I have three previous posts about Andrew Updegrove here on Green Comet. The first is about “egregious nonsense regarding ebook standards,” referencing his blog post on that topic where he explains why closed proprietary ebook formats are bad for readers and writers, and why they exist anyway. The second is about “open source pharma,” referencing his blog post about that and why it would be better for patients. The third one is a book review about his novel “The Lafayette Campaign,” where I give a mini review of the book, and also explain the experiment he is performing on “the evolving self-publishing labyrinth.”
Andrew has written three other thriller-style novels in the series, and the experiment continues. All of them have been self-published, and he has kept his readers informed about the many twists and turns he has encountered on the journey. Now he is taking another step that moves him into new territory. He has had one of the novels –The Alexandria Project — professionally recorded, with plans to record the rest in the near future. Here’s what his website says about the book:
“Thank you for your contribution to the Alexandria Project” is the message cyber attackers leave behind as they delete crucial data from computer networks across America. It’s not long before the nation is on the verge of collapse as unknown assailants take down Wall Street, the transportation system, government agencies, and the rest of the infrastructure upon which our internet-based economy depends.
As the public outcry builds, Frank Adversego, a brilliant but conflicted cyber security expert, finds himself under suspicion and trapped in a power play between the FBI and the CIA. Only by tracing the Alexandria Project back to the source can he clear himself.
What follows is a fast-paced, satirical tale of cyber sleuthing, international espionage, and nuclear brinksmanship that accurately portrays our increasing vulnerability to cyber attack. The shocking conclusion will leave you ready for the next Frank Adversego thriller – and concerned about where our headlong rush into the Internet Age is leading us.
That’s a pretty good synopsis of the book, so I don’t need to repeat it. I will say that I enjoyed it and found it to be a well-written thriller, with good characters in believable, if bizarre, situations. Updegrove also has a penchant for humor, and doesn’t miss the opportunity to drop a bit into the book.
All that being taken care of, this review is about the audio recording of the book. Andrew has chosen Tantor Media for the production, and the narrator is Roger Wayne, who has a solid and extensive track record. He has given the book its best chance by entrusting its recording to professionals.
I received a download code for a review copy and immediately went and got it. It consisted of a ZIP file of almost 400MB, which upon extraction revealed a single high quality cover image and thirty-two individual MP3 files — an introduction, thirty chapters and an epilogue. I couldn’t wait to get started listening to it.
I must admit that part of the reason I wanted to do this was so I could compare a professionally created audiobook with the ones I have made of the Green Comet trilogy. I wanted to see how mine hold up, and perhaps to pick up some pointers. I won’t bore you with the details, but mine turn out to hold up pretty well. And listening to a professional can’t help but make my own future readings better.
Roger Wayne reads The Alexandria Project in a straightforward manner, without sound effects, music or dramatic excess. He does use different voices for different characters, complete with some regional accents, and he does allow the inflection of his voice to communicate the drama of the moment, but he never goes overboard. I was impressed by how he kept the reader’s attention on the story, rather than the narrator.
I can comfortably recommend The Alexandria Project, both in book form and as an audiobook. It’s a good story, well written and well read.