The Gardens of The Dead
William Brodrick

Review of Book
William Brodrick just gets better and better. This, his second novel, is altogether more pacey and even verges on the humorous in places. As with The Sixth Lamentation, one of his characters uses notebooks to record their story, and once again there are confused identities. But this time we're given more insights into the workings of the legal profession when a former colleague of Father Anselm, Elizabeth Glendinning QC, leaves him a mystery which he must solve after her death. His mission takes him to London's homeless community where he gradually uncovers shocking links to Elizabeth, her true identity and a terrible secret.

From a writers' perspective, the whole structure of his storytelling in this book is pure delight. He keeps the mysteries coming and crosses back and forth in time so skilfully, as does he in gradually building his characters' personalities throughout the story.

Outstanding for me have always been his metaphors. They seem to flow so effortlessly and are refreshingly original and vivid. Although not quite in the same style, shall we say, of the likes of Jeremy Clarkson, I am totally in awe of his ability just the same!

Broderick also teases the reader by dropping in the tiniest of clues that make you think you've cracked it and that you're cleverly fitting the pieces together, but that turn out to have no significance whatsoever! Even so, you arrive at a very satisfying and rewarding conclusion to an excellent novel.

Review of Nat's Performance
Nat immediately picks up the lighter tone of this novel, in comparison with The Sixth Lamentation, and with that beautiful voice, gives those among us who appreciate his audio work so much, yet another 6 hours of pure listening pleasure.

With his trademark clarity of diction and pronunciation, he brings out Brodrick's characters and the emotions they experience - from aggressive and distant to tender and timid. And because of the way Nat re-created a couple of characters in particular, I was able to sympathise with them, and actually come to like them, more than from reading the book alone. Nat also paces the reading perfectly and makes an art of the use of pauses - placed with such precision they create the sense of expectancy, drama and tension exquisitely.

Some of the pleasure of reading the book while waiting for a new audio to arrive, is guessing which accent or voice he'll use for each character as they appear. Nat can still surprise - as with yet another 'Cockney' variation not heard before, or a lilting Welsh female.

I'm ashamed to admit that on the first hearing, and while listening through headphones, I dozed off at one particular point. I was abruptly brought into full consciousness by the sound of Nat singing! What a lovely, lovely singing voice he has - if only he could have the opportunity to use it more…

Time Warner have packaged these 5 CDs very simply and in very user-friendly packaging - and I was very pleased to see on the dust cover of the book, that it's also available as an audio. So hopefully many more people will be sent in the direction of Nat's wonderful audio talent…

A delightful one minute or so of William Brodrick talking about this cracking good story, using Windows Media Player, can be found via this link…

Published by
Time Warner Audiobooks
ISBN CD - 1405501510
March 30th 2006
Running time 6 hrs approx

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