• The Rowan

  • Tower and Hive, Book 1
  • By: Anne McCaffrey
  • Narrated by: Jean Reed Bahle
  • Length: 9 hrs and 48 mins
  • 4.4 out of 5 stars (2,349 ratings)

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The Rowan  By  cover art

The Rowan

By: Anne McCaffrey
Narrated by: Jean Reed Bahle
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Publisher's Summary

Told in the timeless style of Anne McCaffrey, The Rowan is the first installment in a wonderful trilogy. This is sci-fi at its best: a contemporary love story as well as an engrossing view of our world in the future.

The kinetically gifted, trained in mind/machine gestalt, are the most valued citizens of the Nine Star League. Using mental powers alone, these few Prime Talents transport ships, cargo, and people between Earth's Moon, Mars' Demos and Jupiter's Callisto.

An orphaned young girl, simply called The Rowan, is discovered to have superior telepathic potential and is trained to become Prime Talent on Callisto.

After years of self-sacrificing dedication to her position, The Rowan intercepts an urgent mental call from Jeff Raven, a young Prime Talent on distant Deneb. She convinces the other Primes to merge their powers with hers to help fight off an attack by invading aliens.

Her growing relationship with Jeff gives her the courage to break her status-imposed isolation, and choose the more rewarding world of love and family.

Listen to the rest of the Rowan Series.
©2007 Anne McCaffrey (P)2007 Brilliance Audio, Inc.

Critic Reviews

"In this sensitive portrayal (expanded from the author's first published story, 'Lady in the Tower') McCaffrey draws a warm and vivid picture of a struggling frontier society." ( Publishers Weekly)

What listeners say about The Rowan

Average Customer Ratings
Overall
  • 4.5 out of 5 stars
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    1,523
  • 4 Stars
    499
  • 3 Stars
    214
  • 2 Stars
    79
  • 1 Stars
    34
Performance
  • 4.5 out of 5 stars
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    1,225
  • 4 Stars
    435
  • 3 Stars
    206
  • 2 Stars
    60
  • 1 Stars
    47
Story
  • 4.5 out of 5 stars
  • 5 Stars
    1,386
  • 4 Stars
    351
  • 3 Stars
    157
  • 2 Stars
    60
  • 1 Stars
    33

Reviews - Please select the tabs below to change the source of reviews.

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  • Overall
    4 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    2 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    4 out of 5 stars

Interesting Story - Performance is lacking

Would you recommend this audiobook to a friend? If so, why?

I so wanted to enjoy this book but the "reader" is not a voice actor to the point that it is annoying for me being used to real talent in this area from other audible books. The performance is amateurish with often little or no emotion or believable speech patterns and other times exaggerated.

Who was your favorite character and why?

Rowan

Who would you have cast as narrator instead of Jean Reed Bahle?

Lisa Gardner

Was there a moment in the book that particularly moved you?

not many

18 people found this helpful

  • Overall
    4 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    2 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    4 out of 5 stars

Audiobook version: meh.

I enjoyed the story (used to read this series often when I was younger), but the narrator's performance was lacking and audio quality was worse than I'm used to. I will still listen again, though, so it's not a total disappointment.

10 people found this helpful

  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    2 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    5 out of 5 stars

Not a bad start

This is sort of a continuation of the Pegasis series and does continue the story. The only downfall is the length of the book which if this was a movie would have been over in about 30 minutes, still it is a good listen. However, the reader does not seem to be that good since she cannot seem to pronounce some of the names of the places correctly even according to some of the dictionaries online or in print. If you can get over the fact that the name of the planet that Jeff comes from is spelled Deneb and not Deneeb as the reader pronounces it, she is a good reader.

10 people found this helpful

  • Overall
    3 out of 5 stars

Uneven series

I remember reading this series when it came out and loved reading anything McCaffrey wrote. When looking for my next audio book I came across the almost forgotten series and was eager to enjoy once again.
I think as an audio book it fails. When they came out it was generally a year between books and you needed the refresher if you weren't like me and loved the excuse to reread. But way too much repetition and books 3, 4and 5 were a struggle with a weak ending to the point I'm considering returning them. It makes me sad. So read the books but I recommend avoiding the audio on this series.

8 people found this helpful

  • Overall
    3 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    1 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    4 out of 5 stars

Love the series, but...

What didn’t you like about Jean Reed Bahle’s performance?

She sounds like a computer voice. I refuse to believe a real person is narrating.

Any additional comments?

Love the series, so I'll put up with the bad narration.

8 people found this helpful

  • Overall
    4 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    4 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    4 out of 5 stars

An Oldie...

One of books I read when younger and has been remembered. I enjoyed the audio just as much. Too bad the whole series isn't available unabridged.

7 people found this helpful

  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    5 out of 5 stars

excellent

If you could sum up The Rowan in three words, what would they be?

wonderfully engaging story!

What did you like best about this story?

The can't stop listening factor of the story that catches you and keeps you comming back for more.

Which character – as performed by Jean Reed Bahle – was your favorite?

The Rowan

Did you have an extreme reaction to this book? Did it make you laugh or cry?

Yes I laughed and cried. The deaths were so sad.

Any additional comments?

This is a wonderful book. I used to own it as an audio cassette version and it sounds just like I remember. It has always been one of my favorite books ever since highschool when I first read it in paperback. I just had to have this book, but then the whole series is great.

7 people found this helpful

  • Overall
    2 out of 5 stars

A Great Book and a Passing Audio Recording

I love Anne MacAffrey's books, and I loved this one when I read it. But the audio recording, perhaps because it was a tape first, is warped and awkward most of the time. The enhanced download is passable. By the end, I had almost gotten used to it.

7 people found this helpful

  • Overall
    3 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    4 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    3 out of 5 stars

Disappointing

Would you try another book from Anne McCaffrey and/or Jean Reed Bahle?

I liked the story's concept, but was disappointed in the slow development, and subsequent focus on the romatic aspect of the story.

4 people found this helpful

  • Overall
    2 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    2 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    2 out of 5 stars

Inconsistent SciFi/Fantasy with a weak ending

I don't know about this one. It was in my "To Read" pile and I didn't even glance at what it was about before I started it. I was expecting science-fiction and was somewhat surprised when extrasensory perception appeared very early on in the story, followed closely by a bunch of machine-augmented telekinesis. There wasn't a great deal of explanation about how this all worked (although it started out in a promising vein with the description of the "Goose Egg" device used to detect "talent", as these powers are called, and mark out the owners for further training) but not much more is said of the technology beyond the occasional nod in its direction when talking about the requirement for The Towers in order to allow the Prime talents to do their thing.

I felt that this book could be split into two-pieces, the good piece, and the bad piece. The good piece is the first part. From a general reading perspective the authors abilities to craft an interesting story with solid, believable and interesting characters in an interesting and well described environment are on show but about half-way through the book (where the bad piece starts) things get a little crazy, almost like the author had had enough of writing this book and just wanted everything to come together and end. Specifically I felt that it suffered from at least three major flaws (four if you count the issues I had with the audio since I listened to this one):

Caution: Potential Minor Spoilers Below

1) The Rowan starts out as a pretty strong character until, about half-way through the book, she just suddenly turns into a doormat for the main male protagonist when the "love at first sight" meeting occurs. I found myself trying to rationalise this as being due to the fact that it was a completely open, mind-to-mind meeting of the two, subsequent to which both parties were intimately aware of the smallest nuance of the other. That said, the literally instant shift into calling each other "darling" and "my love" and acting like long-lost-lovers was jarring in the extreme. This just seemed like a massive break from the character established up to that point in the book.

2) The rape scene. OK, that's an exaggeration but the scene where Raven forcibly "helps" The Rowan to discover what's behind the mental block about her childhood trauma put me greatly in mind of the rape scene from Ayn Rand's The Fountainhead. It was quite a jolt to read.

3) The end. Wow, what a disappointment. There was minimal buildup and then the whole thing was done with in a paragraph or two. I'm not sure if the titular Hive is what is being battled at the end or if this is just a setup for the other books in the trilogy where the rest of the Hive is fleshed out and explained/dealt with but the ending felt incredibly rushed and like a cop-out on the rest of the story.

4) I listened to the audio version of the book from Brilliance Audio read by Jean Reed Bahle and had two major issues with it. The first was that Ms Bahle has the incredible ability to sound exactly like a synthesised voice, it was truly astonishing the number of times I did a double-take when she managed to get an uncannily similar intonation to a Speak 'n Spell. The other problem was the special effects that the production team laid on for the mental conversations. Looking at the Kindle preview of the book it would appear that communication that happened via telepathy rather than speech is italicised and this emphasis is translated into a rather annoying echo effect on the audio version. To be fair, I'm not sure what else they could have done to provide contrast but from my perspective if was easy enough to determine what was speech and what was telepathy merely from context.

Overall, meh, I wouldn't recommend this to anyone and I'm not going to read the rest of the trilogy.

4 people found this helpful