Titus Alone : Gormenghast

  • by Mervyn Peake
  • Narrated by Robert Whitfield
  • Series: Gormenghast
  • 7 hrs and 38 mins
  • Unabridged Audiobook

Publisher's Summary

In Volume 3 of the classic Gormenghast Trilogy, a doomed lord, an emergent hero, and an array of bizarre creatures haunt the world of Gormenghast Castle. This trilogy, along with Tolkien's Lord of the Rings, reigns as one of the undisputed fantasy classics of all time. At the center of everything is the 77th Earl, Titus Groan, who stands to inherit the miles of rambling stone and mortar that form Gormenghast Castle and its kingdom.In this third volume, Titus turns against the iron discipline of Gormenghast's ritual and sets forth on an uncertain quest - to find himself. His pilgrimage leads to encounters with mysteriously omnipotent, ruthless police, and a battle to the death with Veil, a gaunt ogre with a body like whips and a face that moves "like the shiftings of the gray slime of the pit". Titus, in his quest for independence from his legacy, despite the fantastical trappings of his odyssey, captures successfully the humanistic conception of contemporary man.

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What the Critics Say

"[Peake's books] are actual additions to life; they give, like certain rare dreams, sensations we never had before, and enlarge our conception of the range of possible experience." (C.S. Lewis)

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Customer Reviews

Most Helpful

Poetic Fantasy

The final book in the Gormenghast Trilogy, considered by many to be one of the greatest fantasy series ever written, right up there with Tolkiens Lord of the Rings. Mr. Peak died before completing his last book, and Titus Alone was compiled after his death from his notes. The book is weaker than the first two installments for that reason. But the sheer brilliance of the prose makes it a pleasure to listen to.
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- Joseph

Titus Declines

I believe that Mervyn Peake is one of the best writers I have read since Charles Dickens. He draws characters like none other. His eye for detail and the weirdness of his characters is probably attributable to his being a fine artist in the first instance and a writer second. His biography also states that much of his Gormenghast world is based on his experiences of vast and ancient castles as a child growing up in rural China where his father was a doctor and missionary.
Clearly Titus Groan and Gormenghast (parts one and two of what was to be a series of books) are masterpieces. I have raved on about them, their characters and – to a far lesser extent – their plot. The final book, Titus Alone, should have been the culmination of this vast saga. Again Peake flourishes his craft, but almost immediately one realises something is amiss. The story is fragmented, the timescale confused, the flow is jerky with abrupt, apparently unrelated scenes. There is little cohesion and Peake manages to paint glimpses of people and startling episodes which are not linked in any cohesive way. One gets the impression that the book consists of sketches which will one day be written into a properly structured whole.
Although Titus has fled from Gormenghast and finds himself in another world and in another time altogether the reader soon becomes aware that the characters are merely shallow replicas of the Gormenghast crew – he is a master of character, but it is as if he has created all the characters he can and now churns them out time and again with little variation. The overwhelming impression is one of chaos and surreal anarchy. All of this makes sense when one understands that Peake was in a rapidly declining phase of dementia when writing the book and although still relatively young (about 50) he was losing his mind and would soon be in a home for the rest of his short life. His mental condition reflects in the delirium of his writing. We can only mourn that such a magnificent talent was taken too soon.
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- Steven

Book Details

  • Release Date: 11-02-2001
  • Publisher: Blackstone Audio, Inc.