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On one level... Melville’s tale is an historical adventure telling the story of life aboard ship shortly after the mutiny at Spithead in 1797. Billy is taken from a homeward bound merchantman to serve on the ‘Seventy Four’ HMS Indomitable. He falls foul of Claggart, the ‘Master at Arms’, and the final confrontation results in death. Billy becomes an unwilling martyr - what passes for justice must be implemented because of the rebellious climate of the time. However, below the surface lie some of Melville’s thematic obsessions: the aristocratic savage placed against an inhumanity born of service in time of war, innocence overtaken by fate and the worthy encompassed by the inevitable. The natures of evil and conscience are explored and ‘Billy Budd’ is the author’s “last word upon the strange mystery of himself and human destiny”. Melville is regarded by many as the finest author America has produced.
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About Assembled Stories: Over the years the national press have reviewed Assembled Stories titles as "excellent", "remarkable", "entrancing", "superb", "magic for sure", "masterly", "wonderful", "a class act" and "a splendid example of audio at its best".
"Peter Joyce is the most remarkable one-man band in audiobook publishing. Joyce, an experienced actor, reads them all himself." (The Independent)