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All of this is framed by the musings of an unnamed present-day guide, who provides plenty of historical-sounding citations for his account of Peter and Cheri-Anne’s encounters with the likes of Nicola Tesla, Thomas Edison, and J.P. Morgan. Narrator Todd McLaren shines best in the book’s first-person sections, his warm tones providing the perfect context for this weary but eager storyteller. In the framing segments that mostly come at the beginning of each chapter, McLaren sounds less like a reader than a friendly, welcoming raconteur.
He stumbles a bit with the various foreign accents required by the range of characters in turn-of-the-century New York, and has a habit of using an irritating breathy tone when voicing characters’ inner thoughts. Still, he mostly navigates Flaming’s meandering story well, drawing the listener in to tales of the beginnings of the Ohio kingdom, Peter’s youth on the Idaho frontier, and the bitter rivalry between Tesla and Edison. McLaren also does what he can with Flaming’s copious, often superfluous footnotes, but reading them aloud has a tendency to disrupt the story’s momentum.
Those stumbling blocks aside, Kingdom is an often engrossing experience with a nice sense of wonder, even if Flaming’s prose is sometimes a little florid. It illustrates a world of possibilities just behind our everyday reality, and McLaren’s performance makes that world come alive. Josh Bell
Customer ReviewsMost Helpful
By David on 03-05-10
Written as if coming from another time
I really enjoyed this book. The jumps from present time to reminiscing about his past took getting used to, but when you realize its an old man telling the story of his past, it is easy to understand. It moved well and the characters were people you could empathize with.
Speculative fiction, classic romance, historical novel. Its got it all and Todd McLaren could make a laundry list sound good.
2 of 2 people found this review helpful