Just to let listeners to high quality audiobooks know, Steven Pacey’s unabridged recording of The Heroes is now available on Audible.co.uk. Sorry to say, and due to circumstances entirely beyond my or anyone’s control, for the foreseeable future it won’t be available to US listeners, who will continue to get the previous version read by Michael Page. Apologies for that, Pacey fans, but such is the rights situation.
EDIT: After some consultation with my Dark Masters at Orion Publishing, I am reliably informed that Steven Pacey will also be reading A Red Country in due course, and that it will be the one and only version both sides of the pond.
Audiobooks, folks, audiobooks. Time was they were a real niche product, the preserve of long distance hauliers, sleepless children and the blind, but with the arrival of mp3 playing phones and digital downloads, they’re becoming a central part of the market no author can afford to ignore.
Due to peculiarities of the way rights were divided, Best Served Cold was actually my first book to be recorded as an audiobook, and it was done in the US, read by Michael Page. The Heroes was wrapped into that deal. It wasn’t until some time after that we got round to doing audiobooks of The First Law trilogy, this time in the UK, read by Steven Pacey. I actually went along to some of the recording, expecting to be somewhat embarrassed, and was very, very impressed by what he brought to it. I’ve heard plenty of criticism of the books in my time, but I don’t think I’ve ever heard anything but praise for Pacey’s reading. He is good, versatile, and very well suited to the task. So for some time I’ve been keen to get him to read Best Served Cold and The Heroes in the same style that we might present a consistent feel across all my books and lo! Let lovers of high quality audiobooks rejoice, for it has come to pass:
Best Served Cold is available now on Audible.co.uk. A Pacey-narrated The Heroes will, I understand, be following in due course, more information as I receive it. Now, hating to crush the dreams of those across the pond, but this version won’t be available in the US, where the audiobooks on offer will continue to be the Page versions, at least for the foreseeable future. I know it’s always a source of frustration when something freely available in one territory isn’t in another, but that’s just how the rights cookie crumbles in this case.
So they’re currently recording the audiobooks of the First Law, due out in June as downloads, and I dropped into the studio on Monday to see how it was going. They’re unabridged, so it’s taking them sixteen full days of recording, and when I got there they were just starting on Before They Are Hanged.
I was expecting it to be more than a little bit cringy, if I’m honest. Just something slightly weird about the whole idea of someone else reading something that’s so personal. I was sure some of the pronunciations would be wrong, and some of the voices would be weird, and to a certain degree some of them were. But I have to say overall I was hugely impressed. It’s being read by Steven Pacey, and I thought on the whole he’d really captured the spirit of it beautifully. The number of different voices he switches effortlessly between seriously is something to behold. He even manages to make my prose sound good. So, as with Chris McGrath’s paintings of the characters, it’s an interpretation, but it seemed like a bloody successful one to me. Actually really looking forward to listening to the rest…
I’ve been getting quite a few emails about the absence of kindle editions of late, which I am now very pleased to announce are available via amazon.com:
The Blade Itself
Before They are Hanged
Last Argument of Kings
Best Served Cold
An audiobook of Best Served Cold has also recently come out from Tantor Media, which is available as a download from Audible or in oldskool physical compact disk form , though one should be aware it is unabridged and therefore somewhere around 30 hours, or 22 cds, in length. Wow, that should keep y’all busy. This is an American version, and though I haven’t listened yet myself, I imagine it’s an American reading, which would seem a little strange to me, though probably not if you were American. There are supposed to be some British readings of the First Law appearing at some point, but they’ve been delayed some time due to contractual wranglings of some kind at a level far above me, and at the moment they’re slated on Orion’s website to appear in June this year. So we’ll see…