Down Under Has It — The Lords of the North Winners

A little history before I tell you something about the two winners of The Lords of the North audio books. A few years ago I had a giveaway of this book, and after I announced the contest had begun, the BBC contacted me to ask me if I wanted some more books. I said, “Sure, just let me know how best to order them from you, because it has been a bit difficult.” The woman I spoke with said, “No, we’ll give them to you. Just tell us how many you want and where to send them.” You could have knocked me down with a feather, but I recovered long enough to ask for three books. I wish I had been more on the ball and asked for a dozen. :D I gave away two of the books and planned to give away the other but never got around to it until now.

In the meantime, I found a windfall of books and was able to obtain several others from a dealer for a decent price. I’ve been sitting on those for at least a year. But my friends, life has been chaos at my house, so yeah, this is the first opportunity I’ve really had to do this, and I say that because most of my posts are by the seat of my pants, but a giveaway has to be more planned out. Okay enough of this, onto the winners. (is that a comma splice? I’m never sure. Yes, I suck at grammar).

Because of so much interest in the audio book, I decided to award two winners. The first winner will receive the 10 CD set, and the second winner will receive a 1 CD set. Other copies i have will be awarded another time. Probably later this year.

Being my usual curious self, I wanted to know about these two winners, what there interest was in the book and about being fans of Richard Armitage.

The first winner is Carolyn:

A beautiful beach in Adelaide

A beautiful beach in Adelaide

I have tried everything to get this set and all to no avail – my life is now complete. The only thing to surpass this would be to meet RA, and with Adelaide being a bit of an Australian backwater I don’t hold much hope for this – still I didn’t expect to win this fabulous prize and look what happened!

I’m relatively new to the world of Richard Armitage, although, now that I’m going through a retrospective of his work I realise that I’ve seen him many times over the years as I’m a big fan of BBC drama.

My sister introduced me to him (metaphorically speaking) about 18 months ago and I’ve been in awe ever since of his talent, thoughtfulness, humility and not forgetting his stunning good looks. This ‘introduction’ came at difficult time for me and I found his hard work, good humour and determined attitude quite an inspiration, which encouraged me to take steps to get my own life back on track – a work in progress…

More of Adelaide

More of Adelaide

I think I’ve seen every you-tube compilation, and interview, and if I could, I would have seen him in London in the Crucible, however, I did the second best thing and saw him in the Old Vic Cinemalive, at two of the three screenings here in Adelaide last month. I continue to be amazed by the way he immerses himself in the character and his power in a live performance.

Between my sister and myself I believe we have every DVD he appears in and NOW every audio book. We’ve also seen his big screen movies whenever they are screened (usually more than once) and then get the DVD for the collection.

I’m also part way through the book ‘North & South’, I’ve finished ‘Urban Grimshaw and the Shed Crew’ and I’m waiting with bated breath for the cinema release. I can’t wait to see his portrayal of ‘Chop’.

Now that I will have this set, if there’s something of his I haven’t seen, read or heard it must be very well hidden!

Thank you, thank you, thank you

Carolyn, thank you so much for sharing that and for the lovely photos of Adelaide! Oh, and you do not live in a backwater. I do. LOL! And I just have a feeling you are going to meet up with Richard Armitage. That’s my gut talking to me, and it’s usually right! :D

The next winner is Bluebunny:

I am delighted to have found myself as one of the winners of the competition run by Frenz to have the audiobook The Lords Of The North by Bernard Cornwell read by Richard Armitage. This audiobook will be a valued and rare addition to my vast collection of Richard Armitage works. I wish to thank Frenz and the BBC for this competition. It goes to show that the BBC take notice of fan websites and are checking up on blogs. I am thrilled to have found a website that shares my interest in all things Armitage like this website.

How I came to be a Richard Armitage fan is quite simple, I saw a random episode of Robin Hood in 2009 and thought who is that guy playing Guy of Gisborne? I wasn’t hooked on RA at that moment in time but throughout 2009-2010 was keeping an eye out for what he was acting in every once in a while. From watching Spooks I was hooked on Lucas but actually fell in love with the whole Spooks series from start to finish. When he was cast in The Hobbit I was overjoyed because he was in my part of the world the Southern Hemisphere.

In 2012 I was quite randomly on holiday in New Zealand and was able to go to the Hobbit Premiere in Wellington. I saw Richard Armitage first hand in the flesh and was lucky enough to get an autograph from the man. Anyone who says he can’t get any better looking hasn’t seen him in person. Since Wellington I have become a huge Richard Armitage fan. I have most of Richard Armitage works but my collection is still not complete. I know for me being a RA fan makes me a happier person because the man is well just a man but he has a conscience and seems to be genuine. These days people like him don’t exist. Thanks again for the lovely competition.

Bluebunny, well said. His character is wonderful to observe, and I’m so glad you got to meet him! Maybe you can advise Carolyn? :D

To both of you, thank you so much for sharing, and please know it was my pleasure to give away these books. I hope you enjoy them immensely.

Monday was Bernard Cornwell’s Birthday

Yep, I know it was Cornwell’s birthday ’cause he’s my friend on Facebook, and FB reminded me. No, I don’t know how old he is. We’re not that close. And since I don’t get on Facebook much, I missed the notice earlier, but today I saw it, and now I’m going to deal with a loose end.

I’ve got some audio books the BBC sent me in order to give them away. In particular, The Lords of the North as read by Richard Armitage.

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This is one of the best reads by Richard Armitage, but I’m not sure it’s for everyone. Nah, you’ll like it if you’re an RA fan and especially if you’re nuts about his voice. You may also become a Bernward Cornwell fan. I speak from experience. Oh sure, I started off with a rabid need to have this book simply because Richard Armitage narrated it. About Cornwell I knew very little. And it was a helluva feat to track down my first copy of this book, and I spent — I’m not telling you how much money I spent to acquire my copy — a chunk. When I was done listening to it, I knew i had to read the first two books in Cornwell’s Warrior Chronicles aka Saxon Stories. Yep, that’s right LOTN is the third book in that series. I’ve now read six of the books, and Cornwell just published the eighth book, The Empty Throne.. I’ve gone on to read some of his Sharpe Series as well.

If you would like to win this audio book, just make a reply on this post between now and the end of the day on March 4th. Be sure to include your email address in the email field of the comment, and that way I can contact you if you win. Winner will be chosen randomly from the comments. I’ll announce the winner on Friday, March 6.

Please note: if you have never commented on this blog, your comment will be moderated, which means it may not show up immediately. As to the deadline, it will be the time you actually make the comment that counts toward it and not when it’s been approved to show up publicly in the comment section of the blog. Because I always like to give people every available opportunity, the deadline is the last possible time on March 4, 2015 which means midnight GMT-12 (aka Baker Island Time — a place about 3,000_ west of Hawaii; how much more fair can I make that? :D ) When you make your comment, you must include your email address in the email field. For your own privacy, please do not put it in the body of your comment. That is not necessary. Also, “Likes” are not the equivalent of a comment. They never have been, but I’m making that clear in this note. You must make an actual comment.

All of that aside, good luck!

Additional note: I also have a few extra copies of some of the Heyer audio books. I’ll give those away this year too.

Dreaming about Uhtred

Truly, it would be a dream to see Richard Armitage in this:

BBC AMERICA Announces New Drama Series The Last Kingdom
Published: July 9, 2014

An adaptation of Bernard Cornwell’s best-selling book series by BAFTA nominated and Royal Television Society award-winning writer Stephen Butchard

New York – July 9, 2014 – BBC AMERICA, Carnival Films – the Golden Globe® and Emmy® Award-winning producers of Downton Abbey – and BBC Two announced today that production will begin this fall on The Last Kingdom, a new historical 8 x 60 drama series.

BAFTA nominated and RTS award-winning writer Stephen Butchard, (Good Cop, Five Daughters, House of Saddam), will adapt Bernard Cornwell’s best-selling franchise “The Saxon Stories” for the screen. Cornwell is also known for his much-loved “Sharpe” novels that became the long-running TV series of the same name starring Sean Bean and aired on BBC AMERICA.

Set in the year 872, when many of the separate kingdoms of what we now know as England have fallen to the invading Vikings, the great kingdom of Wessex has been left standing alone and defiant under the command of King Alfred the Great.

Against this turbulent backdrop lives our hero, Uhtred. Born the son of a Saxon nobleman, he is orphaned by the Vikings and then kidnapped and raised as one of their own. Forced to choose between the country of his birth and the people of his upbringing, his loyalties are ever tested. What is he – Saxon or Viking? On a quest to claim his birthright, Uhtred must tread a dangerous path between both sides if he is to play his part in the birth of a new nation and, ultimately, seek to recapture his ancestral lands.

The rest here

Those of you who are so adept at PhotoShop need to make us a cool graphic to swoon over. :D I’m serious despite my grin. It would be an even bigger grin if there was a graphic.

Wait a minute. Google yields all sorts of goodies. Here we go:

uthredviv1

and another one:

uthredviv2

These are both by Vivayn and can be found at RichardArmitageNet.com

Yes, my grin just got much bigger, and for anyone wanting to make their own, some inspiration:

Thorin cum Uhtred

Before you ask, no, I have not forgotten I promised to have a giveaway of Lords of the North audio book.

Lords of the North Giveaway Contest

LOTN-1

As I write this, I think it’s almost 9:00pm in the UK. If you hurry and get in your entry by midnight UK time, you might have a chance to win a copy of Lords of the North by Bernard Cornwell as Narrated by Richard Armitage. Details here.

I’m not going to go on and on about this book. I’ve already done it several times and so have some others both here and here. And all the gushing was entirely justified!

Speaking of Bernard Cornwell

bernardOh, you weren’t. Well, he has been on my mind after reading about Amazon acquiring rights to some of AudioGo’s books. That includes Lords of the North, but as Ali at RichardArmitageNet.com pointed out, there is no Richard Armitage version for sale at Audible. It is only the Jamie Glover edition.

I have nothing against Jamie Glover, but have you heard Richard Armitage read this book?!

Kaprekar and I waxed on about it here where I also have a sample. Of course you can watch some video clips on YouTube, but somehow I think you don’t get the same effect as when you only listen.

Let me explain the full effect it has had on many of us. We went onto read all of Cornwell’s books in the Saxon series (there are currently seven) and some of us are working our way through Cornwell’s Sharpe series as well as some other of his books. And should I even mention how I bought Richard Armitage’s Heyer readings beginning with Sylvester? Me, the person who is not a fan of Regency romance novels and long criticized them for their ability to give sugar shock, buying them in audio form? Yeah.

Richard reads so well he gets you caught up in something you don’t want to end even when the writing is not your favorite. But when it is good writing, it often helps you discover a wonderful author and then you really cannot stop.

This makes me wonder who will let go of their resentment of Shakespeare being foisted on them in high school and/or college only to embrace the Bard and many of his others works after this book Hamlet comes out in May.

As for Lords of the North, Ali is doing her part to get at least one copy into the hands of fans with a giveaway contest. Details here.

And when Ali’s contest is done, I’m going to have one. A few years ago, AudioGO kindly sent me several copies to give away. I did do a giveaway on blog, but I still have one copy, so I’m going to be looking to give it to someone who really, really wants it. Details of my contest coming later.

Coming up next or near next, I resurrect my drum banging with respect to The Hobbit audio book. Get ready.

edit: I may be wrong about Amazon owning Richard’s version of the book. See Ali’s comment below.

Saxons Never Sounded So Good

Today’s guest post from Heidi Russell visits my favorite aspect of Richard Armitage. He’s a fantastic actor who can say volumes without speaking, and yes, he’s good looking. But it all pales when confronted with his voice alone.

Every weekday between 2:30 at 3:15 p.m., Richard Armitage saves this Damsel in Distress from the boredom of excruciatingly long red lights, good-old Kentucky boys who dangerously cut me off in their rust-encrusted pick-up trucks and a line of minivans that snakes around an elementary school parking lot like Smaug’s reptilian tail.

Yes, ladies, I am ensconced in the knightly protection of The Voice … that baritone resonant voice that sends delicious tingles down our collective spines and straight into our sinews (don’t they say “sinews” a lot in romance novels? ;-) … as I listen to RA reading, Lords of the North by Bernard Cornwell.

As long as RA continues to read, my car might as well be on auto pilot during that daily commute, and he might as well be at the steering wheel, telling me the story as he wends his way through traffic. (After all, I’ve seen him as Lucas North handling a sports car like it’s cornering on rails through London, so I’d have no reservations relinquishing my down-to-earth, practical Chevy on two-lane roads in horse country.)

I’ve heard people absolutely gush over RA’s reading of Lords of the North, but it wasn’t until someone sent me a copy as a gift that I fully comprehended the magnitude of his performance.

So without further ado, here are 10 reasons why this audio book has to go to the top of your must-listen-to list:

1. He makes you believe he’d be a great guy to hang out with … just by the way he delivers the story. You know that famous Guy of Gisborne smirk? You can hear it, just like you can feel that John Thornton smolder when RA turns his back. I bet he’s good at mixing martinis while he regales friends with stories, too.
2. He makes you laugh … with the one-two-punch flow of the dialog between characters. I can’t count how many times I’ve busted out laughing because of how this guy takes an ordinary sentence and infuses it with searing sarcasm.
3. He conjures an image of the main character’s fantastic physique … with his husky growls. Right out of the gate, I had an image of Sir Guy telling me this story … just with a different name. Black leather never looked so good in an audio book, let me tell you.
4. He leaves you craving for him to play Richard III … by the passion with which he story tells. After hearing RA give this book his all, I really do want him to achieve that dream to produce that particular film.
5. He oozes chivalry … with the way he reads passages about gingerly putting a woman’s fingers to his lips or tilting her chin to gently kiss her in the starlight. His mouth might taste like steak and whiskey, but I wouldn’t push him away, not after hearing those lines.
6. He delivers a top-rate professional performance … even though it’s “just a book,” not a stage or a 3-D IMAX film screen. Close your eyes, and you would hear the same passion delivered on Broadway or in a blockbuster film. Give the boy with the blue eyes an Oscar already.
7. He’s brainy … with his pronunciation of Saxon dialect and Danish accents. He jumps from character to character with so much skill that you’d think Derek Jacobi was one of the readers.
8. He exudes brute strength … in his reading of fight scenes. I bet there’s not a pickle jar in the world that this guy can’t open.
9. He exhibits taste and class … just in his decision to read this book. It’s jaw-drop writing, but it absolutely needed his polished performance to shine.
10. And finally, he’s sexier than Russell Crowe in “Gladiator” … Now I lusted after Russell Crowe for a good eight years after seeing that movie. So if I tell you that’s the case, just by listening to an audiobook, you’d better damn well take me seriously.

Can’t find Lords of the North on Amazon? I couldn’t, either. Hit your local library and ask them to order it for you. Or better yet, let’s petition Amazon to cough up some copies. It’s one of the most amazing audiobooks I’ve heard, and so far, it’s a wonder that I haven’t driven my car off the road listening to it.

Tarry no more, and get it today.

Thank you, that is all.

A few words about obtaining a copy of Lords of the North. There is more than one audio version of this book. The two most seen for sale are the one read by Richard Armitage and the one read by Jamie Glover. So if you see the book somewhere for purchase, make sure it’s the one you want. Also, Amazon sometimes has used copies of Richard’s version. They have one right now for $50. As soon as this post is made, that will probably be history, but hey, maybe not. You can go here to check it out.

AudioGo (BBC’s Audiobook division) is the original distributor, and awhile back they were so kind to send me several copies gratis. I gave away one of them, and I plan on doing giveaways for the rest. You can wait for that, or you can order online if you’re in the U.K. If you’re not in the U.K. you cannot order online but must call or write their offices to order (info at bottom of this page). They do not have rights to sell it online in the U.S. or some others countries. Just know that it takes them a while to ship, or it did the ones I originally ordered. But it’s so worth it! I did get some additional copies through a friend in the UK (thank you, friend. :D), and if you know someone there, you might be able to do the same; otherwise, be patient and wait for me to mount another giveaway. LOL!

If I learn anything else about it, I’ll let you know, or hopefully, some others will chime in. And if you contact AudioGo, will you tell them I sent you. Thanks. :D

More coming up soon about RA’s voice and his audiobook work with potential for more.

Lords of the North Audio Book Winner

I thought this would never get here! My very juvenile self has been dying to give these books away to people who really enjoy Richard Armitage. Actually, I’m just announcing one of the winners. The other one I haven’t heard from yet, so who knows? Maybe I’ll draw a second time for that one? ;-) No, I have a feeling I’ll hear from them. :D

But I have to confess this has been so much fun that I want to do it again sometime soon. I have two more copies of LOTN and a little stockpile of Heyer books, so I’ll definitely be doing it! And I have to thank AudioGo again for supplying the books in this giveaway. Thank you so much; the gift helps prolong the fun for next time. Until then:

And of course I had to ask Anakris to respond:

Hi Frenz!

These are wonderful news! Coming to work in a rainy day like this and find out that I won this audio book… just made my day!

You asked me to tell you something about myself, so I have to ask you back: “Me, as a person? (…) I have 45 years to talk about”. (I keep feeling butterflies in my stomach every time I hear that). Although I have all those years to talk about (I wont, that’s a promise) I only came to know about Richard Armitage, early this year, through a dear friend of mine who send me a link to a video of The Vicar of Dibley, warning me on the side effects of the expression “well, there you go”. And there I went! From that day on a hurricane of RA information took over my computer, my TV was flooded with new DVDs, films and TV Series, and my MP3 is almost reaching melting point. Venetia as read by Richard Armitage, kept me company while waiting for my children to get out of school, everyday during 2nd period and now Lords of the North will do the same during the 3rd one! Again, all this I owe it to my friend Sandra (who is also a frequent reader of this blog) so I think I should publicly thank her from the bottom of my heart and obviously, I’ll be sharing this piece of melting chocolate voice with her!

Reading to your blog, Frenz, is now part of my daily routine, and while doing it I find myself many times nodding at your comments and thanking you for being so accurate and objective. Talking about RA being handsome, and hunky, and breathtaking, and (I’ll leave it here) it’s easy but I think all of us here agree that RA is so much more than just a pretty face and you really honour that.

Keep on the good writing and, again, thank you for this opportunity!

Anakris
From Portugal

Anakris so glad to meet you, and thank you so much for the kind words. It’s been my pleasure. Truly.

Be sure to tell us how you like the book!

Original screencap courtesy of RichardArmitageNet.Com