Barnaby Rudge

  • Author Charles Dickens
  • Narrator Simon Vance
  • Run Time 23 hours and 58 minutes
  • Format Audio
  • Genre Classic fiction.

Listen to a sample

What to expect

Dickens’ first historical novel is set in 1780s England at the time of the Gordon Riots. In a case of mistaken identity, Barnaby Rudge—a pale half-wit with long red hair who dresses all in green and carries a large raven on his back—is arrested as the leader of a mob of anti-Catholic rioters. He is condemned to death on the gallows, but an upright locksmith named Gabriel Varden comes to his aid.

Set beneath the cloud of an unsolved murder, this classic tale of treachery and forbidden love is often overlooked by present-day readers. Nevertheless, Dickens provides another memorable cast of characters, including the dull-witted, tyrannical John Willet, Dennis the Hangman, and Hugh the savage ostler.

Critics Review

  • “Reader [Simon Vance] is an absolute joy, making this long and complex work accessible and entertaining. [Vance] distinguishes with charm and consistency among the huge cast of characters…Clearly [Vance] enjoys reading this novel as much as we enjoy listening to it.”

  • “The challenge [Dickens] presents to the narrator, with his bounteous prose and talkative eccentrics, is met resourcefully by Britisher [Simon Vance], whose unflagging energy, imagination, and finesse rank this among the best of audio Dickens.”

    Library Journal

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