Gates of Fire [Audiobook]

Gates of Fire [Audiobook]
Gates of Fire: An Epic Novel of the Battle of Thermopylae [Audiobook] by Steven Pressfield, read by George Guidall
1999 | MP3@32 kbps + EPUB | ~ 14 hrs | 205.28MB

Go tell the Spartans, stranger passing by, that here obedient to their laws we lie.

Thus reads an ancient stone at Thermopylae in northern Greece, the site of one of the world's greatest battles for freedom. Here, in 480 B.C., on a narrow mountain pass above the crystalline Aegean, 300 Spartan knights and their allies faced the massive forces of Xerxes, King of Persia. From the start, there was no question but that the Spartans would perish. In Gates of Fire, however, Steven Pressfield makes their courageous defense--and eventual extinction--unbearably suspenseful.

In the tradition of Mary Renault, this historical novel unfolds in flashback. Xeo, the sole Spartan survivor of Thermopylae, has been captured by the Persians, and Xerxes himself presses his young captive to reveal how his tiny cohort kept more than 100,000 Persians at bay for a week. Xeo, however, begins at the beginning, when his childhood home in northern Greece was overrun and he escaped to Sparta. There he is drafted into the elite Spartan guard and rigorously schooled in the art of war--an education brutal enough to destroy half the students, but (oddly enough) not without humor: "The more miserable the conditions, the more convulsing the jokes became, or at least that's how it seems," Xeo recalls. His companions in arms are Alexandros, a gentle boy who turns out to be the most courageous of all, and Rooster, an angry, half-Messenian youth.

Pressfield's descriptions of war are breathtaking in their immediacy. They are also meticulously assembled out of physical detail and crisp, uncluttered metaphor:

The forerank of the enemy collapsed immediately as the first shock hit it; the body-length shields seemed to implode rearward, their anchoring spikes rooted slinging from the earth like tent pins in a gale. The forerank archers were literally bowled off their feet, their wall-like shields caving in upon them like fortress redoubts under the assault of the ram.... The valor of the individual Medes was beyond question, but their light hacking blades were harmless as toys; against the massed wall of Spartan armor, they might as well have been defending themselves with reeds or fennel stalks.

Alas, even this human barrier was bound to collapse, as we knew all along it would. "War is work, not mystery," Xeo laments. But Pressfield's epic seems to make the opposite argument: courage on this scale is not merely inspiring but ultimately mysterious.

Fidel's Last Days: A Novel [Audiobook]

Fidel's Last Days: A Novel [Audiobook]
Fidel's Last Days: A Novel [Audiobook] by Roland Merullo, read by Patrick Egan
2008 | MP3@48 kbps | 8 hrs 21 mins | 172.08MB

Roland Merullo has consistently wowed critics with his brilliant storytelling and his refusal to be pigeonholed, hopscotching from the coming-of-age tale (In Revere, In Those Days) to the novel-as-fable (Golfing with God) to the road trip genre (Breakfast with Buddha). Now Merullo delivers a dazzling and finely nuanced political thriller about a clandestine plot to assassinate Cuban dictator Fidel Castro.

Former CIA agent Carolina Perez has spent five years working deep undercover with a singular goal: to take down Castro and free Cuba from his troubled presence. Recruited by a powerful shadow organization known as the White Orchid, steely and sexy Carolina has passed test after test to prove herself ready for the ultimate assignment. Convinced of the rightness of her cause, she will do anything to complete her mission. That includes duping her uncle Roberto Anzar, a wealthy and influential player in Miami’s Cuban American community. But when suspicious details raise questions about her mysterious employer, not even Carolina is prepared for the elaborate web of deceit that surrounds her.

Across the Straits of Florida, Carlos Gutierrez has been lured into playing a pivotal role in the plot to overthrow el Comandante. The minister of health and a member of Castro’s inner circle, Carlos has grown disenchanted with a political system that pays lip service to the Revolution’s egalitarian ideals while ruling the country with ruthlessness, corruption, and lies. As his involvement deepens at great risk to himself and those he loves, the doctor who has dedicated his career to saving lives must decide how much blood he is willing to have on his own hands in the name of freedom.

For both Carlos and Carolina, the threat of betrayal looms large. Who can be trusted in a byzantine network of spies, double agents, and informants? Is the plot real or is it an elaborate ruse to expose the underground dissidents in Cuba? From the sizzling opulence of Miami to the paranoid dreamscape of Havana, Fidel’s Last Days is a dizzying ride by a novelist whose genre-crossing talents know no bounds.

47 Ronin [Audiobook]

47 Ronin [Audiobook]
47 Ronin [Audiobook] by John Allyn, read by David Shih
2013 | MP3 VBR V8 + EPUB | 7 hrs 34 mins | 158.92MB

For those looking for the real story behind the fictionalized movie account of the 47 Ronin story, this is the definitive, fascinating account of this unforgettable tale of a band of samurai who defied the Emperor to avenge the disgrace and death of their master, and faced certain death as a result. It led to one of the bloodiest episodes in Japanese history, and in the process, created a new set of heroes in Japan.

In 1701, young Lord Asano is goaded into attacking a corrupt official at the Japanese Court. Although the wound Asano inflicts is minimal, the Emperor's punishment is harsh: Lord Asano is ordered to commit seppuku, or ritual suicide. His lands are confiscated and his family is dishonored and exiled. His samurai retainers now become ronin, or masterless, and are dispersed.

These ronin are not trusted by their enemies and live under the watchful eyes of spies for months. They appear to adapt to their new circumstances by becoming tradesmen and teachers. But the ronin only seem to accept their fate. They are in fact making careful plans for revenge, biding their time until the moment to strike is right! Their deeds became Japan's most celebrated example of bravery, cunning, and loyalty in an age when samurai were heroes, and honor was worth dying for.

John Allyn's masterful retelling of 47 Ronin has long been considered the definitive version of these dramatic historical events.

The Dovekeepers: A Novel [Audiobook]

The Dovekeepers: A Novel [Audiobook]
The Dovekeepers: A Novel [Audiobook] by Alice Hoffman, read by Heather Lind, Aya Cash, Jessica Hecht, Tovah Feldshuh
2011 | MP3 VBR + EPUB + MOBI | 19 hrs 01 min | 473.46MB

The Dovekeepers is Alice Hoffman’s most ambitious and mesmerizing novel, a tour de force of imagination and research, set in ancient Israel.

In 70 C.E., nine hundred Jews held out for months against armies of Romans on Masada, a mountain in the Judean desert. According to the ancient historian Josephus, two women and five children survived. Based on this tragic and iconic event, Hoffman’s novel is a spellbinding tale of four extraordinarily bold, resourceful, and sensuous women, each of whom has come to Masada by a different path. Yael’s mother died in childbirth, and her father, an expert assassin, never forgave her for that death. Revka, a village baker’s wife, watched the horrifically brutal murder of her daughter by Roman soldiers; she brings to Masada her young grandsons, rendered mute by what they have witnessed. Aziza is a warrior’s daughter, raised as a boy, a fearless rider and an expert marksman who finds passion with a fellow soldier. Shirah, born in Alexandria, is wise in the ways of ancient magic and medicine, a woman with uncanny insight and power.

The lives of these four complex and fiercely independent women intersect in the desperate days of the siege. All are dovekeepers, and all are also keeping secrets—about who they are, where they come from, who fathered them, and whom they love. The Dovekeepers is Alice Hoffman’s masterpiece.

Kateri: Lily of the Mohawks [Audiobook]

Kateri: Lily of the Mohawks [Audiobook]

Kateri: Lily of the Mohawks [Audiobook] by Jack Casey
MP3 VBR V5 | 12 hrs 55 mins | 848.65MB

"The blood of martyrs is the seed of the Church." From the blood of St. Isaac Jogues, spilled by a tomahawk in the Mohawk Valley in 1646, the purest lily sprang ten years later, Kateri Tekakwitha, a holy virgin who embraced the religion of the invading French. This October 21 at the Vatican Pope Benedict XVI will canonize her as the first Native American saint. This novel tells us why.

The zeal of the French Jesuits remains unsurpassed in the annals of history. These educated, peaceful, holy men gave up the comforts of civilization to carry the word of Jesus Christ into the heart of darkness. Bravely they entered villages where the natives practiced ritualized torture and cannibalism and with patience and gentleness they turned them from superstition and violence to embrace a new paradigm of peace and love and forgiveness. But the natives saw these Jesuits as simply the first wave of imperialists, undermining their warrior culture so legions of soldiers could march in and seize their land.

A decade after the Mohawks beheaded Isaac Jogues, a little girl was born in that same village. Her life was never happy or secure. White man's smallpox killed her parents and her brother when she was four, and left her scarred and nearly blind. Growing up in the easternmost village of the great Iroquois League, whose five nations occupied 350 miles from the Hudson River to Lake Erie, Tekakwitha felt the brunt of the white man's imperialistic struggles, Dutch, English and French, for mastery in this land. When she was ten, Marquis de Tracy invaded and burned all Mohawk villages and their stores of winter corn.

War and peace follow each other in unpredictable cycles, yet Tekakwitha's integrity and quiet desire remained fixed. She listened to an inner voice that counseled her to avoid marriage, and she worked at her tasks in the long house and stay clear of gossip and intrigues. When a Jesuit happened accidentally into her long house where rested from an ankle injury, she asked him to teach her "the prayer."

Once baptized "Katharine" - "Kateri," as they pronounced it - her spiritual progress was unsurpassed. She escaped her culture and found peace and happiness at the Jesuit mission near Montreal. There she met Father Claude Chauchetiere, a confused young Jesuit in the throes of a spiritual crisis. Her virtue and her grace and her transfiguration at death granted him at last the certainty and purpose he looked for everywhere. He championed her cause, wrote her biography, painted her portrait and began to effect miracles with her relics.

Two Jesuit priests - Jogues the saint and Chauchetiere the doubter-turned-believer - flank the holy Kateri Tekakwitha in this fast-paced account. Out of the warfare and greed and terrorism of that day, true spiritual gifts lifted this humble, shy but willful young woman into a place of holiness and reverence among her peers.


Mr. Casey's novelized biography tells how Kateri Tekakwitha speaks to us across the centuries, and why the Church is elevating her as the first Native American saint

Paris: The Novel [Audiobook]

Paris: The Novel [Audiobook]

Paris: The Novel [Audiobook] by Edward Rutherfurd
2013 | MP3@96 kbps + EPUB | 38 hrs 23 mins | 1.54GB

From the grand master of the historical novel comes a dazzling, epic portrait of the City of Light.

Internationally bestselling author Edward Rutherfurd has enchanted millions of readers with his sweeping, multigenerational dramas that illuminate the great achievements and travails throughout history. In this breathtaking saga of love, war, art, and intrigue, Rutherfurd has set his sights on the most magnificent city in the world: Paris.

Moving back and forth in time across centuries, the story unfolds through intimate and vivid tales of self-discovery, divided loyalties , passion, and long-kept secrets of characters both fictional and real, all set against the backdrop of the glorious city—from the building of Notre Dame to the dangerous machinations of Cardinal Richlieu; from the glittering court of Versailles to the violence of the French Revolution and the Paris Commune; from the hedonism of the Belle Époque, the heyday of the impressionists, to the tragedy of the First World War; from the 1920s when the writers of the Lost Generation could be found drinking at Les Deux Magots to the Nazi occupation, the heroic efforts of the French Resistance, and the 1968 student revolt.

With his unrivaled blend of impeccable research and narrative verve, Rutherfurd weaves an extraordinary narrative tapestry that captures all the glory of Paris. More richly detailed, more thrilling, and more romantic then anything Rutherfurd has written before, Paris: The Novel wonderfully illuminates hundreds of years in the City of Light and Love and brings the sights, scents, and tastes of Paris to sumptuous life.

Fromelles [Audiobook]

Fromelles [Audiobook]

Fromelles [Audiobook] by Patrick Lindsay
Sound Recording | 2008 | ISBN: 1742120547 | MP3@96 kbps | 6 hrs 23 mins | 375.05MB

Many diggers suvived Gallipoli only to lose their lives in an ill-conceived battle near the tiny French village of Fromelles. They were outnumbered two to one by an entrenched German force. In the blackest night in Australian histroy - 19 JUly 1916 - the Diggers suffered 5533 casualties, with almost 2000 killed. Against all odds, hundresd of our soldiers broke through enemy lines, never to return/ Their fate has been unknown for close to a century. They simply disappeared into the mists of history until now.

Fromelles is Australia's worst military disaster, yet it barely rates a mention in our history books and the name is absent from our war memorials. Was there a cover up? What happened to the missing Diggers? Why has it taken so long for action?

Best selling author Patrick Lindsay takes us behind the scenes, following the remarkable investigative work of a band of amateur historians in search of the final resting place of the missing Diggers of Fromelles. He introduces us to some of our greatest - yet unknown - heroes and crosses paths of characters that include one of the German defenders at Fromelles, Lance Corporal Adolf Hitler.

Passionately told, this enthralling mix of detective story and war history takes us to the killing fields of the Great War and back to Australia to find the key to one of the greatest unsolved mysteries of World War One.

Remembrance [Audiobook]

Remembrance [Audiobook]

Remembrance [Audiobook] by Theresa Breslin
Random House Audio | 2007 | ISBN: 1856868605 | MP3@128 kbps | 7 hrs 20 mins | 403.76MB

1915: Scotland. It begins with a group of teenagers from two families, friends despite their social differences, on a picnic on a beautiful sunny day. Mostly romance is on their minds, but the peace of the day is shattered by the sound of a plane flying overhead, an omen of how the reality of the war across the Channel is soon to tear them away from such youthful pleasures.

All too soon the horror of what is to become known as The Great War engulfs them, their friends, and the whole village. From the horror of the trenches, to the devastating reality seen daily by those nursing the wounded, they struggle to survive. They are luckier than some -- all but one return home -- but they know that nothing will ever be the same again.

Remembrance is a powerful and engrossing novel about love and war, from the Carnegie Medal-winning author Theresa Breslin.

I am a High School English teacher in Brisbane. My father (who served at sea in WW 2) was named after his uncle, an Australian artillery officer who served in Gallipoli and in France. He was killed in action in the Somme region in 1917. I discovered this novel, "Remembrance" by Theresa Breslin after my family had visited his grave in France during 2001. Breslin's account of seeing British students (my own children were upper primary school age and truly affected), visiting a similar war cemetary struck a chord with me as many Australians and New Zealanders suffered and died in this area (along with British, French, Canadian and US troops and Germans in this region). It inspired me to use it as the focus of a unit on war, using the play, "Journey's End" by R.C. Sherriff, set in the trenches, plus WW1 war poetry by women & men, allied and German (e.g. Owen & Sassoon & Trakl). The students love the novel with its mix of both female and male perspectives on the war (and a little romance) and the social history of the period. The students have also studied the period in History, so it has proved a valuable inter-disciplinary unit. I recommend the novel whole-heartedly to anyone interested in the period including young people who wish to explore the mood and many social changes of the period in Britain. Also on the Hyperion CD label, and on Chandos are CD's either featuring composers of WW1 or music appropriate to listen to in conjunction with "Remembrance". There are few authors and novels that I have taught that have enthused both teacher and student as deeply. A must read novel!
By Alec M. Raymond

Fallen Skies: A Novel [Audiobook]

Fallen Skies: A Novel [Audiobook]

Fallen Skies: A Novel [Audiobook] by Philippa Gregory
Isis Audio | 2003 | ISBN: 0753122251 | MP3@48 kbps | 17 hrs 47 mins | 371.53MB

Can a family's mannered traditions and cool emotions erase the horrors of war from a young couple's past?

Now back in print from New York Times bestselling author Philippa Gregory, Fallen Skies takes readers to post-World War I England in a suspenseful story about the marriage of a wealthy war hero and an aspiring singer he barely knows.

Lily Valance is determined to forget the horrors of the war by throwing herself into the decadent pleasures of the 1920s and pursuing her career as a music hall singer. When she meets Captain Stephen Winters, a decorated veteran, she's immediately drawn to his wealth and status. And Stephen, burdened by his guilt over surviving the Flanders battlefields where so many soldiers perished, sees the possibility of forgetting his anguish in Lily, but his family does not approve.

Lily marries Stephen, only to discover that his family's façade of respectability conceals a terrifying combination of repression, jealousy and violence. When Stephen's terrors merge dangerously close with reality, the truth of what took place in the mud and darkness brings him and all who love him to a terrible reckoning.

Four Queens [Audiobook]

Four Queens [Audiobook]

Four Queens: The Provencal Sisters Who Ruled Europe [Audiobook] by Nancy Goldstone
Tantor | 2007 | ISBN: 1400153840 | MP3@128 kbps | 11 hrs 33 mins | 609.24MB

Set against the backdrop of the turbulent 13th century, a time of chivalry and crusades, poetry, knights, and monarchs, comes the story of the four beautiful daughters of the count of Provence, whose brilliant marriages made them the queens of France, England, Germany, and Sicily.

From a cultured childhood in Provence, each sister was propelled into a world marked by shifting alliances, intrigue, and subterfuge: Marguerite, the eldest, whose resolution and spirit would be tested by the cold splendor of the Palais du Roi in Paris; Eleanor, whose soaring political aspirations would provoke her kingdom to civil war; Sanchia, the neglected wife of the richest man in England, who bought himself the crown of Germany; and Beatrice, whose desire for sovereignty was so acute that she risked her life to earn her place at the royal table.

Four Queens shatters the myth that women were helpless pawns in a society that celebrated physical prowess and masculine intellect. Goldstone deftly analyzes what separated these women from their peers--beauty, ambition, familial connections, political aspirations, and timing--in compulsively readable detail. This fascinating collective biography will appeal to students of the period and should generate some crossover appeal for fans of intelligent historical fiction featuring strong female protagonists a la Philippa Gregory.

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