Sabriel : Abhorsen/The Old Kingdom

  • by Garth Nix
  • Narrated by Tim Curry
  • Series: Abhorsen/The Old Kingdom
  • 10 hrs and 28 mins
  • Unabridged Audiobook

Publisher's Summary

Ever since she was a tiny child, Sabriel has lived outside the walls of the Old Kingdom, away from the random power of Free Magic, and away from the Dead who won't stay dead. But now her father, the Mage Abhorsen, is missing, and to find him Sabriel must cross back into that world.
Though her journey begins alone, she soon finds companions: Mogget, whose seemingly harmless feline form hides a powerful and perhaps malevolent spirit; and Touchstone, a young Charter Mage long imprisoned by magic, now free in body but still trapped by painful memories.
With threats on all sides and only each other to trust, the three must travel deep into the Old Kingdom, toward a battle that will pit them against the true forces of life and death, and bring Sabriel face-to-face with her own hidden destiny.
A tale of dark secrets, deep love and dangerous magic, Sabriel introduces Garth Nix as an exceptional new talent.

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What the Critics Say

"It's an epic journey in a world as richly realized as Middle-earth and much darker and bloodier than Harry's trials at Hogwarts...Tim Curry brings authority to the reading, grounding the fantastic elements with nuance of character and depth of emotion. (AudioFile)
"Rich, complex, involving, hard to put down, this first novel...is excellent high fantasy." (Publishers Weekly)
"A page-turner for sure." (Booklist)

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Customer Reviews

Most Helpful

One of the Best Audio Books I've Heard

Sabriel is the daughter of the Abhorsen, a high necromancer whose main duty is to reverse the ills done by evil necromancers that are hell-bent on raising the dead and letting them rule the earth. She lives in a world where realistic early 20th century Great Britain co-exists with the ?Old Kingdom?, a place of magic, sorcery and fear of the undead. A border, guarded by soldiers from both realms, separates the two kingdoms. When Sabriel was five-years-old, her father sent her to a special school in the new kingdom, just near the border so that she would be protected from his enemies, but close enough to the border to learn the ways of the old kingdom. In this school his daughter learns necromancy and magic as well as ?real world? lessons such as etiquette and combat.

When the Abhorsen appears to Sabriel one night speaking through an undead minion, she learns that he is trapped in the world of the dead and she sets-off on a journey to free him. Along the way she learns of a great undead leader whose powers have grown to the extent where he may break the boundary dividing the land of the dead and the living, and no one in either kingdom will be safe from his rule.

As an aside, one of my favorite characters is an elemental of sorts who had been forced into servitude by an Abhorsen from centuries past. He has taken the shape of a cat, and though he has many ?cat mannerisms?, he speaks and is highly intellectual. His sarcastic comments and sharp wit made me laugh out loud on several occasions. He is Sabriel?s constant companion, a great help and a great pain in her behind all at the same time!

I could not stop listening to this book! Tim Curry reads it and there is no better voice for the undead than he! I highly recommend it. It is the first in a trilogy, and all three books have been received with high praise.
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- Erin

Top-notch (and quite adult) fantasy

After listening to this book, I was shocked that I had not previously heard of this wonderful series, which is one of the best of the written-for-children-but-better-for-adult fantasies in recent years, though more like Phillip Pullman than J. K. Rowling. Like Pullman, the series is ultimately rather dark, and it is a terrific example of coherent world-building -- figuring out how the world works is part of what makes the book so exciting. It is also excellently read, and is one of my top picks on Audible.
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- Ethan M. "On Audible since the late 1990s, mostly science fiction, fantasy, history & science. I rarely review 1-2 star books that I can't get through"

Book Details

  • Release Date: 11-14-2003
  • Publisher: Listening Library