The Black Moth

  • by Georgette Heyer
  • Narrated by Julian Rhind-Tutt
  • 11 hrs and 37 mins
  • Unabridged Audiobook

Publisher's Summary

When the dashing Jack Carstares is unfairly accused of cheating at cards, he leaves the country in disgrace. Returning some years later disguised as a highwayman, his reappearance heralds a dramatic chain of events that includes a Duke, a damsel, a duel, and not one, but two kidnappings. Written when she was just 17, The Black Moth was Heyer’s first novel, but it bears many of the hallmarks of her later romances, being vivid, witty, and peppered with historical insight.

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Heyer's First Book--Melodrama in Spades

This is Georgette Heyer’s first book; it appeared in 1921, when its author was only 19 or 20 years old. In a letter to her agent two years later, Heyer herself called it "a very juvenile effort." That seems harsh to me, although the story is definitely over-the-top melodramatic. But even this early in her career, Heyer displayed a sense of humor and sophistication that lift this somewhat silly and highly implausible story above the average.

The Black Moth is Hugh "Devil" Belmanoir, Duke of Andover. Even in the presence of Jack Carstares, the oh-so-lovable, handsome, and honorable hero, we are drawn to the villianous Duke. It seems Heyer must have felt the same way; in 1926 she wrote "These Old Shades," one of her best books, in which the lead character is the amoral Justin "Satanas" Alistair, Duke of Avon. "Shades" takes place several years after "Moth" and is set primarily in Paris, but it's recognizably about most of the same characters. "Moth" is definitely the backstory to "Shades," even though for some reason Heyer changed all the names. (Heyer extended the Duke's story to the next generation in "Devil's Cub," and his grandaughter Barbara appears at the Battle of Waterloo in "An Infamous Army.")

"The Black Moth" is not one of Heyer’s Regency (c. 1800) novels, it is set around 1750. The language is arcane but witty. Rhind-Tutt, a narrator I’ve never encountered before (I would have remembered that name), takes some getting used to (he r-e-a-d-s r-e-a-l-l-y s-l-o-w) but gets into the action as the melodrama escalates. The climactic duel between Jack and the Duke is great, Jack’s agonized rejection (for her own good, of course) of the woman he loves is heartbreaking, and the Duke’s hilariously impromptu dinner party at the book's end is a delight. These scenes are as good as any Heyer ever wrote. Thanks to Naxos for giving us this one unabridged. I thought I read somewhere that Naxos will be releasing more unabridged Heyers. If so, there go my credits!
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- Carol

Julian Rhind-Tutt is THE BEST narrator ever!

Would you recommend this audiobook to a friend? If so, why?

Heyer's wonderfully developed characters come alive perfectly with the voices developed by Julian Rhind-Tutt.


What other book might you compare The Black Moth to and why?

Georgette Heyers 'sequels' to The Black Moth - These Old Shades and Devils Cub are worth a read.


What does Julian Rhind-Tutt bring to the story that you wouldn’t experience if you just read the book?

Julian Rhind-Tutt does an exceptional job narrating this book as his voice characterisations are perfect. He understands each character and the way they speak and encapsulates their personalities so well. He's the best narrator I've ever heard.


Was this a book you wanted to listen to all in one sitting?

I couldn't put it down!


Any additional comments?

Thank you Julian Rhind-Tutt.

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- Sally

Book Details

  • Release Date: 07-02-2013
  • Publisher: Naxos AudioBooks