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.