Tuesday 23 September 2014

Review of Audiobook "Wrath of the Furies" by Robert Southworth

I don't often listen to audio books, but I don't really know why. When I do, I enjoy them. They are a great way to consume a book during a time when I would otherwise be unable to read; whilst driving, for example. I commute every day, and usually I listen to the radio or music, and whilst quite pleasant, the huge list of books that I would like to read is not getting any shorter.

In the last year or so, I have listened to a couple of stories during my commute, but I usually find that the books I want to read are not available at my local library in audio format and I am not keen on just listening to the books on offer for the hell of it.

So, I jumped at the chance to listen to a free copy of a new audio book from an author I've been meaning to read for a while. The book was Wrath of the Furies by Robert Southworth and it is one of the new tranche of audio books that are being produced by independent writers through ACX on Audible.


The blurb on the book is as follows:

The new magistrate of Justitia has a difficult task before him. Rome is a bed of deceit and murder and with the Emperor travelling the empire, it falls to him to keep order. However, with a highly skilled assassin slaughtering members of Rome's elite and a mysterious organisation plotting to take power in the Emperor's absence, the magistrate will face constant danger. Magistrate Lucius Magro Decius must learn the ways of Rome with all hast or find himself bleeding in the dirt.
That tells you all you need to know really. The story is pacey and definitely action-packed. There is never a dull moment as it whips along from one murder or confrontation to the next. This is a good thing overall, but I did find some of the pacing a little patchy. There are some scenes which have a lot of attention to detail and characterisation and then others seem to be rattled through, seemingly desperate to get to the next event.

This patchiness was also apparent with some of the characters, most of which were rounded and believable, with strong dialogue, but a few felt as if they'd been squeezed into the story. I questioned why a couple of characters were there at all, apart from to move the story along.

Having said all that, I enjoyed the story. It is like a cross between David Baldacci and Ben Kane. Southworth obviously loves the grimy side of Roman life and the settings feel authentic. The military characters are suitably earthy and the politicians slick and slimy. The love interests are a little forced, but the addition of them adds to the emotional connection with the main characters and their quest for justice.

The plot carried me along for the most part, but I did find the end payout slightly anticlimactic. The twist at the end was good, but felt a bit signposted by the change in writing style.

The Wrath of the Furies certainly never drags, and I looked forward to the commute each day to find out what was going to happen next.

My verdict?

A solid, well-told, action-packed whodunit historical fiction story. I would certainly listen to, or read another story by Southworth in the future.


The book is narrated by Casey Jones. I don't know anything about him (a quick Google search didn't shed much light) but I thought I detected a slight Antipodean twang to his accent. In general his reading was strong, nuanced and easy to listen to.

He gives each character a distinct voice, which I liked, but there comes a point where perhaps less is more.

Some of his character voices sounded a little too much like impersonations of Russell Crowe, and his female characters, at times veered a little too close to Monty Python territory for my liking.

I haven't read the book, only listened to it, but I got the impression that it gained from being read aloud. The language is flowery at times, but Jones' tackles it well and his voice lends it a certain gravitas.


I've not used Audible before, and the experience was smooth and easy. I logged in using my Amazon account details, selected the book and downloaded it. It was that simple. As I wanted to listen to it in the car, I installed the Android app which allowed me to download the book to my phone. I then connected my phone to my car stereo using Bluetooth and that was it. Whenever I got in the car and turned on the Bluetooth, it connected and started playing from where it had left off. You could, of course, use Audible in other ways, but this was a simple and very effective process and I would thoroughly recommend it if you have a Bluetooth-enabled device and car stereo.

Overall score

4 out of 5 stars


Wrath of the Furies on Amazon.co.uk
Wrath of the Furies on Audible.co.uk
Robert Southworth's Facebook page