"John Banks is one of the UK's most prolific audiobook narrators, working for the likes of Big Finish, Audible, Random House and Games Workshop.

He is a true multi-voice, creating everything from monsters to marauding aliens.

He is also an accomplished stage and TV actor."

audible.co.uk 2018

Soul Wars

Hello...

...I'm John Banks - welcome to my website.

The majority of my working life has been spent in the theatre with companies including
York Theatre Royal, Cheltenham Everyman, Sheffield Crucible, Bristol Old Vic, Manchester Royal Exchange and the National Theatre in London.

Television work includes Emmerdale, Coronation Street, and 'Allo, Allo!'. I have also worked on a number of radio drama and comedy productions with the BBC.

Since March 2009, I have enjoyed playing a huge variety of characters in more than 250* audio-drama stories with Big Finish Productions, together with The Black Library/Games Workshop, details of which can be found in the postings below.


There are also details listed here of the 165* audio books I've recorded since March 2013,
including the unabridged New Revised Standard Version of The Bible, for companies including audible.co.uk, Hachette, HarperCollins, RNIB, W.F. Howes, Little Brown Group, Penguin Random House, Games Workshop, Orion, Fantom Films & Ladbroke Audio.

(*figures at April 2019)

I hope you find something of interest here and come back soon for further updates.


For all posts, reviews and audio samples, please scroll down...

Games Workshop

Games Workshop

DI Avison Fluke Book I: released 9th January 2020

DI Avison Fluke Book II: Released 9th January 2020

The Moggotkin of Nurgle

Media Content

This Windows 10 Googleblog is designed and best viewed on Firefox; unfortunately, some media content may not function properly with other browsers or operating systems.

Search This Blog

Saturday, 14 December 2019

Advent Stories 2019: Heirs of Grimnir Part 3

...and just in case you're on the edge of your seat, anxious to know how this saga is resolved, here's Part 3!



Heirs of Grimnir: Part 3

A Warhammer Age of Sigmar audio drama

"The Runesons of Karag-Unbak have a new mission – to kill their father's murderer. Yet that may not be so easy when their target is a sinister Verminlord.


The architect of Karag-Unbak's woes has been revealed, and for the remaining Runesons of the murdered Runefather Aruk-Grimnir, just one task remains – to end the life of their father's killer.

Whoever strikes the killing blow will be named his successor, and lead the Unbaki into the future. Yet it's not going to be easy, for their quarry is nothing less than a Verminlord, one of the great daemons of the Horned Rat – and he is waiting for them…"


Performed by Steve Conlin, Sean Conolly, John Banks Cliff Chapman & Stephen Perring


    Written by David Guymer & Produced by Matt Renshaw

Length: 26 minutes

...all for now; more just as soon as it happens!

Friday, 13 December 2019

Advent Stories 2019: Heirs of Grimnir Part 2

...and on an otherwise quiet news day here in the UK, a little distraction may be just what we all need. With that in mind, here are details of the continuing Grimnir saga; enjoy!

Heirs of Grimnir: Part 2

A Warhammer Age of Sigmar audio drama

The quest to retrieve their father's legacy chest takes the Runesons of the Unbaki deep into the heart of a skaven lair…




"The Runesons of Karag-Unbak seek to avenge the death of their father, and retrieve his stolen legacy chest, without which the lodge's future is in doubt.

Battling their way into the heart of an enemy lair, the brave and bold Fyreslayers find themselves surrounded by vile skaven.

Will they sell their lives dearly, and doom their kin to oblivion, or will duardin ingenuity win the day?"


Performed by Steve Conlin, Sean Conolly, John Banks Cliff Chapman & Stephen Perring


    Written by David Guymer & Produced by Matt Renshaw

Length: 23 minutes


...all for now; more just as soon as it happens!

Thursday, 12 December 2019

Advent Stories 2019: Heirs of Grimnir Part 1

...a busy day, but just enough time now for a quick update on the second audio drama I'm involved with this month and here are some details:

Heirs of Grimnir: Part 1

A Warhammer Age of Sigmar audio drama

The death of their father sends a band of Fyreslayer Runesons on a quest for revenge – but they may not be targeting the right enemy…


The mysterious death of Runefather Aruk-Grimnir and his son and heir, Angruk, spark a crisis in Karag-Unbak, the great Fyreslayers lodge.

As his remaining sons squabble over the throne, further disaster is revealed – the gates to the lodge's vault lie open and a treasured possession is missing… one without which the very future of the Unbaki may be cast into doubt.

Sure that they know the culprits, the Runesons march to battle – but have the chosen the right foe?


Performed by Steve Conlin, Sean Conolly, John Banks Cliff Chapman & Stephen Perring

    Written by David Guymer & Produced by Matt Renshaw

Length: 21 minutes


...all for now; more just as soon as it happens!

Tuesday, 10 December 2019

Advent Stories 2019: The Revelation of The Word

Welcome back - two posts in two days; that's more like it! As December progresses, Games Workshop/Black Library will be releasing a story each day, in a variety of formats. Today marks my first contribution to these Advent stories; I'm playing Primarch Lorgar Aurelian of The Word Bearers in an audio drama by David Annandale and Produced by Tara Rawson - working with Tara was another first for me and what fun we had recording The Revelation of The Word. I hope you enjoy it!

The Revelation of the Word

A Horus Heresy audio drama

As he prosecutes his Shadow Crusade against the Ultramarines, Lorgar discovers something from his own past at the heart of his brother Guilliman's 500 Worlds.




Long ago, the primarch Lorgar was humbled by his brother Guilliman for his belief in the Emperor's divinity. Led down a dark road by this shaming, Lorgar embraced Chaos. Now, he and his Word Bearers rampage across Guilliman's realm, burning his 500 worlds in the name of their new gods.

But on such world, Lorgar finds a mystery that brings his past into the present and shines a new light on his endeavours. It seems that Lorgar's legacy may be greater than even he could have ever imagined…

 Performed by John Banks, Cliff Chapman, Emma Gregory & Stephen Perring

 Written by David Annandale & Produced by Tara Rawson

 Running time: 24 minutes

* * * * *






...all for now; more just as soon as it happens!

Monday, 9 December 2019

Testaments Old & New...

December - already! Good afternoon and welcome to today's posting; it seems quite some time, even to me, since I updated here and as ever, it's as a result of being busy. Poor excuse, I know!

And so, to the 'business of the day', which includes the recent release of my narrated version of the New Revised Standard Version of The Bible, now available to download individually as the Old Testament, which runs at 56 hours & 12 minutes or the New Testamant, which runs at 17 hours & 34 minutes or the entire Holy Bible at an unabridged running length of 73 hours & 46 minutes. All versions are available via audible.co.uk or from Spokenworld Audio. Here's what they're saying about it:

"Acclaimed by both biblical scholars and general readers as the most reliable English Bible available, the New Revised Standard Version follows in the great tradition of the King James Version in being true to the original meaning of the text, while presenting it in a style that speaks powerfully to contemporary listeners of all religious backgrounds."  



"In this exclusive newly recorded audiobook edition, John Banks brings the words of the Bible to incredible life."  


©2019 SPCK (P)2019 SPCK, Spokenworld Audio & Ladbroke Audio Ltd
 


* * * * *

After the feast of twelve audio releases in September, it was a famine of no releases at all for the whole of October and November. I'm usually aware of things 'in the pipeline' and I had hoped that there might be something new to mention in November, though the reality is, I often have no idea when specific titles might actually see the light of day. Thankfully, December has a number of productions scheduled for release, The Bible, mentioned above, being the first, or first three of them. I shall no doubt, be back before the month is out, to have a look at what else is about to become available.

In the meantime, follow me, if you will, back to September 2017 and the Black Library audio book version of Chris Wraight's 'Watchers of the Throne: The Emperor's Legion' from the Warhammer 40,000 range. 
The audio recording took the form of three characters, Tieron, performed by Gareth Armstrong, Valerian, performed by myself and Aleya, performed by Emma Gregory, giving their individual perspective on a particular set of circumstances.

Watchers of the Throne: The Emperor's Legion:

 

"The Custodian Guard have stood watch over the Emperor's Palace on Terra since the foundation of the Imperium. Charged with protecting the Master of Mankind from all threats, within and without, their fearsome resolve is renowned throughout the galaxy, and their golden armour is the last thing that a would-be assassin or saboteur will ever see.

Alongside the Null-maidens of the Sisters of Silence, who are anathema to psykers and sorcerers alike, there is no threat to the Golden Throne that they alone cannot vanquish...until now."
 



Above: 

Valerian (right in full Adeptus Custodes armour) and Aleya, a Sister of Silence with scarlet hair plume.
 
Having had little time to listen properly to this story when it was first released and in any case, having forgotten much of what I had taken from it, I decided to set aside some time to listen to it all over again. I'm enjoying it very much, though when I looked for details of the recording on the audible web site, I couldn't find it listed under my name. A quick title search led me to it, though for some reason, neither Emma or me are credited as performers, which is a shame. Perhaps there are other titles that have been mis-credited?

Thrilled as I was to eventually find it on audible, I was pleased indeed to read the posted reviews, the majority of which seem to be very positive and so, with your indulgence, I'll put a few up here, just in case you might be interested in giving the story a listen:

"Enthralling"

I was hooked from start to end with everything being told. The inclusion of multiple points of view with different voice actors adding an even further depth to each characters views was a very nice touch.

"Deserving a movie!!!!!!"

Although i started listening this knowing most of the story the details and scenery, the performance of the readers and the 3 way character view made me cry....this is something truly deserving a movie, an excellent example of true 40k lore and the grim dark future.

"Utterly brilliant"

Fantastic performances all round. Well worth it! Believe me you will not regret this one.

"great story. The voice acting was stunning. Great"

The story was wonderful and keeps you gripped from the start and till the end

"Perfect"

This book is fantastic, well read and constantly interesting as well as action packed. Perfect for fans no matter their preferences of factions.


* * * * *
Okay, so that's enough 'trumpet blowing' from me, as I'm sure you'll agree! It's still available if you fancy checking it out.

In the meantime, that's...

...all for now; more just as soon as it happens!


Saturday, 2 November 2019

November

Good afternoon dear, patient reader; with no update since the end of September, I can only apologise and say ‘thank you’ for sticking with it and coming back to visit the site.

As is often the way, when things get busy, my updates here have to take a bit of a ‘back seat’, which is unfortunate, but ultimately good, because it means that at some point, there’ll be something, hopefully of interest, to talk about.

September was quite an exceptional month, which saw 12 audio releases, including all 215 hours of The House of Niccolo by Dorothy Dunnett. I was recently asked to write an article for the Dorothy Dunnett Society quarterly magazine, Whispering Gallery, to give an idea of what my experience of recording the books had been. The magazine, along with some, if not all, of my article, is scheduled for a December publication date. At some point after publication, I will also post the article here. At around 4,000 words, I talk about the specific experience of the Niccolo books, but also take a slightly broader view of the whole process of audio performing. If the idea of a more ‘in depth’ posting sounds appealing, perhaps you might like to check back in and give it a read.

Last month was a bit odd in a way; a month of two halves, the first part taken up with extended audio book preparation and the second, with lots of intense prep, followed by the recording of two audio books in four days (!) and some audio drama, which concluded at the end of last week. I now have to prep another audio book, which is scheduled to record during the week of the 11th. I can’t give any more details away at the moment alas and for the usual reasons; there’s lots I’d love to mention, but will have to be patient and wait for official marketing to properly launch each individual production.

In the last posting, I said I’d come back to say more about the release of Barbarians by Stephen P. Kershaw. I think my intention was to reflect on how exacting non-fiction can be and how preparation can be even more time consuming than fiction. Of course, non-fiction, by definition, means that featured names and places actually exist, or did exist at some point and therefore, even greater care has to be taken to ensure they are pronounced authentically.

In the 9th April posting, I talked about the prep and recording of In The Closet Of TheVatican and how tricky it was to get personal and place names ‘right’. I have to say, it was just as time consuming and tricky to research the pronunciation of such personal and place names for A Certain Idea Of France, running at 35 hours - 19 minutes which, unsurprisingly, contained lots of  French!

Articulating the vast array of names that featured in Barbarians was even more challenging. I am grateful to producer Neil Gardner, who contacted Dr. James Harland of the University of Tübingen, to help me with a written and spoken pronunciation guide - 30 A4 pages of names and places, all of which had to be assimilated and articulated fluently. I am also grateful to Susan Omand, who proof-listened to what I’d done and who highlighted any errors I’d made, so that I could go back to the studio and correct them. I haven’t heard either recording in full yet, though I fervently hope to be forgiven for any incorrect pronunciations that might have slipped through the net; we all did our very best!


* * * * *

And so, to wrap up for now; I’m not sure what might be released this month, though there’s a particularly exciting project in the pipeline which, after many months of work, might actually soon see the light of day. I’m certainly aware of a couple of releases scheduled for December - though we shall all have to wait and see!

In the meantime, I can’t publish a posting consisting only of massive blocks of text, so why don’t I just insert this fantastic image to appease - and tease...?





...all for now; more just as soon as it happens!


Friday, 27 September 2019

Barbarians

Good morning! A very quick posting with regard to the release today of Stephen P. Kershaw's book, Barbarians, which I have recorded as an audio book. I will come back to add more to this update, but as time is very tight, I'll be brief now and say, here are some details:


'And now what will become of us without barbarians?
Those people were a sort of solution.' 

(Waiting for the Barbarians - C. P. Cavafy)

History is written by the victors, and Rome had some very eloquent historians. Those the Romans regarded as barbarians left few records of their own, but they had a tremendous impact on the Roman imagination. Resisting from outside Rome's borders or rebelling from within, they emerge vividly in Rome's historical tradition, and left a significant footprint in archaeology.




Rome's history, as written by the Romans, follows a remarkable trajectory from its origins as a tiny village of refugees from a conflict zone to a dominant superpower, before being transformed into the medieval and Byzantine worlds. But throughout this history, Rome faced significant resistance and rebellion from peoples whom it regarded as barbarians.

Gibbon saw the Roman Empire as one of the highest points of human achievement destroyed by barbarian invaders: Ostrogoths, Visigoths, Goths, Vandals, Huns, Picts and Scots. To others, as Rome was ravaged, new life was infused into an expiring Italy. Gibbon's 'decline and fall' has been reappraised as transformation, through religious and cultural revolution.

Based both on ancient historical writings and modern archaeological research, this new history takes a fresh look at the Roman Empire, through the personalities and lives of key opponents of Rome's rise, dominance and fall - or transformation. These include: Brennus, the Gaul who sacked Rome; the Plebs, those barbarous insiders and internal resistors; Hannibal; Viriathus, the Iberian shepherd and skilled guerilla; Jugurtha and the struggle to free Africa; the Germanic threat from the Cimbri and the Teutones; Spartacus, the gladiator; Vercingetorix and rebellion in Gaul; Cleopatra; Boudicca, the Queen of the Iceni and the scourge of Rome; the Great Jewish Revolt; Alaric the Goth and the Sack of Rome; Attila the Hun, 'Born to Shake the Nations'; and the Vandals and the fall of Rome.

           

Written by Stephen P. Kershaw, Produced by Neil Gardner & Narrated by John Banks
                                                       

  Length: 13 hours - 31 minutes

©2019 Stephen P. Kershaw (P)2019 Audible, Ltd

...all for now; more just as soon as it happens!

Friday, 20 September 2019

A Certain Idea of France

And so, to the final release for this week, (although, strictly speaking, 'Belisarius Cawl: The Great Work' is not officially available until tomorrow); an extensively researched biography of Charles de Gaulle, published by Penguin. My fingers are crossed with this audio book; it's long (35 hours - 19 minutes) and unsurprisingly, includes a fair bit of French and hopefully, my French pronunciation will pass muster.

Here are some details:

A Certain Idea of France

The Life of Charles de Gaulle
Penguin presents the audiobook edition of A Certain Idea of France by Julian Jackson, read by John Banks.


In six weeks in 1940, France was overrun by German troops and surrendered. One junior French general, refusing to accept defeat, made his way to England. On 18 June he spoke to his compatriots over the BBC, urging them to rally to him in London. At that moment, Charles de Gaulle entered into history.

For the rest of the war, de Gaulle frequently bit the hand that fed him. He insisted on being treated as the true embodiment of France, and quarrelled violently with Churchill and Roosevelt. But through sheer force of personality and bloody-mindedness he managed to have France recognised as one of the victorious Allies.

For 10 years after 1958 he was President of France's Fifth Republic, which he created and which endures to this day. His pursuit of 'a certain idea of France' challenged American hegemony, took France out of NATO and twice vetoed British entry into the European Community. His controversial decolonisation of Algeria brought France to the brink of civil war and provoked several assassination attempts.

Julian Jackson's magnificent biography reveals this the life of this titanic figure as never before. No previous biography has depicted his paradoxes so vividly. Much of French politics since his death has been about his legacy, and he remains by far the greatest French leader since Napoleon.





 Produced by Neil Gardner and Narrated by John Banks

Length: 35 hours - 19 minutes


©2019 Julian Jackson (P)2019 Penguin Audio
 

...all for now; more just as soon as it happens! 

Wednesday, 18 September 2019

Belisarius Cawl: The Great Work

Good morning! Having just returned from a thoroughly enjoyable time with the Games Workshop gang, recording a couple of audio dramas, it seems fitting somehow to mention the latest Black Library release, which I'm very much looking forward to hearing.

NB: This is a pre-order title, available to download from 21 Sep 2019.

For reasons unknown to me, my Tweet of a few days ago, mentioning Belisarius Cawl for the first time, elicited an extraordinary response, which suggests there's a strong interest in the story/character. I can only hope, as always, that my audio book version doesn't disappoint!

Here are some details, again, with some stunning art work:

Belisarius Cawl: The Great Work

An Adeptus Mechanicus audio book

In the wake of the Great Rift, Belisarius Cawl turns his attention to the abandoned world of Sotha. Once home to the Scythes of the Emperor, it also hides a long-buried secret… and an ancient evil.



Belisarius Cawl, Archmagos Dominus of the Adeptus Mechanicus is the most brilliant mind alive. For 10,000 years he has furthered the cause of mankind, working under the aegis of the Emperor and Lord Commander Roboute Guilliman to prevent the inexorable march of the alien and the traitor. Many call him heretic, but all must recognise the magnitude of his achievements, for who else but he was entrusted to create a new generation of Space Marines? Who else but the great Belisarius Cawl could even accomplish such a task?

Now, in the wake of the Great Rift and the Indomitus Crusade, his ambitions bring him to the long-dead world of Sotha, once home to the Scythes of the Emperor, now a barren wasteland devoured by the vile Tyranids. Accompanied by Tetrarch Felix and his elite warriors, it is here that Cawl believes the lynchpin of his mysterious Great Work lies.

But uncovering it is a near impossible task, one in which the Archmagos must overcome an ancient evil that threatens to extinguish the last hope of humanity.





Written by Guy Haley, Produced by Kylia Whitehead & Narrated by John Banks

Length: 11 hous - 11 minutes




...all for now; more just as soon as it happens!

Thursday, 12 September 2019

Realmslayer II

When, I wonder, does 'news' become 'old news'? Perhaps if something is still being spoken about, it still qualifies as 'news'. Hopefully, people are still talking about last weekend's long anticipated release of the multi-episode audio drama 'Realmslayer: Blood of The Old World', once again, featuring the extraordinary 'life-force' that is Mr Brian Blessed, who is, once again, playing Gotrek Gurnisson.

Without further ado, here are details of the new story, along with some incredible art work by Johan Grenier who deserves huge credit for making the whole package look so amazing:

Realmslayer: Blood of the Old World

A Gotrek Gurnisson Story

In the strange worlds of the Mortal Realms, Gotrek Gurnisson craves one thing above all: purpose. When he discovers a being who might lead him to it, he will stop at nothing to find them – but old enemies seek the same prize…




Gotrek Gurnisson was once the greatest Slayer of the Old World, meeting his doom in the great cataclysms of the End Times. The heroic duardin stepped forth into the Realm of Chaos to fight the daemons gnawing at the world's ending and satisfy his death oath, leaving behind his companion Felix Jaeger. Now, he finds himself in a strange new realm where gods walk the earth and dark forces are ascendant.


Within the endless forests of Ghyran, Gotrek learns of a being with the power to guide him to what he craves above all else: a destiny, and a purpose worthy of his legend. What he seeks is a prize more terrible than any he could have imagined, fought over since the dawn of time by powers beyond even his indomitable strength. Nor is he the only scion of the Old World to be drawn by its promise, and Gotrek will have to overcome the greatest nemesis of his past if he is to claim his future.

Part 1: Armour of Winter
Part 2: The Everlasting Oath
Part 3: The Silver Tower
Part 4: The Last Gate

Performed by:

 Grace Andrews, John Banks, Brian Blessed, Andrew Fettes, Kelly Hotten, Matthew Hunt, 
Jonathan Keeble, Penelope Rawlins, Richard Reed and Joe Shire 

Written by David Guymer & Produced by Matt Renshaw 



We recorded these stories in London late February - early March this year and what fun it was! Whenever I'm given the opportunity to play a Skaven, a slightly evil, always twinkly sensation manifests itself and I can barely contain my excitement.

In this production, not only did I get the chance to play a Skaven (image at right) - the wonderfully named 'Steamclaw', but also a fabulously louche 'Nurgling', Algur Threefingers along with Xer’ger’ael, The Master Rune & a laconic Gaoler, as well as a number of un-credited minor characters. 

I've recently received my contributor copy of Blood of The Old World and so far, I'm enjoying it very much indeed. David Guymer has written a fabulous story and a grateful bunch of actors can be heard to be having great fun bringing his characters to life. If you decide to give it a listen, I hope you will enjoy it all too!

...all for now; more just as soon as it happens!

Tuesday, 10 September 2019

The House of Niccolò

Good morning! Over the past year or so, I've occasionally alluded to the project which was 'The House of Niccolò', details of which appear below. Recording of the first of the series, 'Niccolo Rising', began on 26th June 2018 and the final book, 'Gemini', was completed on 8th October. 

During that 'busy' fifteen week period, I recorded the eight books of Niccolo, together with three other audio books and a further three audio dramas. That kind of recording schedule is punishing indeed and there was precious little time to prep the Niccolo books. The reality of such a schedule meant that prep had to be done the night before recording; so after a full day in the studio, my evenings, nights - and early mornings! - were taken up by reading and marking up for the following day's work. I remember hearing the milkman arrive one morning as I was still prepping and thinking to myself, that within a few hours, I'd be back in the studio and really ought to get some sleep before then - prepped or not!

The scheduling meant that we had to record all eight books in as short a time as possible in order to meet the publishing deadline, which was set for the 11th November. Editing, proofing and any required pick-ups also had to be done well before that date to ensure there would be no delay to the hugely complex production process. 

I'm sure you can imagine how much pressure producer Neil Gardner and I were under to meet the deadline, particularly given my other recording commitments (three other audio books and three audio dramas) and the fact that the Niccolo books are not an 'easy read'; they are complicated, densely written, require voice characterisation from all over the 15th century world (Bruges, Venice, Florence, Geneva, and the Hanseatic League; Burgundy, Flanders, Poland and Muscovy; Iceland; the Iberian Peninsula and Madeira; the Black Sea cities of Trebizond and Caffa; Persia; the Mediterranean islands of Cyprus and Rhodes; Egypt and the Sinai Peninsula; and West Africa, Timbuktu and the Sahara.) ...and are very long! 

Total running time for the eight volume series comes in at a hefty 215 hours; the equivalent of 20 or so 'standard' length audio books and features 1,473 named characters...

After such a huge effort to complete recording, I can only express a sense of 'disappointment', that for reasons unknown and completely out of my control, actual publication did not occur on 11th November 2018, but instead, on 5th September 2019. 

I recently met someone from The Dorothy Dunnett Society, who invited me to speak and 'perform' extracts from the books at next April's convention in Edinburgh. Of course, I'm flattered to have been asked, though for a number of practical reasons, I have declined the offer. Instead, I have agreed to write a short article for the Society's 'Whispering Gallery' magazine, set for December publication. 

Here is a link to the Society's web site should you wish to know more about the series: The Dorothy Dunnett Society and here are details of the audio books, now available to download:


The time is the 15th century, when intrepid merchants became the new knighthood of Europe. Among them, none is bolder or more cunning than Nicholas vander Poele of Bruges, the good-natured dyers apprentice who schemes and swashbuckles his way to the helm of a mercantile empire.

 

The House of Niccolò

 

Penguin presents the audiobook edition of Niccolo Rising by Dorothy Dunnett, read by John Banks.


Niccolo Rising, book one of the series, finds us in Bruges, 1460. Street smart, brilliant at figures, adept at the subtleties of diplomacy and the well-timed untruth, Dunnett's hero rises from wastrel to prodigy in a breathless adventure that wins him the love of the strongest woman in Bruges and the hatred of two powerful enemies.

Niccolo Rising combines history, adventure and high romance in the tradition stretching from Alexandre Dumas to Mary Renault.

 Length: 23 hrs and 28 mins 





Penguin presents the audiobook edition of The Spring of the Ram by Dorothy Dunnett, read by John Banks.


In 1461, the mysterious, enigmatic Nicholas is in Florence. Backed by none other than Cosimo de'Medici, he will sail the Black Sea to Trebizond, last outpost of Byzantium, and the last jewel missing from the crown of the Ottoman Empire. But trouble lies ahead.

Nicholas's step-daughter - at the tender age of 13 - has eloped with his rival in trade: a Machiavellian Genoese who races ahead of Nicholas, sowing disaster at every port. And time is of the essence: Trebizond may fall to the Turks at any moment.

Crackling with wit, breathtakingly paced, The Spring of the Ram is a pyrotechnic blend of scholarship and narrative shimmering with the scents, sounds, colors and combustible emotions of the 15th century.

Length: 23 hrs and 55 mins  

 

Penguin presents the audiobook edition of Race of Scorpions by Dorothy Dunnett, read by John Banks.


This is the third book in the House of Niccolo series. 

Set in 15th-century Cyprus, this novel continues the saga of Nicholas van der Poel, international mercenary who started out as a dyer's apprentice, as he plays for the highest stakes with the greatest superpowers in Europe.
 
Length: 26 hrs and 54 mins





 



Penguin presents the audiobook edition of Scales of Gold by Dorothy Dunnett, read by John Banks.

The year 1464 finds our hero Nicholas in Venice. Plagued by enemies bent on dissolving his assets and smearing his character, he sets sail for Africa, legendary location of the Fountain of Youth and the source of gold in such abundance that men prefer to barter in shells. He will discover the charms of the beautiful Gelis - a woman whose passion for Nicholas is rivalled only by her desire to punish him for his role in her sister's death.

Erotic and lush with detail, Scales of Gold embraces the complexity of the Renaissance, where mercantile adventure couples with more personal quests behind the silken curtains of the Age of Discovery.

Length: 24 hrs and 22 mins 


Penguin presents the audiobook edition of The Unicorn Hunt, by Dorothy Dunnett, read by John Banks.


The fifth title in the House of Niccolo sequence, re-creating the perilous world of trade, war and banking in Renaissance Europe.

Niccolo has returned to Venice from Africa - richer, wiser yet ever unpredictable. He journeys to Scotland, closer at hand to the secrets of his birth.

 

Length: 29 hrs and 20 mins








Penguin presents the audiobook edition of To Lie with Lions by Dorothy Dunnett, read by John Banks.

Merchant-banker Nicholas de Fleury, having wrested his infant son from the boy's formidable mother, pauses en route to the land of golden light to set in train a deception that will ensnar nations in the triumphant ruin of his enemies. 


This is volume six in the House of Niccolo.



Length: 28 hrs and 29 mins







Penguin presents the audiobook edition of Caprice and Rondo by Dorothy Dunnett, read by John Banks.


January 1474, in the deep cold of an ice-bound Danzig: a man is spending a frivolous winter not facing up to his responsibilities.... 

It is the merchant Niccolo, diviner, soldier, banker to kings; shunned by all who know him after revelations of his murderous mischief-making. But his talents are too great to be squandered, and a subtle political dance ensues as rivals in Poland, Venice, and Persia bid for his services in trade and war and diplomacy. Niccolo has lost his family, but he will discover a new purpose in life....

 Length: 26 hrs and 41 mins





Penguin presents the audiobook edition of Gemini by Dorothy Dunnett, read by John Banks.

Gemini represents the final appearance of Nicholas de Fleury, who opened this series as a carefree, clumsy 18-year-old apprentice in Flanders. Now he is in his 30s. The culmination of this amazing series sees Niccolo face his toughest battle yet, against an enemy who will tax every skill he has acquired over the course of the last few years....


 Length: 31 hrs and 47 mins


 



* * * * *

Should you wish to invest both time and money in this series, you might also wish to look at the two volumes of 'The Dorothy Dunnett Companion', written by Elspeth Morrison, which provide "... an encyclopaedic guide to the world Dorothy Dunnett describes, illuminating the tapestry of fact and allusion, of historial personages and places, events and politics, literary references and music that colour her books. It covers both her "Lymond" sequence, which explores the intricacies of 16th-century history, and the "House of Niccolo" series, set in the 15th-century world of trade and war and banking."

As usual, Audible has attached 5 minute samples taken from each of the audio books as an 'appetiser' should you wish to get a pre-purchase 'flavour' of the stories. For reasons unknown, the samples selected from books 4 to 8 are identical and are in fact, taken from Judith Wilt's lengthy introduction to the novels rather than extracts from Dunnett's narrative; an odd decision I think!


...all for now; more just as soon as it happens!

Ultramarines

Psychic Awakening

Warcry: Death or Glory

Warhammer 40,000

Flight. Redefined.

Reviews & comments:

The Malazan Empire

Over the course of this 8 book series, the amazing John Banks has had to create and voice 648 distinct characters!

Neil Gardner - producer

The Door In The Wall & War of The Worlds

Not often I buy another version of an audiobook I own, but after hearing John Banks' narration of The Door in the Wall by Ladbroke Audio, I had to buy their version of The War of the Worlds. Banks has a great reading voice.

Andy Frankham-Allen - writer

The Books of Babel: Senlin Ascends, Arm of The Sphinx & The Hod King

Mr. Banks does superb work, and I recommend the audiobooks wholeheartedly!

Josiah Bancroft - writer

Mervyn Stone: The Axeman Cometh

John Banks is a voice genius...

Nev Fountain - writer

Mervyn Stone... played by the note-perfect John Banks.

Matt Hills - Reviews in Time and Space

Dr. Who: The Sleeping City

I also must draw attention to John Banks who is an exceptional voice artist and in this one story performs more characters that I can count. ... it is listening to episodes like this one that really do let his talents shine through.

Tony Jones - Red Rocket Rising

Highlander:

...playing several parts, was the brilliant Big Finish regular John Banks - it was as if there were about 40 different actors in the other booth.

James Moran - writer

I went for the best of the best and brought in voice artiste extraordinaire John Banks.

Paul Spragg - producer

Vienna:

...also features the mind - bogglingly versatile and reliable John Banks

Jonathan Morris - writer

Dead Funny:

The acting is first rate… wonderfully played by John Banks as Richard – his impersonation of Eric Morecambe is worth the admission money alone.

Beverly Greenberg: Bolton Evening News

Mr. Happiness:

This early and unfamiliar play by David Mamet is a character study of a 1930s radio counsellor, dispensing suave advice to his devoted listeners. John Banks brings out the wry comedy of this – comedy quite unappreciated by the character – with a clever range of gesture and vocal tone.

Jeremy Kingston: The Times


All My Sons:

This is a beautifully crafted piece ...and it affords a wonderful opportunity for John Readman* to do his All-American Boy act as Chris Keller. This most polished and well observed performance as the blighted son of a blighted father must rank as one of his finest accomplishments yet. ( * see Profile)

The Stage

The Ordeals of Sherlock Holmes

Kudos should also go to John Banks. Lestrade can be a thankless part, but Banks rose to the challenge, playing a pivotal role in this decades long arc.

Raissa Devereux - SciFiPulse

The Judgement of Sherlock Holmes

John Banks is multi-tasking, both as the superb Lestrade and also the villainous and no doubt moustache twirling Sebastian Moran. They sound completely different and I bow to his talent.

Sue Davies - SFcrowsnest


Further reviews and comments are included with specific postings throughout the site.

The War Doctor

The War Doctor
December 2015