Audio reviews reflect PW's assessment of the audio adaptation of a book and should be quoted only in reference to the audio version.
Macmillan continues its laudable efforts to put the sizable library of adventure novels created by Smith into the ears of the listening public with this solid, fast-moving rendition of the author's 1977 story of the rape of Ethiopia by Mussolini. Goode joins the line of expert actors (including Christopher Cazenove, Tim Pigott-Smith and Steven Pacey) who have already brought Smith's characters to life on tape—not an easy task here, since they range from an Eton-educated Ethiopian prince to a female American journalist, with several assorted Italian villains thrown in to spice things up. But Goode endows them all with instant individuality, as he recounts the travails of Smith's two main men—rough-edged Texas engineer Jake Barton and suave British wheeler-dealer Gareth Swayles—who agree to transport some ancient armored vehicles across the Ethiopian deserts and mountains in 1935. Goode even brings to life a lion that attacks the naked journalist as she bathes in a desert waterhole—no doubt excellent preparation for some future production of Cats. (July)