, and this version is both exciting and accessible. Roy McMillan uses Dickens's original words in the main, simplifying and clarifying them at certain points.
Wolf Hadda's life was a fairytale - successful businessman and adored husband. But a knock on the door one morning ends it all. Universally reviled, thrown into prison, Wolf retreats into silence. Seven years later Wolf begins to talk to the prison psychiatrist and receives parole to return home. But there's a mysterious period in Wolf's past when he was known as the Woodcutter. Now the Woodcutter is back, looking for truth and revenge...This recording is unabridged. Typically abridged audiobooks are not more than 60% of the author's work and as low as 30% with characters and plotlines removed.
Considered the bridge between romanticism and modernism, Matthew Arnold wrote verse that is simple, unadorned and straightforward. From the hypnotic and beautiful lines of Dover Beach to the pastoral narrative of The Scholar and the Gipsy, Arnold cast a gaze at the main intellectual issues of the nineteenth century while giving a timeless insight into man and nature. This collection covers his major poetic works, including the narrative poems, sonnets and elegiac poems, illuminating the lyricism and serenity of Arnold's best poetry.
The author is a Commonwealth Writers Prize Winner and Miles Franklin Award Winner. Olivier is a French aristocrat, the traumatised child of survivors of the Revolution. Parrot is the son of an itinerant printer who always wanted to be an artist but ended up a servant. Born on different sides of history, their lives are brought together by their travels in America. When Olivier sets sail for the New World, Parrot is sent with him, as spy, protector, foe and foil. This recording is unabridged. Typically abridged audiobooks are not more than 60 per cent of the author's work and as low as 30 per cent with characters and plotlines removed.
Winner of the IMPAC, one of the biggest library prizes in the world, this is a moving story about two young men coming of age in war-torn Beirut; one obsessed with leaving, the other who amasses power in the underworld and lives a life of violence. Their friendship is tested until finally their paths collide, explosively and tragically. Bassam and George are childhood best friends who have grown up on the Christian side of war-torn Beirut. Now on the verge of adulthood, they must choose their futures: to remain in the exhausted, corrupt city of their birth, or to go into exile abroad, cut off from the only existence they have known. Bassam chooses one path - obsessed with leaving Beirut, he embarks on a series of petty crimes to fund his escape to the West. Meanwhile, George amasses power in the underworld of the city, embracing a life of military service, organised crime, killing, and drugs. Their two paths inevitably collide, with explosive consequences. De Niro's Game is a devastating, timely portrait of two young men and an entire city formed and deformed by war. This recording is unabridged. Typically abridged audiobooks are not more than 60 per cent of the author's work and as low as 30 per cent with characters and plot lines removed.
From the Russian Revolution to America's declaration of war and the lasting horror of Passchendaele, this unique collection of historic recordings contains the voices of those who were there. Among the memorable voices in this compilation are Commander William Ibbett, who experienced the aftermath of the Bolshevik revolution at close quarters, Sir Edward Spears on the mutiny in the French Army and Royal Flying Corps pilots - whose life expectancy could be a low as a single day. 1917 was a year of decisive events. Germany raised the stakes at sea, America eventually declared war; the Nivelle offensive almost destroyed the French army; and, following two revolutions in February and October, Russian forces collapsed. For the Allies, despite their successes at Messines and Cambrai, the year was overshadowed by the losses at Passchendaele. Survivors recall their despair as men and horses drowned in mud: `a viscous, tenacious mud which smelt of death'. In the Middle East, British fortunes changed with the capture of Aqaba and Jerusalem. General Allenby, Commander of the Palestine Campaign, recalls the vital, if unorthodox, feats of one officer in particular: Colonel TE Lawrence. By December, troops on the Western Front were digging in for yet another winter. Victory now depended on the arrival of the Americans. Duration: 2 hours approx.
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