Author: Richard Storry
Narrators: Jake Urry
Length: 4 hours 57 minutes
Publisher: Richard Alan Storry
Released: Oct. 5, 2017
While an ugly war with its neighbouring realm continues to rage, the insulated members of Ruritania’s upper class laugh and dance their way through their superficial lives. Some people, increasingly disillusioned by the pointless conflict, start to consider how the King might be persuaded – or forced – to end it.
Meanwhile, an increasing number of items of great value are going missing from those attending these high society gatherings.
At whom will the finger of suspicion point? Who can be trusted?
With so many competing, yet intertwined, agendas, what will be the outcome of this looming of vultures?
Richard studied at the Royal Academy of Music for five years, between 1984-89, graduating with high honours and a recital diploma – the only guitarist in eight years to be awarded such an honour – and winning the Julian Bream prize.
After recently being adapted for the stage, Richard’s first novel, “The Cryptic Lines” has now been published and is available for download from the kindle store at Amazon here; and his song “Until You’re Safely Home” is being performed frequently by various Military Wives Choirs in many different parts of the world.
Richard’s second novel, “Order of Merit” was published in September 2015. His third novel, “The Black Talisman” was published in January 2016, and his fourth – “The Virtual Lives Of Godfrey Plunkett”, was published in April 2016. You can find out more about Richard’s books at the Cryptic Publications website here.
Jake Urry has been narrating and producing Audiobooks since February 2016, and in that time has released 28 titles, including The Cryptic Lines by Richard Storry, White is the Coldest Colour and A Mind to Kill by John Nicholl, the PI Harlan Ulrich series by Ambrose Ibsen, The Tesla Gate by John D. Mimms, and The Dragon Apocalypse Series by James Maxey. In 2018 Jake will be working on a wide range of Audiobooks across the genres of Mystery, Thriller, Fantasy, Horror and Sci-Fi.
Storry has written a very fun and suspenseful novel! I enjoyed the quirkiness of the two main characters. They have a suave kind of vibe to them and have a lot of fun in this novel! I enjoyed the suspense with the crimes, to see if they would get away with it all. I laughed a lot during this story, which isn’t what I was expecting. But I was glad for the laughs. It made the overall experience much better. It flowed pretty well, although I do have to knock a point and a half because of the women. They were very boring and didn’t seem to add anything to the story except to exist. I’d like them to be more vocal in Storry’s future works. I give the novel a 3.5/5.
The narration is done by Jake Urry! Who is amazeballs! I love his voice. And honestly I could listen to him narrate really anything. Urry has a lot of skill and this story showcased a large range of it. I hope that I get to listen to him in more works going forward. If you’re looking for audiobooks just to listen to because of the narrator I highly recommend Urry! Seriously, he can read anything and I will sit for hours! 5/5 stars!
I received this audiobook as part of my participation in a blog tour with Audiobookworm Promotions. The tour is being sponsored by Jake Urry. The gifting of this audiobook did not affect my opinion of it.
Q&A with Narrator Jake Urry
- When did you know you wanted to be an audiobook narrator?
- It was around the time I listened to Samuel West’s narration of Nineteen Eighty-Four, in my first year of University (2009). It wasn’t the first audiobook I’d listened to, but it was the first that made me think ‘I’d love to do that for a job!’ I never really thought I’d get the opportunity though, and even though I was training to be an actor I thought it would be a really difficult trade to get into for someone in their twenties!
- How did you wind up narrating audiobooks? Was it always your goal or was it something you stumbled into by chance?
- After leaving uni, and going through the typical ‘what do I do with my life now??’ phase, I decided to take a risk and get some recording equipment, then started auditioning for work. It was after a few months of mixed success and getting disheartened by endless corporate and cheesy advertising auditions that I stumbled upon ACX, Amazon’s platform for audiobook creation, and realised that they’d made a way for people like me to audition and get audiobook work in a really straightforward way.
- Did you find it difficult to “break into” audiobook narration? What skill/tool helped you the most when getting started?
- Not really once I’d figured out how ACX works, they make it really easy, and I chose books that I thought I could bring something to and be passionate about. A handful of authors trusted me with their work early on and it blossomed from there! Aside from ACX, the thing that helped me the most was that I’d been listening to all sorts of audiobooks for a long time, so had a bit of a head start because I knew first hand what makes people enjoy audiobooks.
- How do you manage to avoid burn-out? What do you do to maintain your enthusiasm for narrating?
- It can be difficult, because like any self-employment there’s no one there to keep you on track and manage your time for you. But I keep the energy up by choosing books that I really love the sound of, and finding characters that I love voicing. And I set myself really obscure targets, like after my next title comes out, I’ll have over a million words of audio that I’ve produced! It doesn’t really mean anything but it gives me a kind of ‘psychological high five’.
- Are you an audiobook listener? What about the audiobook format appeals to you?
- Yes, I got hooked on audiobooks with Harry Potter (the US Jim Dale versions, not that the Stephen Fry one’s aren’t amazing!) and was completely blown away by how Jim Dale brought to life the story and characters in a different way than when I sat and read the books. I got hooked on audiobooks because it’s a format that let me take in the story more fully that when I read physical books. I see them as two completely different experiences and today I listen to as many audiobooks as I can!
- What are your favorite and least favorite parts of narrating an audiobook?
- My favourite moments are voicing characters that I particularly enjoy, and coming up with interesting things to do with characters that bring them to life. I particularly love voicing villains, it’s a common thing actors say but villains are really fun! The thing I enjoy the least isn’t actually the narrating but the editing. I edit all my audiobooks and it can be a real chore, getting the pacing right and weeding out mistakes, agonizing over it for hours when I really just want to be narrating! But in the end it’s all worth it when I wrap up a project, especially if it’s a big one like Greatshadow!
- How closely do you prefer to work with authors?
- It varies, I know some writer’s like to have more input into the audiobook than others, and I’m happy with whatever level of interaction they want. I’ve been lucky enough to work with some great authors like Richard Storry (a lovely gent who I’ve met in person while I was in a show in London), John Nicholl, and Ambrose Ibsen, all of which I’ve recorded multiple titles for and who have all trusted me with their words. I’ve had a few occasions where authors have asked me to change pronunciations, but no one’s asked me to change a whole character’s voice yet!
- Who are your “accent inspirations”?
- Oooh there are a lot to choose from! There are so many unique voices that I’ve admired over the years, and they’re usually older British actors like Ian McKellen, John Hurt, Richard Burton, Tim Curry, Christopher Lee, Anthony Hopkins and John Cleese – that’s probably why I ‘age up’ in my narrative voice and when listeners see a photo of me they usually let me know they were expecting me to be at least 60! When it comes to finding accents for characters I sometimes think about my favourite films and steal or alter accents from them, particularly if they’re American characters. Bagheera from Jungle Book, Clarice Starling from Silence of the Lambs and Frank N Furter from Rocky Horror are just a few of the character’s I’ve ‘borrowed’ from!
- How did you decide how each character should sound in this title?
- Luckily with Greatshadow, the author, James Maxey provided me with a list of characters and their descriptions. The descriptions were so vivid that I came up with the voices fairly quickly. They are mostly ‘big’ characters, so I could feel comfortable going over the top and creating a really diverse cast.
- What types of things are harmful to your voice?
- Being a fairly quiet person in my everyday life I’d say that the worst thing you can do to your voice is not use it. The saying ‘if you don’t use it you lose it’ really applies here – I’ve noticed that if I have a few days off narrating, it can take an hour or so before I feel comfortable recording. If I take a few weeks off (usually if I’ve got something huge to edit), it can take longer. Basically the more I talk, the more rounded, deep and gravelly my voice becomes, which is what a lot of people enjoy in a narrator, particularly in the genres I work in.
- If you had the power to time travel, would you use it? If yes, when and where would you go?
- I definitely would, but as I found out when I listened to Stephen King’s 11.22.63 it could be risky! Aside from saving president’s lives, I’d use it to go and see life in Dickens time. The world changed a lot in the early 20th century, and I think it would be fascinating to see Europe before it was ripped apart by two huge wars. I’d also love to see Shakespeare’s company performing for Queen Elizabeth I, that’d be an acting lesson I wouldn’t want to miss.
- What type of the review comments do you find most constructive?
- Generally ones with really specific criticisms that point out things I can improve on. To get a perspective on the audiobook as a whole I look at the performance rating on Audible, so for instance if it’s had 100 ratings and is averaging 4.5/5 then I’m pleased with it, but then I go through and look for criticisms and stuff to work on.
- What bits of advice would you give to aspiring audiobook narrators?
- I would say firstly, before you try to narrate anything, listen to at least 100 audiobooks from all sorts of genres. This might sound like a lot, but think about how much theatre, film and TV you watch to help prepare for other forms acting, the worst thing you can do is think “it’s easy, the words are right in front of you, all I have to do is read them.” And the second thing I would say is a bit more cheesy, but I’ve found it to be true – if you really want to do it for a living, then keep going until it works!
- What’s next for you?
- I’ve got a lot of work on at the moment, two more titles by Ambrose Ibsen in the pipeline, one more by John Nicholl and another by Richard Storry. Then a two week break in Switzerland before I carry on trying to get up to 30 titles in total on Audible by the new year.
- Bonus question: Any funny anecdotes from inside the recording studio?
- Unfortunately most of the funny occurrences are unrepeatable, where I’ll misread something and accidentally replace it with an obscenity, which I then have to triple check is edited out! I think the most embarrassing thing I’ve done was last year, while I was uploading the chapters of a book for the author to approve, it was getting late and I accidentally uploaded the song Tiny Dancer by Elton John instead of one of the chapters. I had to explain I just clicked on the wrong thing, but it was pretty embarrassing!
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