Retail pak Simon & Schuster Audio 2002
CS ISBN 0743526287 $26.00 Four cassettes
CD ISBN 0743526309 $30.00 Six CDs
From the American Revolution through the Civil War, John Jakes traces the lives, passions, and fortunes of the Bell family of Charleston, South Carolina. This is a satisfyingly old-fashioned saga, replete with brave men and cowards, slaves and freedmen, abolitionists and slave owners, vixens and heroines. It's all delivered with the confidence of an expert in historical fiction. Did pre-Revolutionary War Southerners speak with Southern accents? This reviewer thinks that they may have sounded more British than Southern. But for understandable reasons, actor Dylan Baker has chosen to give all the characters Southern voices from the start of the story. It works. Baker paints the characters with telling variations in tone. Sugary-sweet villainous women, clear-voiced upstanding citizens, exhausted slaves are real enough to keep one rapt. George Truett's abridgment necessarily leaves out some of the story's background and development, which can be frustrating in a multigenerational saga. Yet he cut without leaving obvious gaps, and the meat of the story remains. An entertaining listen. A.C.S. (c) AudioFile 2002, Portland, Maine [Published: OCT/ NOV 02]
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