(Clockwork Century, Bk. 1). 7 CDs. retail ed. unabridged. 8 hrs. Graphic Audio. 2014. ISBN 9781628510584. $19.99; digital download. F
In Priest's (Fiddlehead) novel, originally published in 2009, Seattle is a walled city filled with a gas that transforms men into the walking dead. The titular machine was a mining engine that unleashed the gas. Leviticus Blue, the man who built it, disappeared, and his son, Ezekiel, has gone into the walled city to find proof of his father's innocence. His mother follows to protect him from the denizens of the city, both living and not. The story that unfolds is a grand adventure filled with danger, secrets, and steampunk creations. This new audio adaptation is a dramatization, rather than a straight reading. The chief difference is that the work is about half as long as the 2010 production, primarily because descriptive text has been turned into excellent sound effects and dialog tags have been reduced. The 20-plus performers do a great job. Each voice is distinct, and clever devices are used, such as voice filters to suggest when the characters are wearing gas masks.
VERDICT While elements of the story will be familiar to fantasy and steampunk fans, they blend into something very fun, particularly in this new dramatization. Recommended for listeners who enjoy sf and genre fiction. [For more on this title, see the Q&A with the author on page 46.]
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