Lord Avedon has a problem. Generations of Avedons have watched over Avedon Hill and controlled the only pass through the Lantis Mountains. Traditions are important to the Avedon family, but one tradition has tragically come to an end. Gretta Platt, Housemistress of Avedon Manor, has been murdered. A member of the Platt family has always served the Avedons as Housemistress. until now. Only a handful of people live at Avedon Hill, and most are suspects. Arames Kragen, retired Aarronic Advisor and scholar of prophecy, arrives at the gates of Avedon Hill, hoping to gain access to the mountain pass. Lord Avedon is not in a giving mood, however.
This is the story of Arames Kragen and his attempt not only to discover who killed Gretta Platt, but also to uncover the truth about a town that apparently has more secrets than inhabitants.
The Land of Caern: It is a world where the gods, the Children of Az, can choose to be born as mortals to directly affect events in the world, and often do. It is a world where the Priests of Caern frantically search for the mortal incarnations of any of the Children, in order prevent the Prophecies of Iberian from coming to pass.
Welcome to The Land of Caern. Welcome. to Murder at Avedon Hill, the podcast novel by P.G. Holyfield
I first heard about this (nearly) full cast dramatisation back when it was originally being released. Many of the podcasters I was listening to kept mentioning that they were appearing on it.
Well I rolled over to the site and even subscribed but when there were big long gaps between the episodes coming out I decided to to give it a miss.
A year later I re-discovered the book and checked it out, it still wasn't finished! So once again I decided to give it a miss.
Well here it is a couple more years later and on checking it out I find that its been completed in my absence!
Was it worth the wait? Yes. I don't mean to say it was worth putting you life on hold or anything, just that it's okay, and not a disapointment.
As the blurb hints, a couple of traveling chaps from a religious order find themselves in Avedon Hill a walled town in a high fantasy land. They want to simply pass through the town and use the mountain pass beyond, but the way is closed. The Master of Avedon Hill has closed the pass because he's a bit miffed by the murder that just took place. Our hero offers to solve the murder if he'll be let through to the pass.
And on that premise the story rolls. The majority of the story is set in the town of Avedon Hill and follows the investigation through every step. I realise that I've made it sound like a rehash of "The Name of the Rose" but it's not. That book didn't have monsters and gods walking amongst the living, that book didn't have spell casters and half breed monsters working in the smithy!
As the investigator moves through this wild and crazy town we get to meet all of the characters in the town as they are interviewed and they are a real weird bunch! The fact that most of the cast are voiced by a different people really helps you to follow the plot.
I really enjoyed this story, the characters were original and developed through the plot in unexpected ways and the magic was both unexpected and exciting, we learnt how things worked as the story progressed which means there are a lot of surprises along the way.
Who should listen to this? Fantasy fans obviously, but keep in mind this is not a straight reading, most characters are played by different voices and with a narrator in between. If you don't mind that sort of thing, dig in!
Total Score 6/9
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Listen to the first chapter