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Narrated by: Jonathan Keeble
Length: 10 hrs and 38 mins

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Publisher's Summary

Shortlisted for the International Booker Prize 2020

He's a trickster, a player, a jester. His handshake's like a pact with the devil, his smile like a crack in the clouds; he's watching you now and he's gone when you turn. Tyll Ulenspiegel is here!  

In a village like every other village in Germany, a scrawny boy balances on a rope between two trees. He's practising. He practises by the mill, by the blacksmiths; he practises in the forest at night, where the Cold Woman whispers and goblins roam. When he comes out, he will never be the same.  

Tyll will escape the ordinary villages. In the mines he will defy death. On the battlefield he will run faster than cannonballs. In the courts he will trick the heads of state. As a travelling entertainer, his journey will take him across the land and into the heart of a never-ending war. A prince's doomed acceptance of the Bohemian throne has European armies lurching brutally for dominion and now the Winter King casts a sunless pall. Between the quests of fat counts, witch-hunters and scheming queens, Tyll dances his mocking fugue; exposing the folly of kings and the wisdom of fools.  

With macabre humour and moving humanity, Daniel Kehlmann lifts this legend from medieval German folklore and enters him on the stage of the Thirty Years' War. When citizens become the playthings of politics and puppetry, Tyll, in his demonic grace and his thirst for freedom, is the very spirit of rebellion - a cork in water, a laugh in the dark, a hero for all time.

©2020 Daniel Kehlmann (P)2020 Quercus Editions Limited

Critic Reviews

"A masterly achievement, a work of imaginative grandeur and complete artistic control." (Ian McEwan) 

"Brilliant and unputdownable." (Salman Rushdie)

What members say

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  • Anne Manktelow
  • 26-04-20

Listen to this book - you won't regret it!

I loved this book - fantastic story wonderfully narrated. The story is engaging immediately and with excellent imagery. The narrator was superb - all of the voices, all of the expression....I didn't want it to end. Highly recommended!

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    2 out of 5 stars
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  • Mr J A W T Kent
  • 22-05-20

Oral noise overload...

The story was good, if a bit brutal. But I REALLY struggled with the narrator when doing accents. The (non word) oral and nasal sounds, grunts and whistling exhalations that littered the performance were excruciating to listen to...

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  • Kindle Customer
  • 20-05-20

wild adventure

Enthralling feat of imagination. Convincing and credibly incredible. But was it written by the donkey?