I know there are quite a number of Kydd fans who find the audiobooks a boon, especially on long commutes. But you have to have a good narrator! I’m fortunate to have someone of the calibre of Christian Rodska in that role. He really is incredible – such a range of voices and an emotional expression that just pulls you in!
Rodska is a professional actor with a distinguished career. Among his television and stage credits are Macbeth, Driving Miss Daisy, Spooks, Doc Martin and Sharpe. His voice can also be heard on Ice Road Truckers and Megastructures on Channel Five in the UK.
Kathy and I are currently re-listening to the entire Kydd series on audiobooks. But we have to limit ourselves to just half an hour or so a day – or the next book would not be written! At the moment we’re mid-way through MUTINY, so plenty more to enjoy… I calculated that from KYDD up to and including CARIBBEE there’s over 150 hours!
Spoken word recordings first became possible with the invention of the phonograph by Thomas Edison in 1877. However it was to be some time before recordings of full length books became practical – this wasn’t really until the 1930s. The term audiobook came into usage in the 1970s when audiocassettes began to replace records. With the advent of the internet, broadband technologies, new compressed audio formats and portable media players, the popularity of audiobooks grew significantly during the late 1990s and 2000s. And this trend continues as people discover the pleasures and convenience of the spoken word.
Recently WH Howes became my new audiobook publisher. Their parent company in the States was set up by an engineering salesman called Henry Trentman, who loved reading. Every day Trentman travelled an area from South Carolina to New England. Tiring of listening to the radio, he posted a sign at a regional theatre, seeking an actor who would be willing to read aloud a book, in its entirety, which he would record on tape. The result was a recording of ‘The Sea Wolf’ by Jack London. Trentman lent this to friends and demand grew – and the rest, as they say, is history…
When W H Howes was set up in the UK it was named after one of Trentman’s distant relatives; a man called William Frank Howes. Howes was a well-known captain of clipper ships during the 1830s. And I was chuffed to find that the salty links do not end there. Christian Rodska is the son of a Danish sailor, who was at one time captained the royal yacht of King Faisal.
Whole Story Audiobooks, the retail arm of WH Howes, is releasing the Kydd Series today under its new Lamplight imprint. To celebrate this, there’s a special discount of 20% on Kydd titles until September. The code is KYDD. Additionally, CARIBBEE is on offer at £14.39 until 11 July. (This site is for customers in the UK and Europe.)
As always, I welcome comments. I’d love to hear if you have a favourite Kydd audiobook or passage in one of the books?