LibriVox – Byron’s Siege of Corinth

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I’ve worked with Librivox to produce free audiobook version of The Siege of Corinth by Lord Byron: in addition adding an enhanced version to the Internet Archive.

In this moving poem, Byron recounts the final, desperate resistance of the Venetians on the day the Ottoman army stormed Acrocorinth: revealing the closing scenes of the conflict through the eyes of Lanciotto – a Venetian renegade fighting for the Ottomans – and Francesca – the beautiful maiden daughter of the governor of the Venetian garrison: Minotti.

Lanciotto – whose impasioned suit for Francesca’s hand had been previously refused by Minotti: had later fled the Venetian empire after being falsely denounced by anonymous accusers via the infamous “Lion’s Mouth” at the Doge’s palace. Enlisting under the Turkish flag, Lanciotto repudiates both his nationality and his religion: only to be challenged by Fransesca herself the night before the final assault to repent his apostasy, to forgive his accusers, and to save the Venetian garrison from certain slaughter.

– Can Lanciotto – after years of unjust persecution and betrayal – bring himself to relent and save the Venetian garrison now on the verge of wholesale slaughter?
– Will Francesca’s years of constant, faithful devotion succeed in winning the renegade back from his suicidal slide to perdition?

Download Byron’s The Siege of Corinth audiobook.

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Librivox – Barrett-Browning’s The Battle of Marathon

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I’ve worked with Librivox to produce free audiobook version of The Battle of Marathon by Elizabeth Barrett Browning.

Writing in 1820, Browning retells powerfully The Battle of Marathon: during which the Athenian state defeated the much larger invading force during the first Persian invasion of Greece.

When Darius the Great orders his immense army march west to annex additional territories; no-one in the Persian court predicted that some fractious, independent Greek city-states stood any chance against the Persian super-power. And yet at Marathon in 490BC, Darius’ plans received a decisive check in the brilliant Athenian offensive overseen by the aged but hardy Miltiades: who over-ran the Persian army just landed upon their coasts, cutting their opponents down to the last man.

But some of the Greeks’ enemies are more than mortal: Aphrodite herself swears vengeance for the actions of their forebears in destroying her beloved Troy generations ago.

– Can Miltiades continue successfully guiding his fellow Athenians to future greatness; when rival factions lead by Themistocles and Aristides grow only stronger day by day?

– Can even Jove himself protect the Athenians he loves from the whimsical – but fatal – wiles of his daughter, the goddess of love?

Download Browning’s The Battle of Marathon audiobook.

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Librivox – Scott’s Lord of the Isles

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I’ve worked with Librivox to produce free audiobook version of The Lord of the Isles by Sir Walter Scott.

In stunning narrative poetry, the story begins during the time when Robert Bruce, Earl of Carrick has been hunted out of Scotland into exile by the English and their allies. Bruce returns over sea from the Island of Rachrin: but is forced to land close to hostile forces at Artonish Castle on the seacoast of Argylshire. Seeking refuge from tempestuous seas, Bruce begs shelter from Ronald, Lord of the Isles: inadvertently on the day of his marriage feast to the beautiful Edith of Lorn.

Bruce’s very presence is enough to interrupt the nuptials and to break up the festivities: the guests quickly polarise into two armed and equally matched factions: one ready to raise Bruce to the Scottish crown, the other ready to slay him for desecration and murder. The combatants are dispersed with no bloodshed only by the combined offices of Lord Ronald himself, aided by a visiting Abbot: whereupon Bruce quickly removes himself to first the Island of Sky, and then Ayrshire: raising the an army willing to rout the English and re-establish fight for Scottish independence.

Bruce begins to win a steady stream of victories as his armies march inevitably towards Bannockburn. There, Bruce confronts Scotland’s formidable enemy – led by the son of the Hammer of the Scots: the English outnumbering the Scots by more than two to one.

– Can Bruce – the so-called fugitive, traitor, and turn-coat – succeed against the massed might of England? – Will the beautiful Edith choose to side with her blood-relations – who fight for England; or with Lord Ronald, her betrothed – who marches to battle behind Scotland’s Bruce?

Download Scott’s The Lord of the Isles audiobook.

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Librivox – Neihardt’s The Divine Enchantment

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I’ve worked with Librivox to produce free audiobook version of Neihardt’s The Divine Enchantment.

Plot summary: When the Princess Devanaguy falls into a deep trance-like sleep, she is visited by the god Vishnu: who causes her to fall pregnant with his holy child, Christna.

Devanaguy’s sleep is prolonged supernaturally by Vishnu: allowing the god to relate to her his divine secrets through a series of ecstatic visions. Among the mysteries revealed to Devanaguy, she is shown how the gods will shortly powerfully intervene directly in human affairs. When the princess finally re-awakens: she is awestruck by her experiences, and bursts into a spontaneous rhapsody of praise.

Throughout her rapturous intercourse with Vishnu, Devanaguy boldly continues to desire answers to mankind’s profoundest questionings:

– is it possible for mere mortals to comprehend the divine wisdom of the gods?

– can be it really be true that divine beings care enough for mankind to want to intervene in human affairs: to do them good?

Download Neihardt’s The Divine Enchantment audiobook.

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Librivox – Khayyám – The Rubáiyát of Omar Khayyám

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I’ve worked with Librivox and the Internet Archive to produce free audiobook and (illustrated) pdf versions respectively of The Rubáiyát of Omar Khayyám.

The Rubáiyát of Omar Khayyám is so-named from the Persian word rubáiyát – a Persian word denoting a specific type of four-line stanza. Omar’s Rubaiyat is a beautiful anthology of Islamic wisdom literature: originally penned in medieval Persian during the late 11th century AD.

The best known English translations are those by Edward Fitzgerald: his fifth (and last) translation includes a mere 101 quatrains – a fraction of Omar’s original work. Fitzgerald’s selection loosely groups quatrains by theme; rendering quatrains into English as four-line, rhymed stanzas.

Omar’s writings are pervaded by the consciousness of the transient quality of life. In his Rubáiyát, the author ponders the limits of human knowledge and morality: and confronts his readers point-blank with the difficult questions that challenge every generation:

– what are the ultimate benefits – if any – to be derived from human knowledge?
– given human mortality; is is best to guide our lives by the dictates of reason, or sensuality?
– what happens to my soul when I die?
– why did God – the Creator – give me existence?

Download The Rubáiyát of Omar Khayyám: audiobook | pdf

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Librivox – Byron – Lara, A Tale

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I’ve worked with Librivox to produce a free audiobook version of Lord Byron’s Lara, A Tale.

This powerful poem narrates the fateful return of Count Lara to the British Isles after spending years abroad traveling the orient.

Returning to his patrimony with a retinue consisting of one foreign-born page, Count Lara resumes the management of his landed estates. Lara’s first efforts are crowned with success: only to be undermined by the jealousy and envy of his his peers. After a successful duel to defend his honour, the count becomes inexorably caught up in local blood-feuds; which quickly escalate to open warfare between his own followers and the private armies of his enemies.

Count Lara remains a bold and skillful leader: is he strong enough to triumph yet over adverse fortune?

And what is the secret of his mysterious foreign page: who left kindred and homeland behind in order to follow Count Lara to the uttermost ends of the earth?

Download Byron’s Lara, A Tale audiobook.

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Librivox – Scott – Harold the Dauntless

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I’ve worked with Librivox to produce a free audiobook version of Sir Walter Scott’s Harold the Dauntless.

Scott’s Harold the Dauntless is a rhymed, romantic, narrative-poem by Sir Walter Scott. Written in 1817, it weaves together elements of popular English legends and folklore using dramatic themes.

The poem recounts the exploits and the personal spiritual journey of a doubtful knight errant – Harold the son of Danish Count Witikind: who seeks to recover his lands and wed a suitable spouse. Fire-breathing Harold is as much a stranger to love as he is addicted to dangerous adventure: yet his own confrontations with the spirit-world shake his faith in supposed omnipotence of the traditional Norse pantheon.

Can a blood-thirsty warrior like Harold ever feel the raptures of love?

Can a man born to cherish gods of war really wish to exchange them for a God of peace?

Download Scott’s Harold the Dauntless audiobook:

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