AudioFile Recommends

THE DECLINE AND FALL OF THE ROMAN EMPIRE, VOLUME 1
by Edward Gibbon | Read by David Timson

Gibbon’s monumental history of the later Roman Empire and its fall is given a spirited treatment by David Timson, who narrates with expressiveness, brisk pacing, and intonation and modulation sensitive to the sense of the text. He fully uses the rare opportunities for voice characterization or acting—in the reading of letters, for instance—but without overdoing, keeping the expression appropriate for a serious history. His very British accent helps provide a clarity much needed in the coils of Gibbon’s sometimes complex syntax. At times, however, he’s a shade too quick for dense prose laden with archaic usages, ancient place names, and many obscure personages, and the listener can get lost. But overall, he provides a fine reading of this massive and difficult work. W.M. © AudioFile 2014, Portland, Maine