• The Songs of the Kings

  • By: Barry Unsworth
  • Narrated by: Andrew Sachs
  • Length: 9 hrs and 8 mins
  • 4.6 out of 5 stars (25 ratings)

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Publisher's Summary

A thoroughly modern tale of politics, spin-doctoring, and media manipulation. As the harsh wind holds the Greek fleet trapped in the straits at Aulis, frustration and political impotence turn into a desire for the blood of a young and innocent woman - blood that will appease the gods and allow the troops to set sail. And when Iphigeneia, Agamemnon's beloved daughter, is brought to the coast under false pretences, it looks as if the ships will soon be on their way. But can a father really go to these lengths to secure political victory? And can a daughter willingly give up her life for the worldly ambitions of her father?

©2002 Barry Unsworth (P)2014 Audible, Inc.

Critic Reviews

"Incandescent....One of the three most important British novelists at work today....It is impossible to read [this novel] without feeling an immediacy both unbearable and profound, as if this week's headlines were being incised into the conscience and the heart....Unsworth has combined several versions of the Iphigenia myth to set up an entrancing, frightening mystery." (Richard Eder, New York Times)
"Intellectually agile, thrillingly stylish...The Songs of the Kings effortlessly proves that modern life is the stuff of ancient myth." (The Guardian)
"A beautifully measured entertainment given gravity by how accurately it reflects the present political zeal to control the media." (The Independent)

What listeners say about The Songs of the Kings

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The politics of power haven't changed.

If you could sum up The Songs of the Kings in three words, what would they be?

atmosphere, scheming and misogyny

What was one of the most memorable moments of The Songs of the Kings?

The scene in which Iphigenia and her slave were discussing which of them would be the human sacrifice and why.

What about Andrew Sachs’s performance did you like?

He captured the unique qualities of the different characters...there was no mistaking one from the other

Was this a book you wanted to listen to all in one sitting?

Yes

Any additional comments?

Unsworth has become one of my favorite authors. He explores large themes in his fiction with fully developed characters who are compelling in their own right. His psychological insights are astute.

3 people found this helpful

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What' the word I'm looking for ? - brilliant !!

Unsworth is a great storyteller. Even though this is not his story to tell, having come from the mists of time, he presents is to us in the guise of a moral tale - a fascinating one told as if today in terms of its modernity of behaviour.
Andrew Sachs must have been a great actor hiding under the costume of an ordinary man.
I emerged from this book dragged back into the now from the then, dizzy with wonder.

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Entertaining retailing of Homer

I have read The Odyssey and The Illiad many times. This novel is about the time the Greeks found themselves stuck on the shore of Aulis with foul winds, unable to sail to Troy, and then send for Agamemnon’s daughter Iphigenia as a sacrifice to Zeus to change the winds. This is an entertaining and well written novel, giving the modern reader a different perception of the characters of Homer’s stories.