Title: Pawn of Prophecy
Author: David Eddings
Narrator: Cameron Beierle
Length: Unabridged (10 h, 24 m)
Published: September 2007 (Books in Motion)
Start: 4 December 2010
Finished: 15 December 2010
From Audible.com: Long ago, so the Storyteller claimed, the evil god Torak sought dominion and drove men and gods to war. But Belgarath the Sorcerer led men to reclaim the Orb that protected the West. So long as it lay at Riva, the prophecy went, men would be safe. That was only a story, and Garion did not believe in magic dooms, even though the man without a shadow had haunted him for years. Brought up on a quiet farm by his Aunt Pol, how could he know that the Apostate planned to wake dread Torak, or that he would be led on a quest of unparalleled magic and danger by those he loved, but did not truly know. For yet a little while, his dreams of innocence remained safe, untroubled by knowledge of his strange heritage. For a little while… thus begins The Belgariad, an epic fantasy of immense scope set against a history of 7,000 years. It tells of the struggles between ancient gods and mighty Kings, and of men in strange lands facing fated events, all bound by a prophecy that must be fulfilled.
Why this book?
I first discovered this series in the mid-80s, when we were stationed in Heidelberg, Germany. The Belgaraid was my first exposure to this type of epic fantasy — the Chronicles of Narnia was the closest I’d ever got before this. David Eddings told a complete epic story in five books, all under 400 pages apiece. After attempting to read Robert Jordan’s Wheel of Time books in the late 90s, I realized that Eddings had spoiled me for longer epics like Jordan’s. I can’t remember which book I finally gave up on — I just remember feeling frustrated with keeping track of what was going on with various characters and what the ORIGNIAL goal was in Jordan’s series. In five books of the Belgariad, the mystical object is recovered, the lost king is revealed, Light triumphs over Dark, and the hero gets the girl.
Eddings went on to write the Mallorean, a five-book sequel to the Belgariad, two more books connected to the series, and publish his series’s “bible”. Yet, the reader does not have to read any of them. The Belgariad stands on it’s own.
The Narrator: Cameron Beierle
I was excited to learn that this series was available in audiobook format. However, the first time I heard a sample of Mr. Beierle’s reading, I was a bit worried. It sounded a little mechanical to me. After listening to samples from other narrators, I realized it might not be a problem with the Mr. Beierle, since several others sounded a bit tinny. I checked it out of the library and took a chance.
Mr. Beierle has a pleasant reading voice. I think he has an accent because, even though he carefully enunciates his words during the narrative parts, a word will sound a little off occasionally and a bit of his natural speaking voice comes through. Some people might be turned off by this, but I don’t think it detracted from the overall listening experience.
I also thought that Mr. Beierle did a great job on some of the voices and accents. I particularly liked his Mister Wolf. I could picture the old man and I thought the voice fit him well, regardless of which guise he was in. I also liked that the narrator made the Chereks sound Nordic, as they are modeled after the vikings. Their “J”s have a “Y” sound, so Jarvik — which I’ve always mentally pronounced as “JAR-vik” — was pronounced “YAR-vik”. I though it added a level of authenticity to the story.
However, when it came to other characters like Silk and Durnik, he wasn’t always consistent with his accents, even in the middle of a conversation. With Silk — my favorite character — one expect the little thief to change his speech patterns and accent to fit whatever roll he is playing at the time (Ambar, Kheldar, etc.), but not in mid-sentence.
My love of the book, and my familiarity with the characters and the story allowed me to enjoy the experience, despite the accent quirks. I plan to continue listening to the rest of the series, and I plan to purchase my own copies some day.
Story: 4.5 Stars
Overall Reading: Very Good
For 2010 “pages read”: 258 pages (own a paperback copy of book)