Tess of the D'Urbervilles

  • by Thomas Hardy
  • Narrated by Peter Firth
  • 14 hrs and 23 mins
  • Unabridged Audiobook

Publisher's Summary

Exclusively from Audible
When John Durbeyfield discovers a family connection to the ancient Norman family, the D'Urbervilles, the fate of daughter Tess is transformed.
Sent by her ambitious parents to visit her wealthy D'Urberville cousins, Tess attracts the attention of the unscrupulous Alec. Seduced and discarded by him and alone in the world, she finds work as a milkmaid and the love of Angel Clare. Yet his love cannot accept the truth about Tess's past.
Considered Hardy's masterwork it presents a major departure from conventional Victorian fiction, causing controversy and mixed reviews on first publication due to it challenging Victorian sexual morals. The work was subtitled 'A Pure Woman Faithfully Presented' as Hardy felt that its heroine was a virtuous victim of a rigid Victorian moral code.
Hardy considered it his finest book and due to his enlightened and forward thinking, the story has captivated audiences since it was first released.
Thomas Hardy was an English writer and poet in the Romantic era who was greatly influenced by Charles Dickens and William Wordsworth.
Narrator Biography
Having started his career as a leading child actor, Peter Firth received a Tony Award nomination for his performance in Peter Shaffer's play Equus (1973) at only 21. He later starred with Richard Burton in its film adaption earning him a Golden Globe for Best Supporting Actor and an Academy Award nomination. His other film work has included roles in Pearl Harbor (2001) and The Greatest Game Ever Played (2005). He is best known for his role as Sir Harry Pearce in the BBC show Spooks (2002-2011) appearing in every episode of the show's 10 series. Recent roles have included Jacob Marley in the BBC's Dickensian series (2015) and Ernest Augustus in ITV's drama series Victoria (2016). He has narrated several audiobooks and starred in Audible's multicast drama Amok.


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Customer Reviews

Most Helpful

Peter Firth gets this book

Peter Firth played Angel Clare in Polanski's film version of this novel. His reading demonstrates great affection for Hardy's characters, and an understanding of the many nuances of the story. Don't worry if it seems slow to begin with, if you let the plot unfold, there is plenty of excitement and tragedy in store. Originally published as a serial, each phase builds up to its own climax, which makes for pleasant and interesting listening. Definitely not a "boring 19th century novel."
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- Claire


A heartbreaking story possesses both the clarity of rural life and the confusion of the epic struggles of a human heart. Tess and Angel Clare are so beautifully realized that the frustration one feels with them becomes all-too-real. The narration of this version, by Peter Firth, is among the best in the audible.com catalog that I've encountered so far. Tess is a book to read and re-read with your ears, eyes, mind, and heart.

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- Ron L. Caldwell

Book Details

  • Release Date: 09-09-2008
  • Publisher: Audible Studios