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3 engrossing new audiobooks for your playlist

Captivating tales by Joseph O’Connor, Deepti Kapoor and Jeff Guinn

3 min

‘My Father’s House,’ by Joseph O’Connor

O’Connor’s beautifully written, suspenseful novel is based on the exploits of the Irish priest Monsignor Hugh O’Flaherty, who ran an escape line during the Nazi occupation of Rome for Jews, resistance fighters and escaped Allied prisoners. Most were hidden away in Vatican City, a neutral territory that came under threat of German occupation. Assisting him was a motley group of brave men and women whom he calls the “choir.” Their much-fictionalized selves are presented here in the voices of several talented actors who narrate the chapters in sequence (not ensemble) to produce persuasive sound portraits of their characters. The Irish parts — that of O’Flaherty, Delia Kiernan (wife of an Irish diplomat) and the guiding narrator — are delivered by the Irish actors Barry Barnes, Aoife Duffin and Stephen Hogan, respectively. The other choristers are given voice by David John, Thomas Hill, Roberto Davide, Barnaby Edwards, Gertrude Toma and Laurence Bouvard. This is the first volume of a proposed trilogy, though it is hard to see where it will go from this novel’s highly satisfying conclusion. (Dreamscape, Unabridged, 11¼ hours)

‘Age of Vice,’ by Deepti Kapoor

This extravagant peregrination of a novel wanders back and forth through three decades of cruelty, violence, corruption, blackmail, debauchery and lust for revenge. Tangled up in its ever-proliferating storylines is Ajay, born in Uttar Pradesh to a low-caste family ruined by members of a thuggish, all-powerful family. Ajay, who was sold into slavery when he was 8, eventually becomes the servant and fixer in Delhi for Sunny Wadia, a neoliberal fantasist, property developer and dissipated scion of yet another powerful, criminal family. Also at large is Neda Kapur, an idealistic journalist who has an on-again, off-again affair with Sunny. Vidish Athavale narrates the book in a young, versatile voice, slightly inflected with an Indian accent. He moves smoothly from character to character, bringing out their personalities and moods: subservient Ajay turning privately vengeful; imperious Sunny made spineless by his tyrannical father; anguished Neda in the face of a brutal slum clearance. This is a masterly performance of what is promised to be the first volume of a trilogy. (Penguin Audio, Unabridged, 19½ hours)

‘Waco: David Koresh, the Branch Davidians, and a Legacy of Rage,’ by Jeff Guinn

Jacques Roy narrates Guinn’s excellent, infuriating and sad account of David Koresh’s evolution into a paranoid religious fanatic, his rise to leadership of the Branch Davidians, and the ineptitude that culminated in the FBI’s lethal attack on the religious group’s compound outside Waco, Tex. It was an assault that inspired Timothy McVeigh’s Oklahoma City bombing and spawned the continuing plague of anti-government militia. Vernon Howell, a.k.a. David Koresh, preached charismatically on the coming apocalypse and glorious death and resurrection of faithful Davidians. Alerted to possible illegal activity in the compound, the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives attempted to serve a warrant, which escalated into a gunfight in which four agents and six Davidians were killed. When the FBI took over, a 51-day siege ensued, followed by another reckless assault and subsequent conflagration that killed 76 Davidians, including children, pregnant women and Koresh. Roy’s calm voice and unhurried delivery allows us to grasp fully the rivalries and recklessness that ended in catastrophe and “a legacy of rage.” (Simon & Schuster, Unabridged, 11¼ hours)

Katherine A. Powers reviews audiobooks every month for The Washington Post.

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