The King's General

  • by Daphne du Maurier
  • Narrated by Juliet Stevenson
  • 13 hrs and 7 mins
  • Unabridged Audiobook

Publisher's Summary

Exclusively from Audible
When the skeleton of a young cavalier was found by William Rashleigh at Daphne du Maurier's beloved mansion, Menabilly, she once again found inspiration in her surroundings. Putting pen to paper, Daphne created The King's General, a historical tale which takes place during the English Civil War and introduces one of du Maurier's greatest heroines: Honor Harris.
Honor is a beautiful, brave and kind protagonist, a true embodiment of the name by which she goes. Her journey proves challenging as her hopes for marrying the man she loves are dashed when she is left incapacitated. Unwilling to let life pass her by, Honor decides to educate herself in order to gain a true understanding of England's political climate and the devastating impact it would come to have.
Steadfast, caring and intelligent, this heroine embodies female empowerment and resilience in a war-torn England. Having finished the story during the Second World War, parallels are often drawn between Honor and du Maurier herself. Not only was the author describing the frustration of having to stay at home while men fought, through first-hand experience, but much like Honor's love interest, Daphne's husband was a general in the military.
An artful and escapist tale, The King's General reveals a gothic side to Daphne du Maurier's writing which constantly leaves the listener wanting more.
Narrator Biography
Whether she's up on stage, behind the microphone or in front of the camera, Juliet Stevenson never fails to charm her audience. Her acting roles have cemented her status as one of the great British actresses of our time. Her popular performances of hits such as Apple Tree Yard, the book that was turned into a TV series that people just couldn't stop talking about, have earned her an overwhelming amount of well-deserved praise for her spoken word talents
Juliet graduated from the Royal Academy of Dramatic Art and later became a member of its artistic council. Her theatre experience is vast and includes parts in Measure for Measure, Les Liaisons Dangereuses, Burn This and Death and the Maiden.
She is also known for her film career in works such as Bend It Like Beckham, Emma, Truly Madly Deeply and Mona Lisa Smile.
Juliet Stevenson has been BAFTA-nominated and been the winner of a Laurence Olivier Award. In 1999, she was awarded the Commander of the Order of the British Empire in the Queen's Birthday Honours List, for her services to Drama.
Juliet's other audiobook narrations include Sense and Sensibility, North and South, The Portrait of a Lady and Madame Bovary. These and many more can be found at Audible.

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Customer Reviews

Most Helpful

"Generally" Good, pun intended

I listened to "The King's General" right before reading Ken Follett's "A Dangerous Fortune" and listening to these two books back-to-back clarified my evaluation of this one. "General" is historical fiction, but Follett plays in that genre too so I don't think the comparison is entirely unfair. Daphne Du Maurier is the superior writer-- some of her passages, descriptions, metaphors are memorably rendered. Follett is the more natural storyteller, he is able to establish a pace that keeps the reader engrossed, eager to find out what happens next. Du Maurier's characters are not *as* shallowly rendered as Follett's, but they're not characters that the reader establishes a true relationship with. Despite the fact that her book is written in the first person, which makes that relationship easier, I didn't ever fully embrace the characters as I do in the best of books. I don't think it matters that she is writing within the constraints of historical information and personalities as there is rich terrain to mine here. So I would give her four stars for the writing itself, three for characterization and plot. The reader is very good, the story is interesting but not compelling. Good, not great whether you love to read about English history or not.
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- Rebecarol

Not Du Maurier's Finest Hour.

The King's General seems distanced from itself.

Daphne Du Maurier's work usually sweeps me into its world. This one, however, didn't.

In fact, my sense was that Du Maurier herself never really sank into this book when she was writing it. Her use of language is as masterful as ever- but the "feel" of the book, the tone and emotion that giving subtext to her words, is somehow distracted and "off."

This perplexed me, so I did a little digging (thanks, Wikipedia) and gathered some information that might interest you, if you are considering purchasing The King's General.

The book was published in 1946. It was the book Du Maurier was writing when her husband, "Boy" Browning, was away serving in the war.

The King's General is told by a character named Honor Harris, who is in love with Sir Richard Grenville, a Royalist general in the Civil War. In any given chapter, Honor Harris describes waiting for news of the war, worrying about her lover, the brief bursts of happiness when the war permits them to spend time together, and the deprivation and Spartan provisions of life during war time. These are undoubtedly topics Daphne Du Maurier was experiencing and thinking of in war-time Britain.

Honor Harris also spends parts of the Civil War at the house, Menabilly, which three centuries later would be the Du Mauriers home. I imagine Daphne Du Maurier writing The King's General to pass the time, to detach from her own worries about World War II by researching and writing this story about a different war.

So that made me the book, a little.

But, frankly, it's not her best work. It's a book written by an excellent writer when her real thoughts were elsewhere.

So keep that in mind. It ain't a great book, but if you're interested in Cornish history, the Civil War, or if you're waiting for a loved one to return home from war, it may be just the right book.

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- Leslie Ross

Book Details

  • Release Date: 04-29-2008
  • Publisher: Audible Studios