Shortlisted for Audible's Listen of the Year, 2006.
English magicians were once the wonder of the known world, with fairy servants at their beck and call; they could command winds, mountains, and woods. But by the early 1800s they have long since lost the ability to perform magic. They can only write long, dull papers about it, while fairy servants are nothing but a fading memory.
But at Hurtfew Abbey in Yorkshire, the rich, reclusive Mr. Norrell has assembled a wonderful library of lost and forgotten books from England's magical past and regained some of the powers of England's magicians. He goes to London and raises a beautiful young woman from the dead. Soon he is lending his help to the government in the war against Napoleon Bonaparte, creating ghostly fleets of rain-ships to confuse and alarm the French.
All goes well until a rival magician appears. Jonathan Strange is handsome, charming, and talkative, the very opposite of Mr. Norrell. Strange thinks nothing of enduring the rigors of campaigning with Wellington's army and doing magic on battlefields. Astonished to find another practicing magician, Mr. Norrell accepts Strange as a pupil. But it soon becomes clear that their ideas of what English magic ought to be are very different...
Sophisticated, witty, and ingeniously convincing, Susanna Clarke's magisterial novel weaves magic into a flawlessly detailed vision of historical England. She has created a world so thoroughly enchanting that 32 hours leave readers longing for more.
Winner of the British Book Awards, Newcomer of the Year 2005,
Jonathan Strange & Mr. Norrell is the deeply creative debut novel written by Susanna Clarke and perfectly narrated by English actor Simon Prebble in this unabridged fantasy audiobook edition. Listeners journey through historical England and France with magic entwined into every corner. The charming Jonathan Strange and questionable Mr. Norrell must combine their magical talents to protect England from Napoleon’s advancing army but they must first overcome their own quarrels in order to do so. This is an entrancing and elegant story. Available now from Audible.
"A smashing success....An exceptionally compelling, brilliantly creative, and historically fine-tuned piece of work." (
"Extraordinary....Immersion in the mesmerizing story reveals its intimacy, humor, and insight, and will enchant readers of fantasy and literary fiction alike." ( Publishers Weekly)
"Ravishing...superb...combines the dark mythology of fantasy with the delicious social comedy of Jane Austen into a masterpiece of the genre that rivals Tolkien." ( Time)
"Clarke welcomes herself into an exalted company of British writers, not only, some might argue, Dickens and Austen, but also the fantasy legends Kenneth Grahame and George MacDonald, as well as contemporary writers like Susan Cooper and Philip Pullman." ( The New York Times Book Review)
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Great story, poor quality
Mediocre Adult Fantasy for the Patient Reader