Maugham was a very successful and well-regarded author, but even he, looking back on this early novel, had little good to say about it. Narrator James Adams makes the most of the novel's strong point, its dialogue, with an array of adept accents and moods. Even so, the villain, Oliver Haddo, comes across as more bombastic than evil. Only towards the end, when Adams has some genuine emotion and drama to work with, does the story start to come to life. As a rare fantasy story from Maugham's early career, the novel is an interesting artifact, and the research into the history of magic and alchemy is exhaustive. But not even Adams's fine reading can raise it above the level of a curiosity. D.M.H. © AudioFile 2013, Portland, Maine [Published: OCTOBER 2013]
Trade Ed. Blackstone Audio 2012
CD ISBN 9781470809249 $29.95 Six CDs
MP3-CD ISBN 9781470809256 $29.95 One MP3-CDs
DD ISBN 9781470809263 multiple sources
Library Ed. Blackstone Audio 2012
CD ISBN 9781470809232 $69.00 Six CDs
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